Workshop Wonders: Pliers

November 23, 2010
Rack of Pliers on the Goldsmith's Bench

Rack of Pliers at this Goldsmith’s Work Bench

Pliers Poised for Action

Every so often, usually at the end of a creative project in the workshop, I have a serious tidy up.

The jewellery workshop is just that; a workshop.  A place of tools and equipment, metals and materials, filings and offcuts. As each project progresses, tools are plucked from their nests.  Some are immediately returned after use, but others find themselves close at hand on the workbench ready to be used again.

Purposeful Pliers

My rack of pliers shown in the picture is less than an arms length from me as I sit at my workbench. Each pair with its own purpose and function.  Racking them up again punctuates the creative process; it provides a time for reflection as well as organisation.

Pliers … are Personal

As someone who creates jewellery from the basic materials, pliers play a huge role in shaping, curving and bending gold and silver into the desired forms.

Since starting in this profession with a few treasured tools from the Master Craftsman who was my teacher, new pliers have been added to the collection. Since those days, however, the collection has adapted with me; grown with my ideas for design, the challenges I’ve faced, the outcomes I wish to achieve.

The jaws of many a pristine pair of pliers have been pressed against the abrasive wheel of the grinder. In a few noisy and grating seconds, a parallel edge has been eliminated … a uniquely tapered edge created. After final smoothing, they become a part of my world. Reaching for them with the knowledge of how they will perform becomes second nature.

Pliers for Precision

I know each pair of these pliers intimately. Using them for anything other than my creations in the jewellery workshop is out of the question.

Precision work requires precision tools. They’re precious.


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  1. Kiff Backhouse

    RT @rockwaterstudio: Not quite as scary as Jaws, but here's a *gripping* story from this Goldsmith's workshop

  2. louloufrance

    RT @rockwaterstudio: Behind the scenes in the Jewellery Workshop. Creating Treasures in Gold and Silver (from yest …

  3. Julie Walraven | Resume Services

    Gee, I was wandering through your site to see what I haven’t read and I missed this one. I was thinking today that I need to have a “serious tidy up” as you say. I have multiple client projects on the books right now but I am getting buried in files and paperwork (my tools of the trade) Keeping the individual files straight helps me retrieve info quickly and then it also helps me feel organized which increases my productivity. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Gee Backhouse

      Glad you found this one Julie – and that it inspired you! Getting serious about getting organised seems to have many benefits in my experience. Good luck with your files and paperwork!