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July 2010
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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.

1 comment to Remodeling Tools Notes and Tips Pliers – Vice Grips

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