How To Use a Crimping Tool

Attaching a clasp with Crimp Tubes and a Crimping Tool

Crimp Tube flattened with pliers

Crimp Tube flattened with pliers

When you use crimp tubes, you have the option of using either needlenose pliers or a crimp tool to flatten your crimp. Typically, both methods hold equally well, but using a crimping tool makes a smaller, tidier finished look. Personally, if I use a ribbed crimp bead, I use needlenose pliers. If I use crimp tubes, I use a crimping tool. (Some people use crimping tool with ribbed crimp beads. In my opinion, the result is a mangled and sharp piece of metal that doesn’t look very good.)

Crimp Tube Closed with Crimping Tool

Crimp Tube Closed with Crimping Tool

Attaching the clasp is basically the same for each type of crimp bead. This tutorial covers how to use the crimping tool instead of needlenose pliers. (To see the basics of how to attach a clasp using crimp beads, see our post How To Use Crimp Beads)

How to Use the Crimping Tool

Using the Crimping Tool takes TWO steps. The instruction that are included with your tool is pictured below. You will notice two crimping areas on the tool itself, the “crimper” and the “rounder.”

How to Use a Crimp Tool

Step One of Using a Crimping Tool

Step One: Hold your crimp tube in the “crimper”. This will create a crease in the crimp tube that will be folded in step two.

Step Two: After the crimp tube is creased, set your crimp in the “rounder” area. The crimp should be positioned in such a way that when you squeeze the pliers, the crimp tube folds along that crease into a small, folded crimp.

Crimping Tool Instructions

Crimping Tool Instructions

TIP: To be extra-sure that the crimp is tight, you could squeeze the folded crimp with needlenose pliers. It’s not usually necessary, but it offers more assurance.

2 Comments:

  1. I find the ribbed crimps hold better. Do you agree? I agree with you about using a needle nose tool for this. Do you still think it is a professional finish? May I use a large hole bead such as a roller or crow bead to hide the crimp?

    • I find that not all crimps are created equally. The tubes we use hold just as well as the ribbed ones, but I have gotten some from distributors that just don’t work well at all. They are either too stiff or they crack and break open. Same goes for the little round ones that are on the market.

      That said, when you use crimp tubes (with a crimping tool) and the wire is on the thin side – smaller than .014 – sometimes the wire can slip out. This can happen with the ribbed crimps too, but it seems to happen less often. Whenever I use tubes+crimp tool, I end by closing the folded crimp just a bit with my needlenose pliers so it’s closed better. I don’t squish so hard that it becomes a flattened, sharp piece of metal, but enough to sufficiently close around the wire.

      As for a professional finish, I usually use crimp covers if I don’t like the look of my crimp beads. If you use ribbed crimps or tubes that have been closed with a regular plier, you’ll want the 4mm size. Tubes closed with the crimping tool can accommodate 3mm or 4mm covers. Using a roller crow or other large-hole bead works too, but I have trouble getting the second one to sit well.

      Maybe I’ll try to make up a crimp cover blog post next week. Thanks for the idea!

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