Toolbox Essentials – Pliers January 17 , 2017

The house would be turned upside down until all items were located and safely stowed in the designated pocket. Only then would he start his day. Sadly, he passed away in 1999, and because they were so much a part of him, his toothpicks, pocket knife, measuring tape and pliers were buried with him. You never know what one might need on the other side!


Pliers come in a variety of styles designed for different purposes, so you might consider a few types for your toolbox. I keep a small pair of needle nose pliers in a drawer in my kitchen. They come in handy when I'm unable to open a can of pop the conventional way or if I find it hard to pull the tab on a juice carton. They are also great for fixing jewelry. I have a small pair in the toolbox in the garage that I usually carry in my pocket when I'm trimming the grass. They are really handy when the line on my grass trimmer breaks off at the hole where it feeds out.


Slip joint pliers are also handy for a variety of tasks. They can be used for twisting wire, tightening bolts, loosening bolts, squeezing metal parts, pulling almost anything, cutting wire, holding hot parts, turning screws, and a variety of other jobs. Their pivot point can be moved to increase the size range of their jaws.


Linesman's pliers, also known as combination pliers, are often used by electricians and other tradesmen primarily for gripping, twisting, bending and cutting cable or wire.


Groove-joint pliers have serrated jaws usually set 45 to 65 degrees from the handles. Often, these pliers have long handles for increased leverage. The design of these pliers allows them to be adjusted to a number of different sizes without the distance in the handle growing wider. These pliers are usually used for turning and holding nuts and bolts, gripping irregularly shaped objects and clamping materials.


Crimping pliers, used extensively in metalworking, are used to join two pieces of metal or other malleable material by deforming one or both of them to hold the other. The bend or deformity is called the crimp. Electricians use these pliers also, for securing electrical connectors.


Locking pliers, commonly known as Vise-Grips, are pliers that can be locked into position. One side of the handle includes a bolt that is used to adjust the spacing of the jaws, the other side of the handle includes a lever to push the two sides of the handles apart to unlock the pliers. Locking pliers come in a variety of sizes and configurations, such as needle-nose locking pliers, locking wrenches and c-clamp locking pliers. If you've ever stripped a screw and the screwdriver is no longer effective in removing or tightening it, small locking pliers can come in handy.


I've only mentioned a few of the types of pliers that are available, but my point is that every household should have at least one pair of pliers in their toolbox or kitchen drawer. I carry a small Vice-Grip in the glove box of my vehicle (along with a few other tools) and have a variety of sizes in my toolbox in the garage.


Pliers and Vice-Grips can make a great birthday or Christmas gift for new homeowners or the young folks just starting out on their own. I suggest that at least a 3-piece locking pliers set or a 5-piece mechanic pliers set belongs in every toolbox.

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