Crimp Beads - Having Trouble With Strength.

Q: Following everyone's advice (thank you, dear group), I began using crimp beads in my designs (which are slowly beginning to sell in retail - woohoo!). However, I prefer the silver-looking crimp beads, but cannot for the life of me get these things to compress down on the wire. The softer gold crimp beads work just fine. I'm only using needle-nosed pliers, and my hand-strength is laughable. Do I need to invest in the 'crimp tools" I have seen mentioned here?

A: Yes, the crimp pliers make a big difference. Just be sure to read the instructions so you're using them properly. I use sterling crimp beads because I use sterling findings otherwise, and although I could crimp them with pliers, they weren't as tight as they should be and didn't look as nice as the crimp pliers make them. When I invented them, I tested them out with a person who had arthritis. Do check out the tool and see if it is stamped with the patent numbers. There are a number of firms selling knock-offs! You are free to download the instructions at: http://www.mcs.net/~bartky/crimper/ YES. I used to send my work off to have it professionally photographed by another beader, and she was always fixing my crimps because often the piece had fallen apart by the time it got to her. I bought the crimping pliers and switched to the soft, smooth tube style crimp beads instead of the ribbed hard ones. I have not had a single problem since. It is a great tool, beautiful design, and I SWEAR mine is not a knock-off. I bought it from 'Euro-Tool'. That being said, I find the quality control to be lousy. I always have to look at 10 to find one where the jaws are aligned and totally close at the tip and they only last a hundred or so necklaces before they stop closing tightly, and need to be replaced. Granted, they aren't very expensive, but I would happily pay more for more reliable quality. Your thoughts? Am I the only one with this problem?