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July 2010
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Cabinet Caper

Had an old cabinet. Left side was a printer stand for tractor feed paper. Needed a file cabinet for the Closet Office.

Skilsaw action ensues.

Trim n Paint

Leftovers. No custom closet office is complete without a custom trash can.

Cut down old drawer front, made note and key board.

Remodeling Tools Notes and Tips: Pliers – Electricians Pliers

Just about every set of pliers I have mentioned previously Slip Joint, Vice Grips, have a ‘wire cutter’ at the base of the jaws. None of them work well.

The last set of pliers to consider for your remodeling toolkit is a pair of electricians/linesman’s pliers. I am going to show mine, My Klien’s. I am not bothering to show any other as it would just make them cry and in this category there is only one.

This is a Klein D200-9NE Linesmans Pliers.
These are the only set of electric pliers you will ever need. This is only my second pair. I had my first pair 15 years until somebody stole them. I have had these 10.

They cut wire, nails, screws and most hardened wire.(not that you will run into hardened wire in the typical house) The plastic handles are NOT an insulator, so make sure the electricity is off when using these around electricity!

Here is a closeup of the business end.

These are so well constructed you need to look close to see the rivet. The gap on the top is by design, and not a defect. In addition to being a superior wire cutter, (note the location of the rivet being closer to the cutting edge giving you more force applied for cutting) The ‘v’ opening on the left works to hold the end of the wire so you can bend it to fit around the screws as you install outlets and switches.

The slot on the bottom of the jaw works well as a wire stripper without nicking the wire. It takes a little practice to get used to, but one of the best electrician’s I ever met did all of his connections with only a set of Kliens and a screwdriver. He could cut, strip, twist and install a outlet or switch faster than you just read this sentence.

The milling on the jaw ends is crosshatched giving you more gripping power than a straight tooth.

They are so well machined that there is no side wobble even after 10 years. If I don’t lose these my kids will fight over them when I die.

Remodeling Tools Notes and Tips Pliers – Vice Grips

In my previous posting on slip joint pliers, I mentioned the versatility of them. One of the drawbacks to them is the ability of applying force to them while you are turning them. In the case of loosening a nut or bolt, you need to get a firm bite on it as you apply sideways pressure to turn it. The typical slip joint pliers is probably responsible for easily 50% of the profanity in remodeling projects, as well as keeping the band aid companies profitable.

For the most part, basic hand tools  have been invented and it is  details and quality which sets various tools apart. Occasionally something new does get invented that does one better. The Vice Grip Pliers is such a tool.

These are two  Vice Grip style pliers. The one on the left is a knock off that is so bad that the only identity mark on it is Taiwan. The one on the right is the real deal. Despite Vice Grip being bought by Irwin (another tool maker) the quality has not been compromised. I mentioned before that ‘branding’ is not necessarily any guarantee of quality. This is one of the few cases where the brand is the real deal.

Here is a detail of the various parts of it.

On the top in this photo is the ‘fixed ‘ handle containing the adjustment knob, spring(not visible) and the fixed jaw.

On the bottom is the movable  handle with quick release lever to release the tool after clamping it on your work, and the movable jaw. You use this by adjusting the jaws around your work and then clamping the handles together. The clamping action allows you to apply more force in turning than you get with ‘standard’ slip joint pliers. Here is a link for more info.

In addition to the positive locking feature, you also get a much broader range of sizes that you can clamp and turn, This 10” set will grip 3/4” galvanized pipe for example, without smashing your hands. (YMMV)

This is one of those cases where a tool can be improved.  You will not save money by buying a knock off. The no name on the left looks sorta close, but on examination you can see that the ends of the jaws do not meet, the teeth are junk, and the manufacturing quality is so poor they needed three rivets to hold the fixed jaw in place.

A vice grip is really the only adjustable pliers you will need in your remodeling kit. Highly recommended.