New thinking, new features, same heavy-duty philosophy
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 12-21-2011
OK, so I’m not still surprised by Milwaukee making hand tools any more. However, the fact that they are applying new thinking to age-old hand tool designs without sacrificing their traditional toughness and quality is a bit different these days regardless of the market. But Milwaukee has been making tough tools for decades so it isn’t as much of a surprise coming from them.
The 6 in 1 Long Nose and 12” Reaming (plumber-style) Pliers in this review are representative of the full Hand Tool line from Milwaukee. They offer variations of some tools including different sizes or styles so you can usually find the best tool for your job.
The Milwaukee Pliers are made from high-quality steel that is forged to insure strength and then precisely machined for accuracy and predictable function. Milwaukee also applies a corrosion-resisting coating that helps keep the Milwaukee Pliers looking like new for a long time.
Both of the Milwaukee Pliers reviewed here have nicely sized and shaped handles covered with a rubber-like material that both cushions the hand and helps resist slipping. The handles are sized to be easily used with bare or gloved hands.
12” Reaming Pliers
Though they look much like the traditional plumber or water pump pliers the Milwaukee Reaming Pliers go a step further with some interesting design features. First, the traditional coarse grooved-type size adjusting is gone and replaced with a fine-toothed system that uses a pushbutton to change the griping range regardless of the handle position. The pushbutton has plenty of throw to make accidentally unlocking the adjustment all but impossible. Making this instant release mechanism stronger is the double-sided handle that allows the opposing handle to pass through it. That additional support adds a bunch of strength and durability to the size-locking system.
The jaw design itself on the Milwaukee Pliers is different in the shape of the serrated jaws. The arch-like shape makes gripping round or oddly shaped pieces much easier and far more secure. Combine this jaw design with the long, leverage-multiplying handles and the grip you can generate is surprising.
The outside edge of the upper jaw has a square-shouldered area that is machined to be used for reaming the inside of pipe up to 2-3/4”-diameter. Though they lack the scraping edge the tip of the handles can be used to smooth away sharp edges in pipe or conduit up to 1”-diameter.
6-in-1 Long Nose Pliers
The edges of the 6-in-1 Long Nose Pliers head are designed to ream the inside edges of pipe from ½” to 1” in diameter. Built in recesses allow stripping of 10 to 14-gauge solid wire and 12-16-gauge stranded wire. Milwaukee uses a laser process to harden the cutting edges that can trim wire, bolts, screws, and nails! They even built in a surprisingly simple loop maker that handles wire up to 10GA! If you’ve ever fought with pliers trying to make a loop that would actually fit around a screw lug you will love this feature. The long nose head is also tapered to let you grasp and pull small nails or those frustrating little cable-holding staples!
In the Shop
Though I work hard at staying away from hand tools in woodworking, I work equally hard at using quality metalworking hand tools. The offerings from Milwaukee Pliers reviewed here easily fall into that category. These are well made tools that are comfortable to the hand even when “using them hard” to cut or grip something tough. The covering on the handles on both the 12” Reaming Pliers and the 6-in-1 Long Nose Pliers provide a secure, slip-free grip in addition to comfort.
The jaws on both pliers easily get a secure bite on metal objects and help you to develop the clenching power necessary to hold, not gouge the surface when mere mortal jaws slip. The shape of the Reaming Pliers affords a very good grip on a huge range of sizes and shapes. The pushbutton jaw adjustment makes it that much easier to get hold of the work in front of you.
The 6-In-1 Pliers certainly does have utility in any shop setting but excels when it comes to electrical work. Being able to cut, strip and make a loop on wires with one tool that does all very well can even make it look like I know what I am doing with wires!
Pliers all too often get little attention other than the general shape and the price. The Milwaukee Reaming and 6-In-1-Pliers show that by adding a surprisingly small amount to the purchase price you can add pliers to your collection that will serve you forever. The 6-In-1 Long Nose Pliers (#48-22-3068) have a street price of $26.39 and the 12” Reaming Pliers $25.99. (12-20-2011)
This is where you should be realizing the futility of saving a few bucks on what should be a forever tool. I know some will continue to head straight for the bargain bin and store managers depend on that kind of fiscally misguided thrift. That just leaves a clear path to the Milwaukee Tool display for the folks who want to get the most for their tool-buck.
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