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Locking Pliers

Locking pliers are an essential hand tool for those working in applications where heavy-duty gripping is required, like clamping pipes, or twisting stubborn objects. Locking pliers are also commonly known as mole grips or vise-grip pliers and can be purchased in a wide variety of configurations, shapes and sizes, dependant on the application they are required for.

How do locking pliers work?

One side of the plier handle includes a bolt that is used to adjust the spacing on the jaws. This helps ensure that there is a secure fit around the object that is being gripped and that there isn't a risk of slipping off the object, especially when a large amount of torque or pressure is being applied.

On the other side of the plier, there is a lever that allows you to push the two handles together to apply pressure and securely grip the object, which normally functions with a locking mechanism and guarded lever to ensure security and safety for the user and the object being gripped. These two handles also double up to unlock the jaws when the task has been completed.

Types of Locking Pliers

There are many different variations of mole grips available, each of them having a distinct benefit for the applications they can be used in. Below are some of the most common types of mole grips:

  • Needle-nose or long nose - these are a precision locking plier that can be used for applications where hands may be too big, like bending or clamping small electronics wires
  • Straight jaw - these pliers have flat jaws and are ideal for gripping flat objects like sheets of metal or wood
  • Curved jaw - they can hold objects that are round like cabling, bolts, and fasteners or fixings securely
  • Long reach - ideal for use in applications where objects are difficult to reach in enclosed areas or with limited access

When would you use locking pliers?

Locking pliers or mole grips can be used across a wide variety of applications. Traditionally they are used to clamp, grip or twist parts of metal during the welding process, however because of their heavy-duty nature and ability to grip so securely with minimal effort, they have proven to be popular across a variety of maintenance and repair applications where a nut or bolt has been damaged or rounded, or even pulling nails out of object.

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