I stepped on a large piece of glass in my kitchen yesterday. It was about 1/2 a centimeter long and got lodged in the ball of my foot. It was not unpainful. After digging through my wife's overstuffed cosmetics drawer, I finally found the tweezers I was looking for. And while a tiny pair of cosmetic tweezers may be just the tool for extracting eyebrows or eyebrow-sized splinters, they simply weren't powerful enough to grip the enormous craggy edges of the shard of glass embedded in my foot, which was looking more and more like the Great Star of Africa.
Time to bring in the heavy hitters, I thought. I limped over to my knife kit, grabbed my Global Fish Bone Tweezers ($43.95), and made short work of the intruding rock.
Asides from the occasional bit of glass-extraction duty, a set of tweezers is a decidedly specialist tool, but nevertheless a tool that is quite essential in the kitchen of anyone who eats fish regularly and prefers to buy their seafood as close as possible to au naturale (I.E. me).
Even when you buy a cleaned side of salmon or char (the more responsible choice) from the fish counter at the supermarket you run into the occasional pin-bone that's better off removed. In a pinch you could use a pair of needle-nose pliers, or you could try and cut around them with a knife, but both of those methods end up mangling more than extracting. Fish tweezers are the only tool that can do the job effectively.
Pretty much all fish tweezers follow the same sort of set-up. Stronger, longer, and sturdier than cosmetic tweezers, with pinching blades that have a good 2 millimeters of flat surface area that come in contact with each other. This surface area is key, because it's what allows you to get a good grip on slippery bones. The pointed ends of cosmetic or crafts tweezers simply won't cut it.
I used to be a MesserMeister-man. Their tweezers sport a classic squared-off, symmetrical design, and they are more than adequately functional for most tasks.
The problem I had with them (and all the others shaped like them)? Fine work is very difficult. Because of their square shape, it's tough pick out the tiniest pin bones or to work with small fish without gouging the meat. In addition, I found that over time, the metal started to bend, requiring frequent re-shaping to get them to grip properly.
I've more recently switched over to the Fish Bone Tweezers by Global ($43.95). Rather than a symmetrical square tip, their tweezers come to a triangular point, which is much more maneuverable. They've also got the same semi-non-slip grip that the Global knives have, and an ergonomic shape that prevents the them from sliding out of a hand slickened with slippery salmon slime. Say that five times fast.
Your purchase on Amazon helps support Serious Eats.