At first blush - you may wonder what makes these different from the regular pliers that you may already have - and can find anywhere - from the dollar store to Lee Valley Tools.
Teeth. The answer is teeth - these tools do not have grooved ridges cut into them for gripping the wire. (Which, you'd think would make them cheaper than regular pliers - but nooooo - doesn't work that way.)
That toothy gripping surface on regular pliers is going to play havoc with your nice soft, shiny wire - it will chew up the surface and make it look like heck.
You may remember - back on Monday (yep - LAST YEAR - arf, arf, arf. I love this time of year - and I know - these "year" jokes are so old they have mold.) - I said you needed TWO pairs of these - or some combination of these listed tools. I'll explain in a minute.
What is the difference?
Chain nose pliers are flat on the inside, but the outer side of the jaws are curved. I like the shape of them, and you can shape wire over the outside. The taper makes them fit better into tight spaces.
Flat nose pliers are - well - flat. Their jaws taper, and but they are squared off in and end-on view.
I personally find them a little wide for most of the things I do - I prefer the "micro-tip" pliers - they get into tight places a treat!
And finally - the bent-nose pliers (sorry - I don't have a photo of them separately - for some reason, we've never had them as a stand alone item) - but you'll know them when you see them - they have a 90 degree angle in the jaws.
These can be very useful (I'm told) for getting into tight place to flatten and fold down the ends of wire. But, flip them over in your hand and use the back of the 90 degree bend to hold jump rings and simple loops for opening and closing. They work a treat for this! They have a nice large surface for holding the jump ring, and the jaws are bent up out of the way, so that you have more room to work.
Which brings me to why you need two pairs of pliers! For opening and closing jump rings (and simple, openable loops in general). Hold one half of the jump ring with one pair, and twist open with the other. Always twist, never pull.
That's it - so simple, but so essential that you need two.
It also helps to have two for those days when you just can't find things!
Now you know everything you need to know about putting together a basic tool kit! Cheers!