Adjustable pliers

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Adjustable pliers

Adjustable pliers are a large family of pliers equipped with profiled adjustable jaws. These tools are designed for gripping pipes, bolts, nuts, flat parts and the like. They are commonly used in plumbing work as well as mechanical work.

Construction of adjustable pliers

Adjustable pliers are lever-type pliers and consist of relatively long handles and shaped, strong jaws, the opening of which can be varied within a fairly large range. On both jaws a variable serration is produced. The jaw profile is designed in such a way that the pliers can securely grip round pipes and nuts as well as hexagonal bolt heads and flat workpieces such as thick sheet steel. Adjustable pliers have sliding or toggle joints and different types of jaw adjustment. In the case of adjustable pliers with a sliding joint, two basic versions can be distinguished: with (1) a toothed bolt lock (so-called bolt mechanism) and (2) a ratchet mechanism (ratchet lock). With both mechanisms, a serrated oblong hole is made in the insertion arm of the pliers, and mechanisms are mounted in the slip-on arm to lock the jaw positions. In the pin mechanism, the jaws are locked/unlocked by means of an easy-to-use button which is retracted to the default locking position by a spring-loaded plate. With the ratchet mechanism, however, the button is only used to unlock the jaws. The ratcheting mechanism allows one of the jaws to be moved smoothly into the workpiece being gripped, e.g. a pipe. There are also slip joint pliers with patented mechanisms for quick adjustment of the jaw width in a more or less modified design. KNIPEX Alligator® and Bahco ERGO® pliers are examples of such tools.

A very important variation in pliers construction is the combination pliers with a patented jaw opening mechanism. The jaws are smooth and parallel throughout. This is what distinguishes the combination pliers from standard combination pliers and their work character is more reminiscent of a spanner. The pliers wrench can apply a very high pressure to the jaws. They have a lever ratio of 10 times. Therefore, gripping large and heavy objects is no problem at all.

There are two basic versions of the pliers: steel handles and plastic handles (PVC, 2-component, VDE-insulated handles). The pliers are made from chrome vanadium steel by drop forging, heat treating and machining. Their serrated jaws are induction hardened to a maximum of 61 HRC. The tools are usually coated with oxidized (blackened) or chrome plated and are available in a wide range of sizes from mini pliers with a length of 100 to large pliers for hydraulic work with a length of 560 mm.

Types of adjustable pliers

Adjustable pliers are mainly classified into slip-on and toggle-type.

Main characteristics of adjustable pliers

The technical parameters which characterize adjustable pliers are: overall length (mm), maximum jaw width (mm), maximum diameter of gripped pipes and round nuts (mm), maximum size of hexagonal bolt or nut heads (mm) and weight (g).

Applications for adjustable pliers

Adjustable pliers are used for operating water and heating installations (CO), in mechanical and even electrical work and in various types of service: household appliances, vehicles and machines. They are manufactured by e.g. Bahco, Beta, Facom, Gedore, Hazet, Knipex, Proxxon, NWS, Snap-on, Stanley, Stahlwille, Wiha etc.