Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Kobalt Magnum Grip Self-Adjusting Locking Pliers

The holidays are tool season. Local stores put out lots of bits and pieces, gadgets and gewgaws, assortments, kits, collections and all shades of rugged metal and plastic offerings for the handyman.

This Christmas my wife skipped the tool buying and bought me a reflex punching bag so I can take out my aggression without smashing any more of her oh-so-precious Fiesta ware. (Just kidding. I like the Fiesta ware and have smashed very, very little of it over the ten years of our marriage.)

But enough about my excess testosterone: back to tools.

I like good tools. This is no secret. I’m moderately good at carpentry, I can do a sweet mosaic on your floor, and I’m a whiz with a bandsaw. I firmly believe that part of preparedness involves owning good tools and knowing how to use them, so I’ve got a collection of them, both hand-powered and electric.

The problem is, I’m also rather disorganized, plus my kids often borrow my tools for their own strange projects. (This Christmas my nine-year old son took a half a coconut and some wood scraps, glued them to a piece of plywood, nailed about 3,000 nails around the pieces and declared the completed object as a “lego play area,” then gave it as a gift to his four-year-old sibling. My wife took one look at the terrifying assemblage [which was dropping lots of tiny sharp brads onto the floor within moments of being unwrapped] and quickly banished it to the outdoors.)

One of the tools that disappeared from my workshop at some point was my pair of good vise-grips. (It was probably my fault, not the kids’ fault, but one of the reason to have children is so you can blame your own mistakes on them.)

Vise-grips are the bomb. They’re the classic tool you use when you can’t find your pliers, a C-clamp, a ratchet, a wrench or a hammer. They’re also decent for cracking nuts.

I missed my good vise-grips. I have another cheap Chinese pair that are inexplicably painted fluorescent orange. They’re cheap, I hate them, wish they had never been made, and that I never saw them… yet for some reason I still have them.

So – now you know the problem. No good vise-grips.

Last week, I thought I’d found the solution. I was at Lowe’s and saw a display for the new Kobalt Magnum Grip Self-Adjusting Locking Pliers.


They looked sturdy. A lot like a beefier version of the old vise-grips I used to own. And you could get two pair, a big and a little… for $12.98.

I threw them in my cart and kept shopping.

A couple of days ago, I got around to taking them out of their packaging and seeing how well they worked.

My first indication that they were less-than-adequate for gripping was that the little ones popped open on their own, multiple times, after being clenched shut... (read the rest over at The Prepper Project)


At January 23, 2014 at 11:21 AM , Blogger stevo_61 said...

Is there a Harbor Freight near you? I must have one of everything they sell by now.

At January 25, 2014 at 4:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you bought your orange vise grips used, it's probable that they were once owned by a professional mechanic. Some of us paint our tools with bright flourescent colors to discourage our co-workers from "borrowing".

Non-Rabid Anti-Smoker

At January 25, 2014 at 5:01 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Ah-ha. That makes sense.

At January 25, 2014 at 5:02 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Yes. I have to tie myself to the mast and stuff wax in my ears to get past their door.


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