This article is from the Piercing FAQ, by Anne Greenblatt with numerous contributions by others.
Most piercers use forceps to hold the area to be pierced. Forceps
provide a guide for accurate placement and reduce the risk of an
accidental needle stick to the piercer. The forceps most frequently
used are the Pennington (triangular head) and the Foerster (oval head)
forceps. The serrations on forceps are sharp and should be filed down
to prevent irritating the skin. The forceps should be secured using a
rubberband wrapped around the handles and not by the teeth of the
handles. Securing the forceps by the teeth on the handles is extremely
uncomfortable and can result in bruising. Most piercers use
sterilized, disposable cork to support the side opposite the needle
and to prevent an accidental needle stick.
Vertical clitoral hood, Prince Albert, nostril, septum, and some ear
cartilage piercings are performed with the aid of a needle receiving
The jaws of pliers used to open and close rings should be wrapped in
surgical tape or padded with gauze to prevent scratching the jewelry.
Brass-jaw pliers are less likely to scratch the jewelry than steel
(1) Literature provided by Care-Tech Laboratories,