Fingers are often used as a subsitute for hackle pliers
. You can use
the same hemostat that you hang on your vest, but heavy plier substitutes
can often break the hackle when allowed to hang. Not everyone allows their
hackle pliers to hang, but I do.
The only home-made tools I use are bodkins and bobbin threaders. The
bodkins are various size needles soldered into 1/8" brass tubes, and the
bobbin threaders are narrow guage guitar strings crimped into the end of a
slightly smaller brass tube. You can buy a single treble E string from any
music store for a dollar, and make several threaders. I happen to play guitar,
so I just use what's around.