Pliers are a hand tool used to hold objects firmly, possibly developed from tongs used to handle hot metal in Bronze Age Europe. They are also useful for bending and compressing a wide range of materials. Generally, pliers consist of a pair of metal first-class levers joined at a fulcrum positioned closer to one end of the levers, creating short jaws on one side of the fulcrum, and longer handles on the other side.[1] This arrangement creates a mechanical advantage, allowing the force of the hand's grip to be amplified and focused on an object with precision. The jaws can also be used to manipulate objects too small or unwieldy to be manipulated with the fingers.

Slip Joint Pliers
slip joint pliers

The key to the versatility of this tool is the slipjoint that gives the pliers their name. Like most pliers, they are operated by opening and closing the handles, which produces an opening and closing action of the jaws. But slip-joint pliers have the added advantage of an adjustable pivot point, which allows the two parts of the jaws to be shifted with respect to one another. So a pair of slip-joint pliers can be used to grip securely objects ranging in thickness from a single sheet of paper to a half inch or more, depending upon the size of the pliers. Most slip joint pliers have two or three options for positioning the pivot point.

At its mouth, the pliers'jaws are flat and serrated, but they curve at the back of the jaw near the pivot. This curved area, once known as the burner grip because it was originally used for removing the jets from gas lamps, will grip rounded objects like pipes or rods. Many slip-joint pliers also have a wire cutter built into the neck of the pliers, just behind the curved serrations.

Vintage Ford Auto Pliers Slip Joint Model A pliers
with Screwdriver Handle
(Also useful for tongs if you don't have a Model A Ford)

Water Pump Pliers (also called Crescent Pliers)
crescent pliers

This grouping of pliers features several variations on the same theme. Sold in designs known as arc-joint pliers, Channel-Lock Pliers (a proprietary name), and known in conversation simply as pumps (as in, "Hand me those blue-handled pumps, will you, Michael?"), these tools are designed for gripping pipes. The jaws are angled to the length of the handles so that reaching between joists and into awkward spaces is easier. Water-pump pliers are not the sole province of plumbers, as they have a variety of other applications.

These Robo Pliers are among my favorite and most used. They are self-adjusting and spring loaded. While gripping something you can vary the pressure by squeezing the handles. I use them in making one of my styles of bottle openers. I use them to wrap the metal around the stem of the bottle opener giving a nice wound look. I just heat the rod up and use the robo grips to bend the metal around the stem while keeping it tight against the stem. Then I use them to "squish" the windings tight together.

autolock adjustable
Autolock Adjustable Pliers

Electricians/Linesmans Pliers
Linesmans pliers

Sometimes called linesman's pliers or engineer's pliers (the latter variety is often sold without insulated handles), these are very versatile steel tools. Linesman's pliers are descendants of nineteenth-century tools called bell pliers, because they were used by bell hangers for cutting and twisting the wires used to connect un-electrified household bells.

Needle-nose Pliers
needle nose pliers
90° on top, straight on the bottom

These are essentially small-scale electrician's pliers, with long, tapered jaws. Smaller in scale than linesman's pliers, the needle-nose pliers are particularly well suited to working with wire in confined spaces like electrical boxes, though they are also useful for bending and holding metal fittings. Their jaws taper to a point, and at the nose have serrations on the gripping surface. At the throat of the tool near the pivot there is a side cutter.

Fencing Pliers

Fencing pliers are probably more correctly called "fencing tool". They're designed to pull wire staples, hammer in wire staples, cut wire, grab and twist wire. And probably alot more that I haven't covered.

Early Battery Terminal Pliers

Crimping Pliers
crimping pliers
Antique telegraph/telephone crimping pliers
(Anyone think like I did that this would make a great tenon tool?)

Hand operated crimpers are the most frequently used of all crimping tool types. Most are designed in a basic plier pattern with one or a number of crimping points machined into their jaws. This type of tool is typically used to effect smaller crimps on steel cables, electrical connections and terminations, preinsulated lugs and ferrules, and RJ type plugs. The crimp points on hand crimpers are either half round compression or cup and tab crimp type designs. This type of crimper is generally used to crimp steel or copper ferrules or sleeves to join two lengths of steel or electrical cable.

hose crimping tool
Hose cripping tools and parts

Pincher Pliers
staple puller
Great for pulling staples out of wood

Pinchers are a similar tool with a different type of head used for cutting and pulling, rather than squeezing. Tools designed for safely handling hot objects are usually called tongs. Special tools for making crimp connections in electrical and electronic applications are often called "crimping pliers"; each type of connection uses its own dedicated tool.

Locking Pliers
Source: Wikibooks - Down'n'dirty_Blacksmithing

"Vice grips" is the brand name. There are other brands available. While these tools might not be absolutely necessary, they come in very handy, especially until you have developed the skills to make your own tongs. Get at least one pair of heavy locking pliers. They'll serve a number of uses around your forge in various projects.

Curved Jaw Locking Pliers - Curved jaw puts tremendous pressure on four points of any style nut or bolt head; ideal for tightening, clamping, twisting and turning

Large Jaw Locking Pliers - Heavy-duty jaw grips around work of all shapes; ideal for plumbers, mechanics, welders, and others working with large objects

Chain holds and locks around any shape or size. Ideal for awkwardly shaped pieces

Locking Sheet Metal Tools - makes bending, forming, and crimping jobs easier

Locking Welding Clamp - U-shaped jaws provide enhanced visibility and more working space; holds work in proper alignment; for use in welding applications or for holding awkward shapes in place

Locking C-Clamps with Swivel Pads - Wide-opening jaws provide greater versatility in clamping a variety of shapes, swivel pads hold tapered work, awkward fabricating jobs, and delicate projects without damaging the work surface

    Gee Mom, look what else I've found!

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