Friday, July 26, 2013

Tool Review: Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper

Welcome to my first Review Friday!  As I mentioned earlier in the week, I'm planning on reviewing tools, books, beads, yarns, and whatever else strikes my fancy.  I've written it in my calendar for the rest of the year, so tune in every Friday for a new review!  Right now Frisco (our new kitten) is playing on my desk, chewing on everything including my beads, papers, and Pixel's tail.  If he doesn't simmer down, I'll review him!  Katy (our 20 year old cat) is on the desk now, too, and her review of Frisco is unfavorable based on the growls she's giving him.

A hiss was not far behind
(yes, the screen shows me writing this very blog post!)

Remember, if you ever want to look back over my reviews, scroll down until you see the "labels" section on the right side of the blog.  Look for "review" for all of them or "review - " for a specific type of review ("review - tool", "review - book", etc).

Now on to the tool.  I first saw the Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper at the Xuron Bead&Button Show booth.  Abby and Ashley were there giving demonstrations.  Since I gave a glowing review of the Xuron "Fireline" scissors, and sell them, Abby gave me a sample of the new crimper!  Her stipulation was that I get my husband a new calculator.  (She had such a laugh at the B&B Show Meet the Teachers reception seeing Steve try to navigate my very tiny Fire Mountain Gems calculator!)  I was so excited with the demonstration and the sample that I said, "Glowing review coming right up!"

When I first started making jewelry (was it really over 20 years ago?), my mother and stepfather gave me a pair of Craftsman 4518 needle nose pliers.  I did everything with them: bend, cut, and squeeze crimp beads.  There were many times where I wasn't happy with the crimp and had to do it over and over again because it just wouldn't hold.  I even had to restring pieces because I had to cut the wire to try crimping again.  I got nervous that my necklaces and bracelets wouldn't hold.

Years later I bought actual crimping pliers - the Mighty Crimper and the Micro Crimper.  In looking those up I found there's also a Bead Crimper tool that I think is made by the same company.

The difference with crimping pliers and squeezing the crap out of the crimp bead with needle nose pliers is that crimping pliers (with the right kind of crimping bead) will put a dent in the middle of the bead in one part of the pliers then you turn it to fold the two halves together.

I had slightly better success with those tools, but I frequently had problems getting the dent deep enough so the two halves would fold together nicely.  I don't know if I was using the wrong tool for the size crimp beads I had or if the dent just wasn't deep enough.  Here's a close-up picture of the Mighty Crimpers squeezed shut:

The first hole is where the bead gets folded over, and the lips-looking one is the part that makes the dent.  See the huge gap there?  I think that was my problem.

Again - I could have been using the wrong size crimp beads.  Remember I mentioned three different pliers by the same company?  The Micro Crimpers are for 1mm beads and smaller.  The Mighty Crimpers are for 3mm beads and larger.  I guess the Bead Crimper tool is for 2mm beads.  So you need three tools to cover all the different sizes of crimp beads.  I guess you can just buy one tool and one size crimp bead, but that's limiting.  Somewhere along the way I've misplaced the Micro Crimpers, so I've been limping along with the Mighty Crimpers... Until now.

Here is the Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper in all its glory:

I love the color.  The bright green will stand out on my messy desk (as long as it's not completely covered in papers).  It's actually brighter in person and very pretty.

Let's look at the business end close up:



The back of the package has a detailed diagram of each of the parts of the pliers.  From left to right there's the 1mm folding station, the 2mm folding station, the 3mm folding station, and the crimping station.  I think it's so cute that they call them "stations".  There's also a step by step guide for how to use the pliers.  And... Bonus!  The tip is a chain nose plier.  You can use the crimping pliers to help you bend the wire into place instead of grabbing another pair of pliers.

Did you notice the difference in the crimping station?  It's a tight V instead of a loose U.  This makes a world of difference.  Also, the 3mm folding station is a lot smaller than the one on the Mighty Crimper.  I know it's for crimp beads 3mm or bigger, but I think the hole was too big to properly work on 3mm beads.

Let's see the Xuron Crimper in action.  I have quite a mix of crimping beads I bought from who-knows-where.  The only ones I'm sure are actual crimp beads are long, so each part of the process needs to happen twice: making the dent twice and folding twice, once at each end of the bead.

Here's the initial crimping (making the dent):

In action (hard to do one handed while taking a picture with the other hand!)

Final result after crimping twice

I find it's easier to have the V with the opening at the bottom.  Gravity keeps the crimp bead in place while the top part comes down to crimp.

In case you're wondering, I decided to take pictures while making a necklace instead of wasting a crimp bead.  I put the loop of the clasp through the wire's loop instead of using jump rings which can pull apart during wear.  I don't want to risk the wire slipping out of the jump ring's slit and having the piece fall off.

I then turned the crimp bead to the side so the dent is horizontal (like this: < ), and squeezed it in the 2mm folding station:

After squeezing both ends, here's the final result:

That sucker isn't going anywhere!

The one thing I wish the 4 in 1 Crimper had is a "cutting station".  Once I have the wire crimped, if the end is too long, I need to reach for my cutters to trim.  It's not a huge deal, of course, but it would be nice.  Doesn't hurt to dream!  :)

For anyone who strings jewelry at all, this is the tool to use for all your crimping needs.  I have used it numerous times - it's easy to use, and I have had no problems with any crimp beads sliding out.  I love the bright green color, and since Xuron makes it, I know the quality is high.

This is not going to be the case with every tool I review, but I sell this 4 in 1 Crimper along with the Fireline scissors and split ring pliers.  You can find them at any bead show I go to (see my website for my calendar) or on my Xuron tool shop page for $22 plus $3.50 shipping.  You can find them cheaper elsewhere, but you'll have my undying gratitude, and if there are any problems with the tool, I have a direct line to Xuron.

Happy crimping (for once)!

1 comment:

  1. The picture of the kitties is good enough for LOL cats. I think you should upload it with a funny caption. Keep the posts coming!