Welcome to our latest series, Tony's Toolbox Tuesday
Each week we will peek into one of the many tools Tony has on hand for diagnostics, inspections, and repairs. We will cover what we like, dislike, how we use it, where we got it, and other noteworthy information. Unless specifically stated otherwise, all these tools have been paid for out of pocket. We have no sponsors, paid advertisers, or donors at this time. Tony just loves tools and carries several that people tend to ask "Where did you get that? I've never seen something like it".
To kick off the series, we are going to take a look at a pair of locking pliers with a palm saving twist.
I know what you're thinking.... "But Tony... we have all seen locking pliers for decades".
You're right. We have all probably held a pair like these, clamp down on a bolt, nut, pipe, or whatever trying to just get a good enough bite to hold it in place, or break loose something rusted and rounded.
Then comes that dreaded moment you squeeze the Palm Pincher Paddle 3000 just to have it wildly spring open, jaw clamping arm flying off the adjustment screw, possibly pinching your palm or finger in the process. How many remember those days? Raise your hand if you ever had them locked so tight you went hunting for a sacrificial screwdriver or another set of pliers to hit the paddle knowing it was going to bite. I see you back there in the corner.
Another version out there removes the paddle lever all together, but the unclamp jump was just as, if not more so, violent.
With that stroll down memory lane, allow me to introduce you to the latest in locking plier technology and ergonomics.
Now you're probably saying "Tony... you just talked about this feature. They just removed the palm pincher paddle 3000."
On the contrary... let's take a closer look.
The blue button allows you to use your pointer finger to release the jaws clamping pressure.
Instead of the handles flying wildly open out of your hand, you squeeze the grip more to release once the blue button is triggered. From this angle you can see how the button locks into that L-shaped groove to lock the handle straight, or release as shown in the photo.
It makes removal and re-clamping a one handed operation. There is little to no "spring" release causing it to try and fly out of your grip. The unclamping is very smooth and controlled. The pliers are not trying to fight your grip, so your fingers remain locked comfortably onto the handles the whole time.
As far as I know, and from the customers and fellow technicians who have asked and tried to find, Kobalt from Lowe's seems to be the only locking plier set out there like this.
Sold only as a set at the time of this writing, you also get the long "needle nose" style, but smaller in size than the round nosed plier.
Both also have a hole and bolt head shape to the adjustment screw. This allows you to use a screwdriver or wrench to give an extra twist on the clamp in case you need a touch more torque.
The only con for me is the cost. If you figure the traditional locking plier set pictured in the opening, they are about $5 a piece ($15 for 3).
This new style set is almost $25 for 2. Over twice the price per plier.
Also this set appears to be the only offering in style and size. I wish they had a smaller "round jaw" style, and larger "needle nose" style.
These have been a life saver on awning tube and slide topper spring tension unwinding/winding and many other tasks.
Stop by the tool aisle at Lowe's to check out a set yourself. Everyone who has seen me use them in action has wanted more info, and a few have bought a set themselves.
None of these are "affiliate links", nor do I have "promo codes" to save whatever. Just my honest opinion and review on a tool I use a lot, and links to places I order from over the years with no issues or complaints.
If you have comments or questions, or perhaps a tool you would like me to review that you may have seen in one of our photos of jobs we did, comment below, send us a message on Facebook, or smash the "Contact" tab above, and we will be happy to oblige.
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Have a wonderful day and God bless!