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Featured Tool - Everything you wanted to know about Pliers

by Gerry Fung

Pliers are hand tools, designed primarily for gripping objects by using leverage. Pliers are designed for numerous purposes and require different jaw configurations to grip, turn, pull, or crimp a variety of things. They are a tool common to many dexterous trades and occupations. Many types of pliers also include jaws for cutting.

In technical terms, pliers are an instrument that convert a power grip, the curling of the fingers into the palm of the hand, into a precision grip, which directs the power of the hand's grip in a precise fashion on the object to be gripped. The handles are long relative to the shorter nose of the pliers. Therefore, they act as levers, concentrating and, in effect, amplifying the force in the hand's grip on a work piece.

Types of Pliers


Gripping pliers (used to improve grip)

  • Combination pliers or lineman's pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Long-nose or needle-nose pliers, which have long, narrow jaws for gripping in confined spaces
  • Groove joint or tongue & groove pliers (occasionally called water pump pliers, or referred to by the name of a well-known manufacturer, Channellock) - with adjustable jaw sizes, which are designed to grip various sizes of round, hexagon, flat or similarly shaped objects
  • Retaining ring or circlip pliers, which are used for fixing or loosening retaining rings
  • Locking pliers
  • Nail pulling pliers - an adaptation of the end nipper used for cutting wire; the jaws may be asymmetric, allowing the nail to be pulled out with a rocking motion on the surface in which it is imbedded.
  • Glass Breaking / Grozz Pliers (Breaker-grozier plier).

Cutting pliers (used to sever or pinch off)

  • Combination pliers or lineman's pliers
  • Diagonal pliers (wire cutters, side cutting pliers or side cutters) not really pliers as it is only used for cutting
  • Pinching pliers (end nippers)
  • Wire stripping pliers - cuts and removes insulation on electrical wire while leaving the wire intact
  • Needle-nose pliers - designed for gripping, but typically incorporate a cutter for 'one-tool' convenience.

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Crimping pliers

  • For crimping electrical terminals and connectors (solderless connections)
  • For crimping metal rings or tags on livestock
  • For crimping metal security seals on cargo carriers
  • For crimping an impression on a document - as in a notary's seal
  • For crimping laboratory vials
  • For crimping bottles with sprayer tops, such as perfume bottles

For more information about pliers and plier kits, go to CDM Tool Sales.

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