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What are Combination Pliers?

By Phil Shepley
Updated May 17, 2024
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A typical set of pliers are designed with two handles that are hinged together and connected to a toothed jaw that is used for gripping objects. Combination pliers have these characteristics, but are also created with one or more additional built-in tools that can be utilized for a wider variety of purposes. There are also other kinds of pliers that have been built for one specific duty, but can be considered to be combination pliers because they are adjustable. Combination pliers are used in many trades, and can be a necessary tool for home builders, jewelers and everyone in between.

Combination slip joint pliers can be found in many different shapes, sizes and materials. The end of these combination pliers consist of a toothed jaw which is coarser closer to the hinge. The coarse teeth have a better ability of grabbing and rotating objects like pipes, pins and rods. It can be particularly difficult for the set of pliers to grip round objects such as these, so combination pliers are often built from extra hard metals, such as carbon steel alloys, to help prevent wear and tear of the teeth while helping them to grasp sometimes slippery objects.

An example of a common element of combination pliers are wire cutters, which are built into many pairs for added utility, and are usually located next to the jaw. They are also often made with insulated rubber grips on the handles to prevent slipping. The insulation may help to protect the user when cutting and crimping wires, even though it is never safe to use tools on live wires. The elements of the pliers for doing the crimping and cutting are often located next to the hinge on the handle side of the tool, opposite the jaw, but combination pliers can be designed in many differing configurations.

Snap ring combination pliers are specifically made to attach and remove snap rings, which are circular metal fasteners of varying sizes with two adjacent holes made for putting them on and taking them off. These pliers come with several removable attachments that are made for different sizes and styles of snap rings. Their removal or attachment can be at several different angles, depending on their use, and the pliers are made to be adjustable for as many combinations of size and angle as possible.

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Discussion Comments
By julies — On Jun 16, 2011

When I signed up for a bead making glass at a local hobby and craft store, I purchased a 3 in 1 jewelry maker's tool when I bought my supplies. This one tool works as round nose pliers, regular pliers and wire cutters. It makes it easy to have one tool for several different jobs.

This tool will cut the beading wire, curl and bend the wire to insert into the crimp beads. It takes up less space in my kit to only have one tool instead of three separate ones, and I can make most anything I want with this handy tool.

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