Chris' Tool Obsession: Channellocks

Quick note: we weren't compensated in anyway for this post, but if anyone wants to send us free stuff, I'm not going to send it back ;)

Channellocks are like Kleenex and Coke - brand names that became genericized because they successfully dominated a market niche. Most people know the company for their eponymous tongue and groove plumber's pliers. But the company makes many other pliers with their patented blue handles. And, because I'm obsessed with quality tools (especially those still made in the USA), I have a pretty decent collection of them

440 and 460 - tongue and groove pliers (the two on the right)

These are the classic tongue and groove pliers that is every plumber's best friend. They come in a variety of sizes, but these are the two I have. I've used them as a hammer, a prybar, and even as pliers once in a while. If you're doing plumbing, you'll need at least one of these, two is better so you can grip both sides of whatever it is you're tightening.

GL10 and GL12 - offset head tongue and groove pliers (the two on the left)

This is the kind of purchase that just confirms the title of this post. These pliers have an offset head to increase leverage and accessibility in certain instances. How often have I needed these? Probably not $20 worth of times, but it's nice knowing they're there waiting for me just in case.

528 and 5410 - slip joint plier (the two on the left)

These are the pliers I grew up thinking of when I thought of pliers. Simple design, lots of utility. Integral wire cutter and two size adjustable pliers for most of your holding needs. A must for every toolbox and you can't go wrong with high carbon c1080 steel and a permalock fastener which won't let the two handles ever separate.

338 and 447 - cutting pliers

I do a lot of electrical work so these might be my most often used Channellocks. The straight cutters are great for cutting romex, especially inside electrical boxes where my wire strippers can't fit. They're also strong enough to trim cut screws or finish nails. The 447 curved jaw pliers may be my favorite of the Channellock line up. Small and versatile while still powerful. They do most of what the 338s do, but are also great for pulling nails. Grab the nail with the tip and the curved jaw acts as a lever. You never know when you'll need to pull nails out of an electrical box in a confined space or remove nails from an old piece of wood.

326, 386, 738 - long nose pliers

Needle nose pliers, curved needle nose pliers, and long reach pliers. I use the 326s all the time and keep them in my electrical box, but the others are more esoteric. The kind of tools that I don't use much, but am happy I have them those times I need them.

88 - rescue tool (the black handle on the right)

A friend bought this one for me. It means business. I keep it in the truck because it's a versatile tool and is perfect to have around just in case. Pliers, prybar, wire cutters, and heavy duty enough to use to bang things around if necessary.

Channellock makes what I consider the consummate hand tool. Fairly priced (compared to snap-on or comparable quality hand tools), excellent quality, heavy duty, basic tools. To me, hand tools aren't about the frills or niceties you sometimes get with great power tools. They're about performing a basic function in a basic way, over and over again without worry. Some tools I baby, these I could throw off a roof and they'd continue to work just fine.


Bunny @ 86n It said...

My dad gave me three channellocks pliers and I LOVE THEM. Seriously the best hand tools I owe. I constantly have to steal them back from Marc!

aptpupil said...

Sounds like you guys have good taste in hand tools. :)