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Monday, September 20th 2010

12:42 PM

How To Get the Best Tools

 

Hello Everyone!

Recently I was thumbing through a tool catalog looking for a new pair of flat nose pliers when I realized just how many different tools there are out there. I couldn’t believe that I was faced with a ton of questions just to purchase a tool. All I wanted was a pair of flat nose pliers that had a thin tip. Now I had to figure out how long I wanted them, how thin the tips should be, what type of handle would be best, how much money was I willing to part with, etc, etc, etc. I’m sure that many of you have been faced with the same dilemma. Here are a few things I like to keep in mind when purchasing tools.

Cost

This is usually my first concern. With the economy as it is today loosening up the extra cash to purchase new tools has become an interesting trick using smoke and mirrors. So you might want to consider how much of your budget you can sacrifice for a good quality tool. Then, start searching for the best tool that will fit your budget.

Ergonomics

Wouldn’t it be horrible to purchase a new tool only to find out that it was too big to fit properly in your hand? Or maybe it didn’t have enough padding in the handle to make using it on a regular basis virtually impossible. So it’s good to think about these things before you make a purchase. Determine what comforts are important to you. Once you have figured out what you are looking for in a tool be sure to read the description carefully. Most catalog descriptions will give measurements of the tool, you might want to pull out a ruler and see if that length or width will work for you.

 

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Job

Before you purchase any new tools be sure it’s the right one for the job. For example, if you are doing really fine, intricate work you would want to purchase pliers that may have a thin tip. So again, it’s a good idea to read the tool description carefully. How often you would be using the tools is also something to keep in mind. If I was only using that tool occasionally I might not spend as much money on it. A decision like that could have a big effect on your budget.   

Quality

All of us want to get the best quality product that we can for the money. Many feel that the more expensive the tool the higher the quality. That isn’t always the case. I have know many artists who have purchased high dollar tools thinking that it must be the best only to have them break in a short period of time. Granted, most of those high dollar tools come with a guarantee, but the hassle can really drive you nuts. So how can you measure quality? I think that the best thing to look at is reputation. There’s a lot of buzz on the internet, in magazines, and at jewelry supply shops on different tool makers. So that means that you may need to do a bit of research before you buy. As you do your research you’ll quickly come to realize what tools are good and which ones to avoid.

One Last Thing

Something else that you might want to do is ask around. Since money is so tight these days it might be a good idea to ask others what they use and why. There are a lot of jewelry groups on the internet where you can post questions and get great answers. Artists are usually willing to tell you what they think about certain tools that are available. So don’t hesitate to ask around.   

These are only a few things to keep in mind when purchasing tools. I’m sure that each one of you has certain criteria when it comes to choosing your tools. These are only the things that I look for when I’m spending my hard earned dollars.

‘til next week!

Jim McIntosh

Mackintosh Jewelry Studio

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