Here are a few more tips I share with my students:
1. Choke up on those pliers! Don’t be afraid of your pliers! Put your hands as close to the tips of the pliers as is comfortable. The closer you are to your jump ring, the more leverage you have over the jump ring.
2. Use shorter-tipped pliers. The shorter the tip, the more leverage you will have to control the jump ring instead of the jump ring controlling you!
3. Most instructions will give the number of jump rings to open and to close. Before beginning the weave always pre-open and pre-close the jump rings. This serves two purposes, to be able to get into a weaving rhythm and not have to stop and open and close rings in the middle of weaving, and also you will get plenty of practice perfecting the closures on you jump rings.
4. If you find yourself using what I call the “death grip” on your pliers, try holding out your pinkies, just like you would if you were to have tea with the Queen. I know it sounds funny, but it works. For some reason, when your pinkies are extended away from the pliers, your grip loosens. If your jump rings tend to “fly across the room”, chances are you are gripping your pliers to tightly. Loosen Up!
Task lighting and magnification are also important when chainmailling. And finally, a word about pliers. You will need two pairs of comfortable, non-serrated pliers with double leaf-springs. The four types of pliers I recommend are chainnose pliers, snubnose pliers, flatnose pliers, and bentnose pliers. Some people mix and match chain nose pliers with bent nose pliers or snub nose pliers with flat nose pliers. Use whichever combination will work for you. Pliers can range in price from $5 to more than $80, but again, use whatever works best for you!