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Mandrel-tip Pliers

For the beaded chain projects in the 2nd & 3rd books, I assisted Swanstrom Tool Company in developing these Mandrel-tip pliers. As shown, one mandrel jaw is a consistent 3.1mm and the other jaw is a consistent 3.9mm diameter. This gives my students and me the ability to wrap perfect double-loop bead settings. There is a second larger version of the Mandrel-tip pliers, which has a consistent 3.5mm and 4.5mm jaw, as shown below.

This tool will be sold at Spiderchain by July 2012.

The smaller version of the Mandrel-tip pliers, labeled ‘3.1/3.9’, with a 3.1mm and 3.9mm jaws is specific to working with 19-gauge round wire, as described below. The larger version of the of the Mandrel-tip pliers, labeled ‘3.5/4.5’, with a 3.5mm and 4.5mm jaws is specific to working with larger 18-gauge round wire, as described below.

The 3.1mm jaw is the proper inside diameter of the 19g Byzantine jump ring, this tool allows the wrapping of a consistent double-loop of wire to set a gemstone bead into the 19g Byzantine chain, see 19-gauge Beaded Byzantine bracelet tutorial.

The 3.9mm jaw is the proper inside diameter of the 19g Inca Puño jump ring, this jaw allows the wrapping of a consistent double-loop of wire to set a gemstone bead into the 19g Inca Puño chain, see 19-gauge Beaded Inca Puño bracelet tutorial.

The 3.5mm jaw is the proper inside diameter of the 18g Byzantine jump ring, this tool allows the wrapping of a consistent double-loop of wire to set a gemstone bead into the 18g Byzantine chain, see 18-gauge Beaded Rosary bracelet tutorial.

The 4.5mm jaw is the proper inside diameter of the 18g Inca Puño, 16g Byzantine, and 14g Double chain jump ring. This jaw diameter allows the consistent single-loop-around bead setting of these blue glass beads into the Inca Puno chain pattern, as shown. This beaded chain instructional jewelry kit is avaliable at B2 kits.

New Mandrel-tip Pliers vs. Traditional Round-nose Pliers
In the first book (page 63), I illustrated how to mark a specific diameter on the tapered round-nose pliers, as shown top left. The 18-gauge bronze wire is then hand wrapped into a double-loop, keeping each bend of the wire exactly at the marked diameter for a consistent inside diameter to the double-loop, as shown top right. This consistency allows the bead setting to be assembled into a chain pattern that has the identically sized jump rings for a seamless connection. However, maintaining hand wrapped consistency on the tapered round-nose jaw is easier said than executed, and these inconsistencies begin to amplify as the bead settings get more integrated into the chain pattern, as shown in the next example.

Why is the specific inner diameter of a bead setting necessary?
I first conceived of the need for this hand tool when I started teaching advanced beaded chain projects from the 2nd book, such as the Beaded Flower bracelet illustrated above. This beaded chain pattern required a greater level of bead setting consistency for proper flexibility. In example the image at left shows precise double-loop bead setting with one copper ring connecting each.
The image at top right shows the culmination of spiraling three rings connecting each bead setting; requiring each double-loop to have space for six rings to travel through it. Problems arose if any of the double-loops were a pinch too small, as their inner diameter would not allow the addition of the third rings to complete each Flower formation. Furthermore, any inconsistency in diameter sizing can cause the overall chain to be stiff and lose flexibility.

As a conscientious educator, I felt the need to simplify these bead-setting techniques for my students. The implementation of this tool into my workshops has greatly diminished frustrations and increased smiles of each satisfied participant with a bracelet on their wrist. To these ends, the consistent diameter jaws of the Mandrel-tip pliers have been absolutely paramount.

Copyright © 2003-2010 Scott David Plumlee, all rights reserved