- Flat and other “pliers”
- What is the key difference between pliers
- Types of handles
- Manufacturing material
- What electricians need to know
- Which tool to choose for yourself
Today we will talk about the main working tool of any master. What is the difference between pliers and pliers, what is the difference between tools with a tenfold difference in cost and how to choose the right pliers for your workshop – we will analyze these and other questions to the smallest detail.
Flat and other “pliers”
Classic pliers in the assortment of tool stores are now quite rare. However, this is the simplest and most basic type of locksmith “potholders”, and it is worth starting your acquaintance with the hinge-pliers group with a tool with flat jaws.
The main difference between pliers is the maximum surface area of the jaws for the most reliable clamping of the part with minimal effort. Pliers are not designed to hold massive objects, their task is to provide a fixed fixation and at the same time not damage the surface of the part. In appearance, classic pliers are very easy to distinguish: jaws, hinge, handles and nothing more – no cutting edges, no gripping recess.
There are a wide variety of special types of pliers, mainly differing in the shape of the jaws. A large number of varieties are due to the need to work in hard-to-reach places and perform special tasks. The most popular are pliers with narrowing of the jaws to the edge, this is a kind of reinforced tweezers.
Jaws can be curved, round or tapered. The latter type of tool is used to twist cable cores into rings of different sizes. Note that even the flagship tool is often referred to as haphazard, calling pliers with pliers and vice versa. The products of Knipex, YATO and FORCE turned out to be closest to the classical form of the instrument. It is important to understand the difference between these tools and to have a pair of pliers for their intended use only..
What is the key difference between pliers
The pliers are designed for a wider range of tasks. Basically, it is a massive tool for firmly holding large parts, although there are also miniature representatives for delicate work, such as electronics. The pliers have a serrated notch, the notches on the jaws are larger, sometimes of different sizes in different parts, there are cutting edges and side clamps for studs or small nuts.
The varieties and configurations of this instrument are simply incredible. It makes no sense to describe them: go to the electronic catalog of the same STANLEY and choose according to your taste. The appearance of the instrument gives a visual representation of the functions that it is capable of performing. We should also mention curved and reinforced pliers, in some operations they are simply irreplaceable.
Please note that pliers are usually not spared in work. They do not have such a purpose as preserving the surface intact and safe. But this is the most that neither is the workhorse of any locksmith or home craftsman.
Types of handles
The shape of the jaws and the working part of the pliers is always selected for specific tasks. But there are a number of other features that are equally important for pliers, pliers and other representatives of the group.
The first thing to look for when choosing such a tool is the handle. The trauma safety of the instrument and the convenience of working with it directly depend on their shape, structure and other features. If you compare the cheapest ANT pliers (with blue hard plastic covers) and GROSS tools with 3-piece handles, the difference will be obvious, even if you do not handle both. The presence of two- and three-component handles plays an important role, they improve the grip, reduce painful pressure on the palm and allow you to confidently wield the tool without fear of slipping out even when held in dirty hands or leggings.
Other features include stops that prevent the hand from sliding towards the part and the presence of rings on the inside of the handles for installing the spring. The shape of the handles plays a primary role, it almost always has to be chosen individually, taking into account the anatomical features of the palm. Naturally, the fit of the handles should be tight using epoxy glue, the usual from the heat of the hands will soften over time, and the covers will begin to slide off the metal handles.
Finally, the length of the handles plays a role. The most common sizes are 130 mm for fine work and 200 mm for rough work. There are series of extended tools with lengths up to 400 mm (FORCE) and sometimes even more. Such a tool is especially popular among car service workers, in a home workshop there is little benefit from it.
The quality of the steel from which the pliers are made determines its durability and the likelihood of sudden breakage under load. In addition to the fact that steel handles must withstand sometimes a very impressive clamping force, the hardness and elastic limit determine the resource of the hinge and working surfaces – jaws, clamps, cutting edges.
The most popular steel grades for a really high-quality tool are S2, Cr-V and Cr-Ni, in the budget segment the usual stainless steel – INOX prevails. Serious manufacturers like GROSS or Knipex have their own secrets about alloying additives and exotic high strength alloys. The steel grades patented by them are not indicated in the description of the tool, being limited only by the value of hardness, as a rule, according to Rockwell. For pliers, hardness values in the range of 55–70 units are considered optimal..
For the wear resistance of the sponges, the hardness of the steel is key, but not the only one. Additionally, the cutting edges and notches can be hardened by hardening, mainly by induction with soft tempering in an inert atmosphere. The joint life is influenced by the tightness of fit and the roughness value. However, the tighter the fit, the greater the negative effect of corrosion on the tool. The most durable coating is considered to be black nickel plating, phosphating or chromating, such steel does not rust in almost any environment.
In practice, it is very easy to check the quality of the pliers. If you put a drill (not carbide) across the notches between the jaws, and then hit the pliers with a hammer, absolutely nothing will happen to them. A really high-quality tool is more likely to leave dents on the drill than to damage itself, the same applies to checking the cutting edges with a slate nail. However, in a household such a high quality of sponges is usually not required, it is enough that they simply do not lick their lips when trying to pull out a nail by the cap, everything else can already be considered an overpayment.
What electricians need to know
For people working in electrical installations, there is a separate category of pliers. The main distinguishing feature is the presence of dielectric handles tested for a voltage of 1000 V. Each of the representatives of this series undergoes laboratory tests, the results of which are recorded in the certification documentation.
There is, however, one exception: a cheap Chinese instrument in appearance resembles a dielectric one with a traditional yellow-red color gamut and even has a “1000V” mark. However, the real test for electrical strength is applied to the handles of the tool costing from 2000-2500 rubles. If you are an employee of an electrical installation organization in which periodic testing of the tool is provided for safety, there is a high probability that a cheap tool will not pass them..
Also a characteristic feature of the tool for electrical installation is the presence of larger stops on the handles. High-quality pliers and cutters have not only electrical insulation of the handles, but also insulating pads on the back and side surfaces of the jaws. With such a tool, the probability of short-circuiting closely spaced live parts is extremely small..
Which tool to choose for yourself
To summarize: what tool should be in a home workshop? First of all, a pair of pliers of different sizes, which do not unscrew the nuts, do not bend metal, but are used exclusively as reinforced tweezers. The adjacent place in the box is occupied by large (160-200 mm) and small (120 mm) pliers for a wide range of tasks. This will be enough for most home craftsmen, but if you are a homemade lover or are engaged in repairing equipment, the arsenal of the pliers should be expanded..
At a minimum, you will need pliers with long and tapered jaws, round nose pliers with tapered jaws, and a pair of curved long-nose pliers of various sizes. For metalworking, reinforced pliers are indispensable, having stiffening ribs on the handles and their articulation with the hinge. Adjustable pliers are well suited for unscrewing the licked nuts, it is also advisable to have pliers with a free hinge for large parts.
One of the most useful tools for the workshop will be hand clamps, otherwise called fixed clamp pliers. This thing is really useful and finds many applications in different types of plumbing work. Well, if you work on the road and do not want to constantly carry a bunch of tools with you, get a high-quality multitool with a universal jaw shape, spanners and folding screwdrivers.
One thing can be said about the quality: the fact that there are really “indestructible” pliers is not a myth. Therefore, at least one copy of really high-quality and expensive pliers for 140–160 mm should definitely be in the arsenal of every master, it will be enough for most of the professional activity. But all the other representatives of the hinge-pliers family used for special work should be taken cheaper, but always with high-quality multicomponent handles and more or less decent quality steel.