Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lindstrom generosity

Shortly before we left for vacation, I received a comment on one of my blog posts from Mike of Lindstrom Precision Tools.  I didn't see it right away because of the whole vacation thing, but when I did, I was floored.  He offered to send me a few pairs of pliers for evaluation and said I could keep them as long as I give feedback.

If you don't make jewelry, you probably don't know the name "Lindstrom".  They are the highest end tools in quality and price.  To be offered "a few pairs of pliers" is an unbelievable offer, because it has never entered my mind that I could afford one Lindstrom tool let alone "a few" of them.  Most of my jewelry work is beadweaving, so my main tool is a very affordable needle.  However, I do enough other types of jewelry-making (stringing, wirework, chainmaille, and mixed media) that having high quality pliers is a must.

Besides my Xuron tools (see my reviews here), I've been limping along with cheap or moderately cheap tools I've picked up at craft stores or wherever.  They're okay in a pinch, but I've slowly been replacing them with higher quality tools.  I don't like using the cheap ones for chainmaille because the rings always get marred, so I don't do a lot of chainmaille.  That's a pity because it's so pretty.

Because I'm so enamored with my Xuron tools and sell a few of them, I felt I should call Abby, my Xuron contact and good friend (she's known as "Xuron Abby" in this house and on this blog).  I did not want to accept any tools from Lindstrom if it would endanger my relationship with Xuron.

Imagine my surprise when I told Abby about the offer, and she asked, "Was it Mike?"  She spoke very highly of Mike and of Lindstrom, and she said she really likes their RX series of tools.  Abby said I didn't need Xuron's blessing, but she thanked me for asking.

So after we finished talking about Lindstrom, various Xuron business things, and our cats, I took a look at Lindstrom's website.  You have to check out the opening animation on their site.  It's so cool and trippy!  I found their Bead and Jewelry Arts product listing (this page shows each of the tools individually) and was astounded that there were so many.  There are a number of types of pliers in each of the series, plus there's a series of cutters.  I looked around at the other product listings to see everything they had available so I could make my choice and found a whole section of just RX series cutters.

I e-mailed Mike and thanked him profusely for his generous offer.  I did warn that my feedback would be completely honest, and I sent him links to my blog posts of Xuron tools so he could get a better idea of how I review.  If he still was interested in sending me a tool, I listed four that I was interested in.  I did not want to choose, so I asked him to pick one for me.

He responded, "Your selections are a familiar pattern (chain nose, round nose, bent nose, cutter) and I’m happy to send the ones out you selected."  Wow!  How cool is that?

He did suggest a different cutter than the one I chose and sent me a link to their online catalog so I could look at all the specifications.  I'm not going to discuss that now - when I review the cutter I'll get into all the gory "How do I choose?" details.

After a few go-arounds we decided on a cutter, and in no time a Lindstrom box arrived!

Here are the tools in their packages:

I was so excited, I posted the above picture with a brief explanation to my Creative Pursuits Facebook page!

Here are the cutters out of the package so you can see them more clearly:

The handles are ergonomically-shaped to reduce strain on your hands while you work, and they feel comfortable in my hand.  I was a bit concerned that they'd be too big because I have small hands, but so far they seem fine.  When I was looking at the cutters, one of my considerations was overall tool length because of the whole "stumpy fingers" issue, so I had chosen a smaller one.  Mike had to set me straight that the difference was head length not handle length.  All of the handles are the same size, which makes absolute sense.  Oops!

Each tool comes with a protective tube cover for the head:

Here's what the cutters look like unfettered:

There is a little bit of oil on the heads, which is natural and the sign of a good tool.  You can wipe the oil off with a tissue before using the tool if you're concerned about it getting on your work.

You may be wondering what that black curvy-looking thing is between the handles.  That's a spring that can click into three different notches (in the yellow circle below) based on how strong you'd like the tool to open when you relax your hand:

Here is what it looks like with the spring in the middle notch:

Let's flip the tool over to see the other end of the spring:

This functionality is standard across all of their tools.  It's nice that it's customizable (even to switching sides if there's a need to do so), but I will say that when the spring is in the middle or bottom notches there's a click of spring against tool that might get annoying with repeated opening and closing of the tool.  Then again, I'm very sensitive to that sort of thing and practically lunge for the remote to mute the TV when a Kit Kat commercial comes on.  Yes, we get it - they're crunchy.  Where was I?  Oh, yes.  So far I think I prefer a looser tension, so the top notch (the one closer to the head) will probably work for me.

I found this page on Rio Grande's website which gives instructions on how to insert the spring and lists some of the main reasons the spring might pop out.  One reason is that the spring's curvature can get fatigued if the tool is stored "closed", such as it is with the tube over the head.  They recommend leaving it "open" (no tube or not in a pouch) or taking the spring out when storing the tool.

Another concern with the springs is that repeated clicking them in and popping them out can "fatigue the hinge end of the spring".  However, you can get a replacement for $3-5, which is a whole lot cheaper than replacing the whole tool.  They're interchangeable, too, so in a pinch you can take one from another tool.

I like the idea of keeping the heads protected, so let me take a few seconds to take the springs out.  Done!

Let's see... what else can I tell you about the tools right now?  Not much, because I haven't had the time to start playing with them.  So far, they seem neato-keen, as the kids say (or they did say fifty years ago), but I won't have more of an evaluation until I get to work.  When I do, I'll review each one individually.  If you think you might have missed a review, you can click on "Lindstrom" under the "labels" section over there on the right ---> for a concentrated list of posts.

Oh!  I should show you an overall picture of all the tools I received:

I would like to publicly thank Mike and Lindstrom for giving me this opportunity to get to know their tools and their company and to share my feedback with my blog readers!

There is a Lindstrom RX Plier and Cutter Set on Amazon that has tools similar to what Lindstrom sent me.  It has flat nose pliers instead of bent nose, the cutters are slightly different, and the chain nose pliers are slightly different.  However, they come in a nice case.  (Note: this is an affiliate link)


  1. Traci, I'm glad you accepted Mike's offer! You will like these tools. I have the round nose plier and it's fantastic. You may want to ask Mike about the clicking springs -- mine don't do that. I store them closed (with spring removed) -- I just checked it and no clicks. I look forward to reading the rest of your review. Rudy says HELLO!!!

  2. You're welcome! Thank you, Abby, for the words of support.