slip joint pliers

Slip Joint Pliers

What Are Slip Joint Pliers?

Although there are many types of pliers, the one model that always stands out is the pair of slip joint pliers. They are versatile and should be in every person’s toolbox.slip joint pliers

Slip joint pliers are a device that consist of a fulcrum or a pivot point. The fulcrum is moved in order to increase the size of the jaws. Most of the slip joint pliers allow the pivot point to be changed and the pliers can be opened in several positions. These pliers are also called lineman’s pliers. In fact the slip joint plier is a hand tool which is devised for gripping, bending or mending the apparatus. German pliers are usually considered as the well developed and advanced class of the slip joint pliers. For working on electric appliances insulated pliers are the best known types of pliers.

The have a long nose with a slip joint spring which is loaded on the comfort handles. With handles these pliers provide a lifetime warranty and packed in the blister pack. These pliers can be of many kinds like Hand pliers, steel pliers, locking pliers, miniature pliers, multi Stanley pliers and so on. Many tool manufacturing companies that make the slip joint pliers along with the other instruments like German pliers, insulated pliers and other equipment also offer shipment facilities for the slip joint pliers in bulk.

The material of construction of a slip joint pliers are different and may vary from different materials like wood, copper, steel, bronze and so on. In fact it is the material of the tongs of the pliers and not the jaws which are made of different materials. The jaws of the slip joint pliers are always made of the same material all over and that material is stainless steel.

While making purchase for a slip joint plier the assortment regarding different forms of slips joint pliers which differ from each other in both material and functions. A slip joint plier can produce twelve out of thirteen models of pliers which can be purchased online as well as from the outlets where professionals dealing with the instruments and tools can guide you very well regarding the purchase of slip joint pliers.

The main criterion which determines the accurate working and functioning of the slip joint pliers depends on the depth of its jaws, the directions in which the fulcrum or pivot can be rotated and how to use them.

Because the handles of slip joint pliers are longer in size than the jaws, for this reason the handles of the can act as levers and these long handles have the ability to increase the force which is being applied to the object. Basically these pliers are meant to gripping and holding of the objects. For this reason the pliers are designed in such a way to provide a good grip to the user of the objects being held. The holding capability of slip joint pliers can be enhanced by coating of rubber or any friction reducing agent.

The pliers also include the cutting features and the sizes of slip joint pliers are decided according to the work which they perform for the user. The history of these pliers dates back to more than 4000 years when it was used in Europe and with the passage of time the structure was modified. In the beginning it was a simple structure with two handles joined at the neck or pivot. The adjustment point of the slip joint pliers is joined in two ways. The jaws are designed in such a way so as to give an opening angle of 45 to 60 degrees in the centre.

types of pliers

Types of Pliers

Types of Pliers and Their Uses

Just about every household tool set on the market includes a pair of pliers. Like many hand tools, the design and function of the different types of pliers hasn’t changed much over the millennium. Way, way, way back in the day, pliers were made of wood. In fact, ancient Greek art depicts the god Hephaestus using pliers in his forge. Apparently even a god can get a boo-boo by grabbing a hunk of superheated metal!

As the centuries rolled by, specialized styles and shapes evolved to meet the unique demands of a task. Think of the old west blacksmith who had to shoe horses all day long and how much the right pair of pliers helped him avoid a swift kick in the behind.

Over the past few decades, advances in metallurgy and ergonomics have led to refinements, but it’s likely our ancestors would instantly recognize and understand the function of a pair of modern pliers. Seems you can’t improve a whole lot on a classic.

So if you find yourself confused about the right style of pliers to use for a project, get a grip on yourself and read this summary of the most common and useful pliers.

Types of Pliers

Slip Joint Pliers

Slip Joint PliersBy far the most common type of pliers and probably the most versatile too. You can use them to pull nails out of walls and boards, grip, yank andturn stubborn objects and even use them as a makeshift wrench for very small nuts and bolts. Though we don’t recommend it, pretty much everyone has use slip joint pliers as a makeshift hammer. “Slip joint” refers to a simple jaw positioning scheme, which allows you to adjust the jaws for a narrow or wider grip by opening the handles wide and slipping the jaw pivot post into a new position. Hard to explain, easy to figure out and pretty darn handy sometimes. There are a few different sizes available, with the 6 inch length by far the most common and suitable for just about everyone.

As with pretty much all types of pliers, the cheapest slip joint pliers have bare metal handles and loosey-goosey pivot joints. Not great but adequate for occasional household use. More expensive models offer heat-treated carbon, nickel or chrome vanadium steel, more comfortable and ergonomic handle designs and tighter joint tolerances.

Groove Joint Pliers

Groove Joint PliersGroove Joint Pliers, A.K.A Tongue and Groove Pliers, have jaws that can be adjusted for a wide range of openings.  Each “groove” represents a slightly wider span between jaws, from touching two or more inches apart. This feature, along with serrated jaw teeth, makes it handy for grabbing, holding and turning lots of different sizes and shapes, from round to hex any pretty much anything in between.  These are popular pliers for plumbers and contractors and can come in pretty handy around the house too.

Here’s a tip: if you want to loosen or tighten a showerhead, faucet or something else with a nice finish that you’d like to avoid scratching, first wrap the showerhead etc. with a rag, and then grip the rag with your groove joint pliers and turn.  If you can’t get enough leverage to loosen it this way, then it’s time to employ a pipe wrench or strap wrench.   Groove joint pliers come in sizes ranging from 8 inches to 18 inches or longer.  The most versatile size that provides enough leverage for most household jobs would be 12 or 14 inch sizes.

Long Nose Pliers

Long Nose PliersLong nose or “needle nose” pliers are suitable for holding smaller objects, these pliers are widely used for electrical, electronic, jewelry and hobby tasks. The long narrow jaws with serrated teeth can fit into confined spaces and hold very small objects. When used for jewelry making, the jaws are often smooth as not to harm the softer metals needed for jewelry making.

Long nose pliers are available in lots of handle lengths, from a mini size 4 or 5 inch handle suitable for jewelry to long handle models with 11 or 12 inch handles that fishermen and women swear by for extracting hooks. They’re great for hobby crafting with a dremel tool too.

Diagonal Pliers

Diagonal PliersProbably the second most useful household pliers, diagonal pliers don’t grip, they cut. Which makes them indispensable for any kind of electrical project as they are great for cutting and stripping wires.  They’re also perfect for snipping cable ties and bicycle brake and shifter cables. They’ll even cut thin sheet metal in a pinch.  Sizes range from 4 inches to 8 inches, with a 6 or 7 inch size being about right for household tasks

Locking Pliers

vice gripsLast but not least are the handy locking pliers.  Locking pliers are designed to clamp firmly onto objects, with a built-in spring loaded locking device that holds the pliers jaws together until you unlock them. This makes them ideal for gripping and turning stubborn pipes and they can be pressed into service as a clamp as well. Clamping force can be adjusted via a thumbscrew which adds to the versatility of these pliers. Sizes range from 4 inches to 12 inches and curved or straight jaw styles are available as well.  A 10 inch size would be a good choice for most tasks.

How to Use a Dremel for DIY Projects

How to Use a Dremel or Rotary Tool Correctly!

dremel toolFew power tools are as versatile as a rotary tool, and for some jobs, a rotary tool is the only practical choice.   Just try and name another tool that can drill, cut, grind, sand, file, buff, debur, carve, engrave and polish.

A rotary tool is pretty darn easy to use, too.

There are three keys to success:

  • Select the right bit, wheel, brush or other attachment for the task
  • Set the correct tool speed
  • Apply the right amount of pressure to the workpiece

Overview

Let’s start with the basics.  I’ve selected a typical Kawasaki Dremel Tool Set that includes a rotary tool and a vast selection of accessories. A kit like this will pretty much answer the needs of every hobbyist and do-it-yourselfer on the planet.

Kawasaki Rotary Tool Set

Let’s look at the rotary tool itself.  First make sure the tool is unplugged now and whenever you change bits, clean, maintain or store your rotary tool.   One of the keys to the versatility of a rotary tool is the variable speed function.   This Kawasaki model has a speed adjustment dial on the back of the tool that allows speed adjustment from about 8,000 RPM to 30,000 RPM.   Adjustment is made by rotating the dial, in this case clockwise for higher speed and counterclockwise for lower speed.

rotory speed dialRotating The Speed Dial to Adjust RPM

Now is probably a good time to don some safety glasses, plug in your rotary tool (without any attachments attached), turn it on and play with the speed control. This is a good way to get an idea of how the tool feels when running at slow, medium and fast speeds.

There is a noticeable difference, as the tool motor exerts a bit of centrifugal force as speeds increase.

Now turn off the tool and unplug it – let’s look at the business end of the tool where bits and accessories are attached.   Note the silver shaft lock button on the side of the tool.
rotary lock button

Rotary Tool Shaft Lock Button

If it weren’t for this button, you’d never be able to load a bit into the tool.   To see why, grab the knurled collar at the end of the shaft and try loosening it by turning it counterclockwise.   You can turn it all day by hand and nothing useful will happen.

Now push and hold that silver button with your thumb and turn the knurled collar counterclockwise again.   The collar will spin freely for part or most of a revolution, then the silver button will depress all the way into the tool body.   At this point the knurled collar will stop spinning uselessly, and you can loosen and/or remove it either by hand or with the mini-wrench included in the kit.

Pushing the Shaft Lock Button

Go ahead and spin the knurled collar off the threaded shaft.   Underneath that collar is another critical part called a collet.  The collet can be pulled straight out of the shaft by hand -go ahead and pull it out and have a look at it.

Rotary Tool Collet Assembly

Note the collet has slits cut into the sides; this allows it to clamp down on the shaft of a bit.   Some rotary tool kits like this one have a few different collets included of varying shaft diameter.

Changing a Dremel Bit

Different bits have different shafts diameters to match these collets. Take a look at the drill bits in the set we’re using – note the shaft size difference between the smallest and largest bit.

Rotary Tool Bits with Various Shaft Diameters

I’ll bet you can guess what to do next – yep, you’ve got match the collet size to the bit shaft size. This is a trial and error process, but not a difficult one.  Once you’ve selected the correct collet size, load it into the tool then screw the knurled collar back into place lightly.

Load the bit into the collet, then push that silver button to lock the collar and tighten the whole assembly down.   Don’t go all he-man when tightening the bit;  the design of the collet assembly is such that it will hold a bit firmly without a lot of torque.

Selecting the Right Bit

Now that we know how to load a bit into the tool, the next task is to figure out which bit to use for a particular task.

The Kawasaki rotary tool kit we’re using here has over 190 bits and attachments, which is a testament to this tool’s versatility.    Let’s start with the most familiar: drill bits.   Why use a rotary tool to drill holes if you have a perfectly good cordless or corded drill?

Rotary Tool Drill Bits

Two good reasons are precision and control. It’s much easier to hold and control a relatively small and lightweight rotary tool versus a heavy full size drill, especially when using a very small diameter drill bit to drill very small holes. If you need to drill the hole in a precise location, again this will be much easier with a small lightweight tool.

When drilling holes, keep the tool speed at a medium setting;  too much speed will make it difficult to control the rate of drilling and may distort or melt plastics. It’s also critical to keep the tool and drill bit aligned with each other and square to the workpiece to avoid breaking a bit with sideways pressure.

Some rotary tool kits have unusual looking bits with odd-shaped sparkly tips. These are diamond-coated engraving bits. As the name suggests, these can be used to engrave or cut hard materials like metal, gemstones, ceramic, glass and plastic. The different shapes can be used for everything from drilling to channeling materials.

Diamond Coated Engraving Bits for Rotary Tools

Up next are grinding stones. These come in a myriad of shapes and sizes.  Two common stone materials are red aluminum oxide and green silicon carbide.   In our Kawasaki rotary tool kit, both the red and green stones are 120 grit, a medium grit useful for general grinding and shaping.

Rotary Tool Grinding Stones

These stones can be used to grind and shape precious metals, gemstones and non-ferrous metals like aluminum and brass.  When grinding, it’s best to keep tool speed on the slower side to help control the amount of material you’re removing.  Here’s another important tip for grinding stones – never use a grinding stone that is cracked or chipped as it can fly apart at high speed and cause property damage or injury.

Many rotary tool kits also come with a selection of brushes. For example, our Kawasaki Rotary Tool Kit includes nylon, stainless steel and brass brushes.

A nylon brush is handy for buffing, polishing and light duty cleaning. The metal wire brushes are much more aggressive and thus useful for removing tarnish and rust from metal surfaces.

Nylon and Wire Brushes for Rotary Tools

Next up are mandrels and the various accessories that are attached to the rotary tool using a mandrel.   The Kawasaki Rotary Tool Kit we are using here includes three types of mandrels:

  • One that looks like a shaft with a wood screw on the end – used for attaching “soft” accessories like cloth polishing wheels
  • One that has a small screw and washer threaded into one end – used to attach “hard” accessories like polishing stones and cutting wheels
  • One that has a rubber drum on it used to attach sandpaper drums