A renowned wonder of human evolution is the way the fingers and opposable thumbs on the hands of our early primate ancestors gave rise to our impressive ability to grip with great precision and strength. By the Stone Age, we were evolving beyond our hands as the era of tools began, and by Europe’s Bronze Age, the first plier started to take shape as a convenient way to handle hot metal.
Fast-forward to today, and “pliers” has become a word like “sports” – because there are an awful lot of ways in which we need to grab, grip, move, pull, cut, clip, tighten, twist and loosen (and more!)
There are pliers for making jewellery; pliers for maintaining motorcycles; pliers for clamping pipes; Lineman’s pliers and crimping pliers for the electricians; needle-nosed pliers for professional crafts and circlip pliers…
… But let’s stop right there because the message is clear: All pliers are not made equal.
So what sets them apart?
Can they really be so very different?
Let’s explore 4 of what we think are the most interesting plier types for professionals like you:
Tongue-and-groove pliers are in a wider plier category – slip joint pliers, with an adjustable fulcrum for the jaws.
Also known as Multi-Grips, or tap and pipe spanners, every repair guy or gal has a tongue-and-groove plier variant (or 4) in the toolbox – and the name becomes obvious once you see how the tongue (a thin, deep ridge) works with the groove on the opposite edge.
Whether you’re a mechanic, a carpenter or a crafty artisan – or a handyman who needs one of the most versatile hand-held tools ever made that is capable of doing a thousand different jobs – you simply must have some of these pointy beauties in your ‘box.
From spark plug gapping for a mechanic to highly precise jewellery making and getting that thin nose in hard-to-reach places, there’s almost nothing these pliers won’t help you do.
Mechanics will find circlips under the bonnet and electronics specialists will find them in their trade, but these little retaining clips or fasteners are hiding away pretty much wherever machines with moving parts are.
And to install, clean, replace or remove them, you’ll need a set of circlip pliers which are designed specifically to fit into the circlip grip’s holes for easy manipulation.
If you haven’t used crimping pliers before, we can assume you’re not an electrician.
These skilled professionals use this interesting nutcrucker-style plier design – featuring the fulcrum on the tip rather than the middle – to ‘crimp’, which is the way electricians or computer experts connect wires to connectors, and the way artisans crimp beads or tubes.
The final word: Pliers, pliers everywhere…
But as we mentioned at the start, the word “pliers” is a bit like the word “sports” – there are a lot of them, and darts is a lot different to 10m platform diving!
Diagonal cutting and wire twist pliers help electricians work with wire; hog ring pliers allow furniture makers and fencers to tighten metal rings; locking pliers clamp on like a boss – and the list goes on and on and on.
And as tasks become more complex and demanding and industries continue to emerge and grow, you can be sure that plier list will continue to grow as well.
Need pliers? Get yours today!