I have been working for a while, with some pretty sub-par pliers. They have gotten me this far, but since lately I have been doing such small work with those permanent chains, I’ve decided I need an upgrade and need to invest in a couple good new pliers,(chain-nose pliers and a cutter.) Does anyone have any recommendations for a good pair? I have heard mixed reviews on Lindstrom and Swanstrom for not being as good as they used to be, has anyone found a better brand? I don’t mind spending some money, I just want to make sure I’m picking a good one.
Any opinions are helpful!
I never ventured into the world of Lindstrom or Swanstrom pliers…but I recently got a pair of Del Rey brand pliers from Rio Grande and really liked them…I had wanted a heavier pair of flat/half round pliers…they offered it in a 5” and 6” length…the 6” version having bigger jaws as well as being longer…I have slowly been replacing my old pliers with Del Rey…I got both 5” and 6” of the round nose pliers…again the 6” has bigger jaws
the 5” fit comfortably in my hand for general purpose
but I like the added heft of the 6” pliers for certain things
not all jaws are offered in both lengths
they are moderately priced
no coating on handles
well made, precise jaw alignment
I used Lindstrom pliers for years, one pair lasted 20 years, but the last set were definitely not up to scratch, on one pair a jaw sheared and all the springs were sub parr. I have now changed to Tronex and really happy with them.
I buy good cutters and nippers. They can be returned for reconditioning when you need it. The rest of my pliers are not economy, but not the best either. I have been buying parallel action pliers lately because they allow contact over a wider area. They can also be used to straighten pieces that need it. I probably have 100 pair of pliers. Some I use all the time, others were long ago sent to the drawer when I store pliers that I was sure that I needed, but never used. What you buy and how big they are depends a lot on the size of your work. Take this into account along with the size of your hands and not just the cost. I have pliers that are dedicated to a specific type of work like filigree and assembling chains. I keep them in separate tool boxes so that I am not tempted to use them on work that they aren’t intended for. I hope this helps…Rob
I too have been adding parallel pliers…I prefer the parallel grip when possible…I feel like it exerts a more evenly distributed pressure…and also for some reason I have been using heftier pliers for bending thicker metal lately…
My Maun brand pliers are 5" long and do not have springs…I sometimes wish they did, as the joints are a bit tight…I have tried oiling them…do you have any suggestings for loosening them?..
My non-Maun brand pliers are a bit longer at 5.5" and do have springs…I sometimes wish they did not, because when the handles are in the spread position, it is a bit wide for my hands…
I did buy a 6-3/4" long flat nosed parallel plier on amazon…it has brass jaws…I am thinking of getting another one so that I can convert it to a hefty flat/ half round…but, the one thing that is somewhat bothersome is that the handles are tenaciously springy spring-loaded and open realllly wide…the good news is that there is a screw that you can use to limit the spread…but being 6-3/4" in size they can be a bit feisty and hard to handle…
I originally started my search after seeing Peter Keep using a hefty flat/ half round parallel plier in his online training videos…
If anyone has any suggestions on how to loosen up my Maun non-spring parallel pliers, I would greatly appreciate it.
If anyone has a reference for a flat/ half round parallel plier, I would greatly appreciate it.
Maybe…I should…try removing the springs…interesting afterthought…
I was a Bench Jeweller, both full and part-time, for over (25) years and used mostly German-made Pliers, in all that time, I never had one fail, nor did I ever have to replace one from my set. I still have and use the Pliers that I used in the Shop that I worked for and have since purchased several new German-made Pliers for other areas in my Studio and they are just as good as my old set. Rio Grande used to sell all of them, but now they just carry the Curved Chain-Nose Pliers and the Stone Setting Pliers, though I think they have some German-made Specialty Pliers too… Gesswein has several of the available German-made Pliers (German Standard-Weight Pliers) and Side Nippers, including a Set of (4) with a Chain Nose, Flat Nose, Round Nose and a Half-Round/Flat that would be a good starter set. Otto Frei probably has the largest selection of German-Made Pliers, including a Slim-Line version of the originals, which are very nice as well. They also carry the lesser expensive Lap-Joint German-made Pliers, which are definitely better than the Box-Joint Indian & Pakistani versions that are the most commonly available pliers on the market today, but I personally would stick with Box-Joint German-made Pliers, as they just hold-up much better. The German-made Pliers are not “Fancy” and typically come with Red Rubber-coated Handles, but in my working opinion, they are the very best Jeweller’s Pliers that you can buy. I also have and use several pairs of Parallel Pliers that have been mentioned and prefer the Un-Sprung British Pliers over the Sprung Pliers, as they are just more versatile and can typically be set down without dropping what is held in the jaws, the Sprung Pliers cannot. I apologize for my long-winded reply, but I hope this helps you and anyone else who are looking for some of the very best Jeweller’s Pliers that you can buy, there is a shop-proven reason why they have been around for as long as they have been. All my best wishes to you in your Jewellery and Metalsmithing Journey!!!
Jonathan B. Pons
I used cheap random pliers from my city’s jewelry supply stores for years. Then as my hands started to consistently hurt, I sprung for the Lindstroms with the adjustable diagonal cross bar. I will say the Lindstoms are soooo much more comfortable, and I don’t regret the purchase. I think I got them probably 7 or 8 years ago, so I can’t speak to how well they used to hold up, but they are perfectly fine. I can’t imagine needing to replace them any time soon.
For small side cutters I did have a nice pair of the same style Lindstrom that I abused past sharpening (fully my own fault) and now I have 2 pairs of Technique brand with an orange handle, chosen so that I can identify them quickly from my plier rack. I’ve also been very happy with those. I got them from Rio. I push cutters well beyond obvious limits and cut a lot of sprues with them, so I now have a sort marred-up pair for that purpose, and a nice pair for normal use like cutting wires.