Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - Wubbers Review

I've had enough time with my Wubbers now to feel comfortable giving a product review.

First of all, Wubbers are pliers that are made by Euro Tools and hand finished to reduce marring on the relatively soft metals used in jewelry making. Wubbers is a word created from the initials of "Wired Up Beads", which is a company that is now a division of Wubbers. L.L.C.

The catchphrase Wubbers uses is “Made to Make Jewelry™” and I would have to agree.They have been engineered for comfort and balance. The joint of the pliers moves very smoothly and the grips are a cushioned foam that is quite comfortable during extended use. More about the designer of Wubbers and other information can be found at the Wubbers website.

I was given some Wubbers for review purposes by Blue Buddha Boutique with their recommendation for use in chainmaille construction. I can see why Blue Buddha would recommend them - the constant gripping and twisting of jumprings to construct even a small bit of maille can be very wearing on one's hands, but using Wubbers reduces the strain. When I first got the Wubbers I noticed a distinct odor from the grips, almost like artificial cherry flavored candy smells, but it's dissipated with continual use.

Additionally, the surface of the tool which touches the wire or jumprings is just matte enough to grip but smooth enough not to leave gouges. I've now made several items with a lot of jumpring manipulation, including a couple of charm bracelet chains, that I can truly tell the difference when I'm using Wubbers versus other tools - no tool marks or shiny spots on colored wire or jumprings. The one exception has been copper - I can't seem to eliminate all scratches or nicks on copper, especially patinaed headpins or wire. Even so, the depth and amount has been significantly reduced. Perhaps it's just me not being cautious enough.

I have Classic Wubbers (flat nose: 6.5 inches long, with a 7/8" jaw) and Baby Wubbers (flat nose: 5 inches long, with a 3/4" jaw). I prefer the Baby size as I have fairly small hands, but the leverage of the larger size may be more helpful with larger gauge wire. I haven't really tested that since the wire I use is 20 to 26 gauge. When working with pieces that have very small spaces for manipulating a wrap, like a fine gauge wrapped loop fitted tightly against a bead, the Baby size is easier for me to use.

Unless I'm clumsy, or the finish on the rings is particularly delicate, I've had great results as far as tool marks or scratches go. I think that for some finishes nothing is going to help eliminate the occasional nick or flake, but the Wubbers keep that to a minimum compared to other tools I've used, and most of my tools are Euro Tools, so it's not as if I'm not using pretty good ones, although I'd like to try Wubbers against Lindstroms one of these days.

You can purchase Wubbers at Blue Buddha Boutique and other jewelry making suppliers.

FTC compliance disclosure, notice of material connections: Two pair of Wubbers were provided as promotional gifts for review purposes by Blue Buddha Boutique.

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