Whether you’re a professional jeweller or an enthusiastic hobbyist, you’ll know that wire cutters are an essential tool for crafting intricate designs. Those who treasure refined techniques understand the importance of having the right tool at the right time. However there are so many different makes and models of wire cutters available to buy, it’s hard to know where to start. If you’ve ever looked at a pair of cutters and wondered if they’re right for you, you wouldn’t be alone. Let’s take a look at some of the best wire cutters for jewellery making.
Generally speaking, wire cutters are defined by three features: jaw direction, jaw shape and the cut quality. These are the attributes you need to consider when looking at the variety of wire cutters available, each designed for a specific task. While some overlap, it’s best to use the correct one for the job in hand. Note that not all wire cutters are designed for jewellery making. We’re talking about those which are made for very fine work cutting glass and metal with great precision, not more generalised cutting in engineering or DIY.
Standard wire cutters
Here are some of the most common wire cutters used in jewellery making. They typically come in a range of sizes with the smallest used in delicate work. Larger wire cutters give you greater leverage and are better when working with harder materials.
Flush cutters are indispensable. They have an angled (diagonal) jaw and create an even cut. Standard models have basic features while superior or ‘ultra-flush’ models reduce the stress you apply to materials for a much cleaner cut.
Side cutters have a non-flush jaw with a normal cut quality. Ideal for soft wire wrapping and some precious metals.
Glass cutters Unlike other cutters, these have a wheel-shaped cutting edge that runs across glass and ceramics. The unique design allows for different cut qualities: straight, angled, circular or edge.
End cutting nippers A flat jaw shape with normal cut quality, ‘nippers’ are designed for snipping posts from ear studs or trimming the peg of a flat pad. Quality models have polished heads that limit surface damage on soft metals.
- Lightweight, anti-slip handles to ensure a firm grip
- Angled head design helps when twisting wires
- Ensure the cutters are strong and sharp for quick, decisive work
- Long cutting jaws are good for delicate or hard to reach spaces
- Induction hardening will prolong the life of the cutters
- Corrosion-resistant manufacture limits damaging your materials
- Lifetime warranty gives you peace of mind
Wire cutters are a staple in jewellery making. You’ll be using them a lot, so they need to feel comfortable and do the hard work for you (not the other way around). There’s no one-size-fits-all in jewellery making so you’ll need a different type of wire cutter for different tasks and when working on different kinds of material. And don’t forget that the best price won’t always get you the best cutter – shop around, there are many brands to choose from.