Pliers: Which two pairs of pliers do you recommend that I purchase first for chain mail projects?
I recommend flat nose pliers with longer handles (so the tips of the handles don’t dig into your palms as you work. Some people prefer the padded handles for comfort; others find them a bit bulky and prefer the plain PVC handles. Some find the PVC handles slip in their sweaty hands. Contact me and I can direct you to my favourites in different price ranges.
Clasps: Tell me about your clasps?
I love clasps—they add the finishing touch to any bracelet or necklace. I carry a range of interesting clasps in both base metal and precious metal. I look for variety (toggles, box clasps, lobsters, snap, hook & eye, magnetic, foldover, multi-strand and more), and for exciting details (gemstones, pearls, crystals, texture, shape). I search out clasps at many online stores and at the gem shows in Tucson.
Please explain how a ball and socket clasp works?
This clasp goes by other names—button clasp, trailer hitch clasp or snap clasp—in addition to ball and socket. I think these names give you a good idea of how they work. They are a very secure and unobtrusive clasp.
My books have clear instructions for many excellent projects, plus a reference section with chain mail weave instructions at the back of the book.