Combination pliers are specially designed to serve all wire cutting needs. They combine gripping jaws with wire cutters. They look the same as scissors, with two levers joined at the pivot point. When the handles are squeezed together, it amplifies the pressure exerted and the force between the jaws is greater than the user’s input pressure. This allows the tool to grip much tighter than you could with just your hand. Also known as lineman pliers or side cutters, they are typically used for gripping, compressing, bending, twisting, extracting and cutting various materials.
Combination pliers are made up of the following parts:
Lineman pliers usually have plastic coated handles to offer a better grip and more comfort. Pliers which are meant for use by electrical workers come with insulated handles for protection. The size and length of the handles mostly depends on the size of the pliers and its intended use.
Combination pliers have flat edges with squared tips. This works well enough for general gripping purposes. Sometimes, the pliers have serrated jaws to provide friction while gripping. The jaws open and close with the handles, same as a scissor.
The cutters are found near the pivot point, giving them the maximum leverage. They are built into the jaws of the tool, and are meant for cutting cables and wire.
- Pivot point
The two handles of the pliers meet at a hinge called as the pivot point. It allows the handles to be opened and closed, which in turn, allow the jaws to open and close to perform gripping or cutting jobs.
- Pipe grip
The pipe grip refers to a rounded, serrated cut-out in the jaws. It is primarily used for holding rounded materials, like pipes and cables. Not all pliers have a pipe grip.
Additionally, combination pliers may also have some bonus features. They make the tool more versatile, and each feature is meant to serve certain specific purpose. The added features include:
A few pliers may have thumb stops on the handles to avoid slipping. They help to prevent a user’s hand from slipping down the handle while performing a job. Thumb stops are most useful in pliers with insulated handles as it prevents the user’s hands from touching any metal parts that could conduct electricity.
Handle return spring
Certain pliers come with a spring between the handles. This is to make sure that when the pressure is released, the handles return to an open position. It makes single-handed use of the pliers easier as the handles don’t have to be opened manually. The spring may be hidden or visible, depending on the design.
High leverage combination pliers are available in the market which provides an extra amount of leverage for the same amount of effort. The pivot point on these pliers is positioned closer to the cutters. Such a design extends the length of handles and the cutters’ output force is increased. Thus, more pressure is exerted compared to a standard size of pliers.
Pliers sometimes come with an added button to lock the jaws shut. This protects the surface of the jaws and the cutting blade when they are not being used.
Most pliers in the market can remove pins or staples easily, but removing wooden nails can be a tough task. A specialist pair of pliers is needed for such jobs. A few number of lineman pliers come with a nail puller grip, specifically designed to remove nails.
Combination pliers with insulated handles are designed to protect against electricity. They can be used near live electricity, and is sometimes called the electrician’s pliers. All types of insulated pliers must be marked as VDE, and always be accompanied with the maximum voltage that they can be used with.
Pliers may sometimes have an added feature like wire strippers. These small, rounded cutters are used to cut the plastic insulation around a wire so it can be removed without damaging the wire.
Pliers can sometimes be used to cut small screws or bolts. Such a tool will have a special place where bolts, up to a certain size, can be inserted to cut them.
Some of the pliers have a crimper on the handle side of their pivot point. It is mainly used for jointing electrical wiring.