Ok, I know I have far too much time on my hands...
Yesterday I bought a set of six pairs of pliers. Tonight I had them out
and I was looking at them. This applies to three of the six pairs. Ok,
try to follow me here...
1. Open up the pliers and stand them on the ends of the hadles.
2. Look at the top point of the botton triangle.
3. The top section of the two vertical sides are a row of little grooves.
My question is this: Are these things actually meant to do something or
are they just there?
(i can see you all lyao)
yes they are for gripping things. depending on what type of pliers they
are: i have a pair of needle nose pliers right here and looking at
where the grooves are (not in the needle nose area, but under it... i
guess in this place it is for grabbing something small like wire or such
i have never used it for this, but i guess the builder who make these
thought that it was a waisted space and could be used for this.. did not
cost much more to put some grooves here.. kinda like linemans pliers
having a groove on each side of the pliers head... to cut wire with, but
they have that in the middle also... who knows????
For pulling wire, it takes less effort to use the grooved area between the
handles than the business end on the other side of the joint. More pressure
can be exerted because the leverage ratio is higher.
On quality tools, these striations are only applied to wire cutting
type pliers, such as "line-mans" or "fencing" and special needle-nose.
As the cutting part of the linemans is made so maximum force is
nearest to the pivot (naturally), then the furthest point (towards the
end of the open jaws) is least forceful and least controllable. The
area on the opposite side where the striations are and closest to the
pivot but on the handle side, is a very forceful but easily
controllable area of the tool. Even with one hand. You will also
note that this portion does not "close" completely, and in a pinch
(ouch!! it does that too well too...watch out!!) can be used to close
It is used to grab a wire to pull, and allows that both hands can be
put on the tool in sort of "balanced" way, often by gripping the wire
to be pulled and then "rolling" the wire around the pliers and
applying both hands then to pull with some force, say through a
conduit with a 90 degree bend.
Or in the case of the fencing tools, you can grab with the striations
and not crush the wire or its surface coating, then dig in the nose
and tip the tool on the fence post or beam to give pretty good
leverage to pull the wire tight so it can be nailed.
Also, when working with Flameseal wire and wanting to strip a 1/2" or
so of the wire for a termination or joint, when you apply the wire
cutter part to cause a cut in the insulation by gripping and rotating
a certain amount, it is very difficult to pull the insulation off. If
you do the "cut" first, then grab the part to be stripped and squeeze
a couple of times in the striation area, you can then pull or twist
the insulation off much easier. Otherwise you pretty well have to use
a knife and "slice" the insulation off. You can get pretty good with
Lots of good things too, like gripping a small screw or nut. lots of
In the case of genuine linemans' pliers, the grooves South of the pivot were
originally for "serving up" or twisting 2 wires together. The so-called
"Western Union" splice is made by twisting wires together. I think the
grooves on linemans' pliers are sized for telephone standard #9 wire, which
was widely used in open wire line construction. In more recent history,
twisted splices were never made because thay had a way of becomming "noisy".
There is a Nicopress brand tool that has compound leverage for crimping wire
splices with special sleeves.
Wow, thanks guys. :) I can stop losing sleep worrying that I'm missing
out on using an important feature on my pliers, and I picked up some
I didn't know what a Stakon terminal was until I looked it up... Well,
it was one of those things that I knew about, but never knew what it was
Brian Laws> Hey Chem,
PS to grooves in pliers: Long obsolete now, there were long handled,
pliers-like tools, called connectors. They had the pivot at the top and
various sizes of grooves on each side and were reversible to allow use of
both sets of grooves. There was a pair of grooves for each size of line
wire likely to be encountereed, # 9 being the most common. At the end of
the long handles (maybe 18") there was a locking ring that could be slipped
over both handles to maintain pressure. I believe two pairs of these
"connectors" were typically used to hold and twist wires together during
line construction. That is, in the days, before Nicropress crimpers came
into general use.
Ahh, I think I've seen something like this before. I think it's kicking
around in Dad's barn. On a related note: I pick up the tool list from
the school tomorrow and Dad said I can take a look through his tools and
see if there's anything he has that I could use. He's getting to where
he doesn't really use many of his tools anymore. Some of the things he
has, I can't even imagine what they are/were used for.
Bob Sw> PS to grooves in pliers: Long obsolete now, there were long handled,
I happen to have something that I inherited from my father that is
very close to that. It is made by M. Klein and Sons model 132-3.
When it is in one position there are five holes ranging from gripping
a 5/32 wire to one that will grip a 21/64 wire. Flipped the other way
there are four pairs of holes. This way it will grip two wires of the
same size so they can be twisted together. The smallest pair of holes
would grip two 5/32 wires and the largest pair would grip 15/64 inch
wire. The length is about 11 inches.
I have always been under the impression these were used for fencing.
But power line construction makes sense. I just have no idea of why
my father would have power line construction tools.
I have always been under the impression these were used for fencing.
They could have been used for fencing but it is a good guess with the Klein
Name they were used for power or telephone line construction. From the
sizes you give, my guess would be that they were connectors used in
telephone line work - construction or repair. Telephone (repair) linemen
carried connectors before they were phased out by crimp sleeves.
Dan sez: 'They might have been used for telephone lines, but the size of
the holes seems awful large for telephone wires. The smallest hole
doesn't come close to gripping a 12 gauge wire."
BTW, there were some connectors that were made for twisting long
copper-alloy sleeves which had the wires inserted through them and bent over
at the ends. As I understand it these sleeves pre-dated the crimp sleeve.
These may have been more common in power line work. I never saw a pair like
that but I know they existed. As for telephone-type connectors, I know that
they had several sets of gripping holes much larger than the intended line
wire which was usu. #9. The larger holes were for gripping various sized
wire rope messenger cables used for guy wires, etc. AFAIK, guy wires were
never twisted, they were joined by parallel clamps usually or sometimes with
single clamps around both wires.