When I started making jewelry 2 years ago, I had no idea what a round nose plier was nor its significance in jewelry making.
From the tutorial I found in Jewelrymaking.allinfoabout.com on how to make a pair of pearl dangle chandelier earrings, that you need a round nose plier to make the loop to hang the dangles.
Now, the only plier that I ever know was the ones I learn in Living Skills class back in high school. The ones to cut wires with. What on earth was a round nose plier?! Well, no doubt they show pictures of what it look like and how to use it to form dangles, my concern was where on earth am I ever going to find it?
It's such a specialty tool, used mainly in jewelry making. Now, where am I gonna find it? From where I come from, there's not even McDonald's for breakfast, let alone round nose plier!
I searched eBay Malaysia as I do with most stuffs and the search returned with "0" result.
I asked around, and everyone around me was just as clueless as I am. I could have gone to KL and easily found it in a bead shop but since traveling was an issue, I had to scrap that idea. No, actually, I wouldn't have thought of that either. I was so isolated from the society that I didn't know that there were specialty bead shops around selling tools and materials and exorbitantly priced jewelry making classes. I didn't realize at that time that jewelry making was the trend nor the story that Bead Bar was taken over and name changed to Bead Box. Now, Bead Bar I do know. I remember they were very popular during my senior high, around 16 or 17. My friends like to go there to custom made their personalized jewelry where you can buy beads with alphabets and form your own name and make into necklaces and bracelets. I was never into because I thought they were rather expensive since the price was calculated on per bead basis. Yes, I admit. I was kinda frugal back then. Furthermore, I'm not so crazy about the idea of wearing your name and announcing it to the world everywhere you go. Well,.... that was then... )
Nevertheless, I went ahead anyway. I believe with a little creativity, I might still get the loop without the round nose plier. I don't believe that the round nose plier should be so integral to jewelry making that you cannot do without it.
So, I searched the toolbox in my house for whatever pliers that there might be which might assist me in my mission. I found a chain nose plier with a relatively narrow nose. Now, I thought that might just do the trick.
Happily and proudly, I went back to the working table. All set and ready to make my first piece of dangle chandelier earrings which I DO know is very much in vogue.
However, no matter how I twist, turn and bend, there was no way in the world I could form a loop.
I was defeated. Then I thought, looks like I might need a round nose plier after all despite me not prepared to admit the significance of it in jewelry making.
Coincidentally, my Aunt Ling i.e. my Zhi Kor was going to Ireland to visit her son and would make a stop in UK. Quickly, I contacted my Aunt LB i.e. my Sa Kor to get me the plier because I KNEW for sure it can be found overseas because most of the sites that I browse through were all based in overseas.
Even Sa Kor was just as clueless about the pliers but she told me she'll ask around. She did, because she has some friends who were in this line of business and got me the pliers.
I was happy and couldn't wait for Zhi Kor to be back with the pliers.
But guess what?
Since the pliers were only very small and handy to be carried around, she conveniently kept them inside her hand bag and checked into the airport.
Everyone knows that you can't take sharp objects on board plane. So, what happened? They got confiscated!
So once again..... I'm on my search for THE round nose plier. I went searching on eBay Malaysia again to try my luck.
And luck was definately on my side. I found a listing for round nose plier, selling at RM10. Without hesitating, I purchased it and wait for it to arrive.
The day when it arrived, I hurriedly went to try it out without waiting any more. The wait has been a long one and it's about time for it to come an end and me coming up with my first piece of jewelry.
At last, I made my first loop!! Finally!! And about time too. Then and there I KNEW that you need the right tools for the job just as you need the right man.
Since then, I have been turned into a tool freak. On a constant search for more specialized and better quality tools.
Why you ask? Because I believe that skills and workmanship aside, to tools for the craft is an artisan back bone and you never EVER messes with an artist tool. Never for the sake of convenience do you pick up a jewelry artist tool to work on anything other than jewelry and never do you touch an artist tool without their permission.
I don't know if anyone of you felt this way before but have you try borrowing your someone else's tool while working on your project? That even if they may be identical, the feel of grip will be different and can sometimes even hamper the smoothness of your work. Have you ever felt like this before?
Well, I haven't. :P I've been using my own tools all this while. It's my Sa Kor. When she comes back to Malaysia for holiday, she bring her beads along because it is only when she is back in Malaysia for the holidays that she has the time to make anything. When she is back in the UK, she is so busy with work that she won't even have time for anything else.
So, when she's back here in Malaysia making jewelry, she doesn't bring her tools back to reduce excess baggages. So, she borrowed mine and she always says this to me. Well, not bad enough as to hamper her work but enough for her to make the comment, "it just feels different" while working on her project.
Anyway, I'm digressing already but what I'm trying to say is well, tools are the like the vehicle which will take you places. It's like flying by first class as opposed to economy class on a 18 hours flight. Who do you think will arrive looking fresher? Alright, not a very good analogy there, but you catch my drift.
Since then I've been keeping myself aware of the tools that people do use in jewelry making. So, apart from beads and findings, tools are also one of the causes for the burnt hole in my pocket.
As I work more and more on the tools and jewelry making, it's the next step that I should want to use better quality tools. So, naturally, after working with the 'economy' version, I want to upgrade to stainless steel ones.
On a side note, even stainless steel isn't THE best. It's merely the less expensive choice. The best is to use hardened tool steel. They produces cleaner work i.e less marking on the wires and Lindstrom I read produces the best one around because they uses the hardest steel available and then they even make it harder through the process of salt quenching.
Don't ask me what salt quenching is. It's just something I read from the internet. But I do know that their tools are VERY expensive. They cost close to US$40 per piece! Try converting them to Ringgit..... Now, you know how expensive they are.
I'll save Lindstrom in my wish list. For now, stainless steel will do. I bought 2 actually. Early this year. A side cutter and a round nose plier off eBay Malaysia. Cost me RM50 including shipping. But still, I wasn't genuinely happy with them. Don't know but the grip just didn't feel right.
So, I was doing my surfing as usual last weekend and bump into the promotion site of Beading.com.my. They were having promotion on their stainless steel pliers due to overstock going for RM39 for a set of round nose, chain nose and cutter.
Needless to say, I got so excited and bought 2 sets! One for myself and another set for Sa Kor. In total, burnt RM83 from my pocket, including RM5 shipping.
I made the order on Sunday and the package was sent out on Monday.
On Tuesday, I received a 'heavily bandaged' package.
Beading.com.my is having this promotion until 31st of August. Whilst stock lasts, of course. They've got another package with a serrated chain nose jaw instead of smooth one but it sure makes me wonder.... who uses a serrated jaw for jewelry making? Or should I ask, what are serrated jaws used for in jewelry making? Aren't they going to mark your wires? Hhhmmmm......
Head down here for more info. And yes, they do ship internationally, in case some of you might be wondering.
Well, postscripts haven't been appearing for a while now! :) Sorry, folks.... forgotten all about it! Alright, another site on basic jewelry making, and in my opinion, with more illustrations than other sites on the basics of jewelry making. Illustrated Jewelry Making and Beads Library. Well, it shouldn't be surprising because this site is linked to Findingbeads4u.com.au. That was how I found out about this site. Well, it made sense, doesn't it? It's easier to sell when your customers understand or have a better grasp of how to use what they buy. No? I sure am not going to buy things that I won't know how to use.