Evolutionary improvements are ongoing, there are more multitask tools, and
several companies best known in the
industry for other products have added
hand tools to their offerings (e.g., Milwaukee and Southwire, see sidebar, page 102).
“Today’s hand-tool consumers are
looking for products that deliver new,
innovative ways to accomplish tasks
more quickly and efficiently,” said Char-
lotte Gooding, senior merchant, hand
tools for The Home Depot. “Core tools
(e.g., screwdrivers, pliers, etc.) stay true
to their user-application requirements,
but they reinvent themselves over time
with the addition of new features that
promote better ergonomics, quality
enhancements and increased function.”
Gooding said hand-tool users look for
brands they know and tools they trust.
“A professional with a toolbox full
of national brand tools has a relation-
ship with the brand and expectations
for products that carry its name,” she
said. “The right brand, combined with
tools that perform, and meaningful
innovations definitely provides an edge
over hand-toolmakers that have not kept
their products fresh [and] current.”
Ryan DeArment, vice president
of sales and marketing, Channellock,
said that time is money in today’s
“Anything that can be done to aid
the professional user in getting the
job done quickly and reliably is key,”
For example, Channellock introduced a new line of American-made
screwdrivers for professionals last year.
The tools have four-sided, high-torque
acetate handles, which provide more
torque compared to standard, six-sided
handles. The four-sided handles are
impact-resistant, strong, and durable,
and according to DeArment, they have
exceptional solvent resistance.
“Channellock tools are designed to
fit both the job and the technician,” he
said. “The E Series line of pliers features
several sizes of cutting, long nose and
combination linemen’s pliers. Slimmer,
sleeker design reaches into tighter spaces
and our improved high-leverage design
required 40 percent less force to make
clean, accurate cuts compared to other
Channellock invented the tongue-and-groove pliers in 1933, DeArment said,
and it’s been a preferred tool ever since.
Other milestones include the patented
conical surface on the cam side of pliers
when undercut in 1965, and the patent
for the PermaLock fastener was added
to the tongue-and-groove and slip-joint
pliers in 1984.
“We don’t change tools just to make a
change,” he said. “When we change something, we make sure it’s a needed change
that will make tool users’ jobs easier.”
Nathan Buckert, product development
manager, Ideal Industries, said: “Many
additions and changes to hand tools in
recent years are focused on working faster
and more efficiently. Tool features can be
added to an existing tool, which can take
the place of an entirely other tool.
THE LIST OF HAND TOOLS that are essential to electricians has mostly remained
unchanged over the years. Cable cutters and strippers, linemen’s pliers, screwdrivers, crimpers, and other basic tools always are on belts or in pouches or toolboxes.
Many of these tools look much like they did 20 years ago. However, since toolmakers continually improve their products, it’s fair to say today’s models are superior
in many ways.
COOLTOOLS BY JEFF GRIFFIN
Milwaukee 6-in- 1 combination pliers
Southwire Tools offers a
variety of hand tools.