Tools Designed

by

Alan

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Alan's Notes on Revere Pliers

In 2005 I wrote an article for AJM Magazine instructing readers to remove the soft, bright colored plastic handles off of pliers as well as the springs to increase the functionality. American tool suppliers offer mostly plastic covered plier handles. Both handles and springs limit and minimize the function of the tool. Smooth plastic handles are slippery and require effort to hold onto, not to mention that they are usually in bright distracting unnatural colors. Meanwhile, holding onto bare metal offers more direct contact and therefore better performance of pliers. Just imagine if you wrapped the end of a baseball bat with thick foam and how much control would be lost. As far as the springs, they are great sometimes like for cutters, but never anywhere else. Intended to make life easier, in fact springs just fight against you all the time, increasing your output of energy while greatly reducing your own natural feedback. In reality, handles and springs are added to look flashy and add to the price, while saving the time and effort to finish the metal handles properly.

 

A few years later that article became #63 in Bench Tips for Jewelers:

After reading my piece, the president of the largest tool supplier in America contacted me to ask if I would go to a small factory in the Black Forest of Germany so that I could develop a signature line of top-end professional jewelry pliers for his company to sell. 

 

The small German factory employed 2 workers and a secretary. The factory only made pliers and their products are of the finest steel and craftsmanship. The secretary's job included dipping plier handles in bright colored liquid plastic, which leaves the spongy, ugly, antifuntional covers that I remove. My German was still good enough for us to have a laugh about it.

 

Production relied on 2 very hard working men. Their job was to roll carts with a hundred pairs of pliers around the factory, from machine to machine. Each station was set up for one step in fitting, assembling, riveting, grinding, forming, heating, bending, hardening, tempering, and finishing pliers. It was fascinating to watch as they brought each batch of pliers through the 50 stages in manufacture. 

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At the end of the week, I had designed a set of 4 pliers very much like traditional German pliers except for the handles, which are totally new. We made a special wheel that cuts 17 deep grooves (scallops) on each handle. This was labeled as “The Revere Grip.” The extra tooling increases the surface area and leaves edges to hold onto easily. This improves the gripping ability and therefore the efficiency of these tool significantly. Since then, other manufacturers have copied the handle that I developed. Revere Pliers are available from most jewelry tool suppliers.

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