Hand-crafted Knot Jewelry:
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Some of the tools I use are made of wood. My favorite materials are billiards cues and chopsticks. Here's a selection of chopsticks cut up and incorporated in tools that let me bend wire without scuffing it up too much, as metal tools inevitably do.
Two of them are just notched in the ends, to give me something to slip around a wire and twist. The two together are wired tightly and filed down to give two points close together. They can shift back and forth, so I can vary the distance by just holding them differently.
It's important to use tools that are right for the job. One of the ones that I buy from others instead of making for myself is round nosed pliers. I have to reach right down inside a knot and tweak wires from one position to another, or bend them, and these are the only pliers I've ever seen that have the strength and delicacy for the job. They're made in Germany, and the brand name is "Karat". Unfortunately, I can't find them any more.
Round nosed pliers.
Of the two pairs, which are identical, you can see that the pair on the right is much smoother, and the jaws are almost needle pointed. That is because I've polished them over and over again, on the buffing wheel, to make sure that the surface won't scratch up my wire any more than necessary. The pair on the left is brand new, the last of the stock from a store that will no longer carry them.
Another really useful tool for someone who intends to tie complex knots in wire is a hemostat, or surgical clamp. This pair used to have curved jaws, but I ground them off short and polished the end. The shorter jaws have better leverage.
I use these to hang onto the end of the wire so I can put tension on it to pull it through the knot. They're also handy when I'm drawing wire down to a really small size.

You'll notice the doll-needle with a dab of Jett Sett on the eye -- When a wire has to go through a tight spot in the knot, I poke the needle through first, to make a path, then the wire can go through that straight path without having to bend around a lot.
My eyes aren't as good as they used to be, and they've never been good enough to see solder joints in wires ten thousandths of an inch in diameter, so I finally broke down and got myself a pair of these binocular loupes. They're made by Carl Zeiss, Inc.
Binocular loupes
This pair of loupes is 4.5x power, which is fine for me. They're available in higher and lower magnifications, but the higher ones demand a much steadier hand than I have, or steadier head, anyway. In this picture, I'm also using a "fresh air" mask, so that I don't breath fumes from soldering and annealing.

(This site last updated on 12-12-2020)

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