Friday, March 7, 2014

Groovy looping pliers review

I was going to do a witty debate (similar to the Battle of the Split Ring Pliers), but I'm still feeling wiped out from the retreat last weekend.  Yeah, I know, it's been almost a week, but my Fibromyalia is in full control these days.  I'm getting very little done, and what I am getting done is taking 50 times longer than usual.

When I started making loops (about 1000 years ago), I was so happy to find round nose pliers (like these).  I could make perfect loops for my earrings and various wrapped loop projects.

I soon found that my loop was perfect, but it didn't necessarily match the loop I made 5 seconds ago.  Each jaw of the pliers is tapered, and if I didn't use the exact spot every time, the loops were different sizes.  One way to get around that is to take a fine-tipped permanent marker and draw a line on the pliers.  That works for a while (as long as the line is thin, and you make sure to go directly on the line or directly to either side of the line), but the mark does wear off.

Perusing Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics one day a few years ago I found what I thought was a perfect solution to this unmatching loop problem:

I don't know what brand these pliers are.  I only remember that they were cheap.  I really need to stop buying cheap tools.  Even though I take care of them and don't get them wet, they rust.  Also, there's truth in the saying, "You get what you pay for."

Here are the looping pliers close up:

Apart from the rust, they look great, right?  There are three stepped loops, and there's a concave lower jaw (I learned it's called that by doing some research online today) to help the loop form.

Let's look at them in action.  I put a headpin in the middle section and gently close the pliers:

Squeezing the pliers creates the beginning of the loop:

If I wanted to, I could continue bending the headpin around to finish the loop.

Still, this seems like a great solution, doesn't it?  However, take a look at the loop close up:

Those arrows point right to nicks in the headpin.  The softer the wire, the deeper the nick.  It's rough to the touch and looks bad.  If I'm really careful and don't close the pliers all the way, I can almost always avoid the nick, but it's more trouble than it's worth.

At the retreat when I made the Celtic Knot earrings, my friends were laughing a little at how big my loops were.  I didn't have the above crappy looping pliers with me.  I had my teeny Wubbers round nose pliers, and I was making loops all the way in the back of the pliers (I was too fried to make a mark so the loops were smaller and all the same size).

Judy handed me her Wolf Groovy Looping pliers, and I fell in love.

One jaw is a tapered round nose like a typical round nose plier, but the other jaw has three notches:

I did take some pictures of me using the pliers, but they weren't very good because my tripod was at home, and we've already determined my one-handed pictures don't turn out well.  I found an excellent tutorial on how to use the pliers for wrapped loops on the Fusion Beads website.  I highly recommend you check that out.

I will show you a few pictures of my first experiences with the pliers so you get the idea of how they work.

I put a few beads on the headpin and used my bent nose pliers to make a 90 degree angle.  I positioned the headpin in the middle notch and used my thumb to bend the wire around the round jaw:

I continued bending the headpin down to create a loop:

I then wrapped the headpin around and trimmed.  Here's the final piece:

Right after taking this picture I said, "Oh, crap!  That was supposed to go on the Celtic Knot component!"  Oops.  It's just as well, because the pictures wouldn't have been clear with the component dangling around.  Yeah, that's what I told myself.  I cut it apart and grabbed a new headpin.  Here are the finished earrings:

I like the Wolf Groovy Looping pliers a lot more than my no-name rusty looping pliers.  There was no nicking of the headpins, and I found the pliers more versatile to use.  If I wanted a size between the notches, I could use the tapered part of the pliers as I would normally use round nose pliers.  Once I got used to how to use them, I finished the above earrings very quickly.

If you're as enamored with this tool as I am, you can purchase the Groovy Looping pliers on the Fusion Beads website here.

1 comment:

  1. I gotta check these out. I bet the notches helped a great deal. You know I have to have ALL the tools in the world. lol Thanks for this blog