Roger Bisby tries out a few Knipex grips and laments a life of losing tools.
Having spent a great deal of my working life as a plumber/builder Knipex is a brand I know very well and it seems I’m not alone. When I recently used a pair of inferior slip joint grips in a plumbing demonstration and struggled, the calls from the audience of plumbers put me right. “You should’ve used Knipex ” someone shouted and there was unanimous agreement.
“Yeah Knipex all day long” another said and my face went as red as the handles of the pilers I should’ve used. As much as I knew how good they were it is not often that you hear such a resounding endorsement for a brand and Knipex weren’t buying the drinks. And well they could because Knipex is not a cheap brand but the plumbers and builders I spoke to would rather have two pairs of Knipex than half a dozen pairs of lesser quality pliers. In fact I took that cheap pair and threw them in the recycling bin after that embarrassment because there is something very frustrating and annoying about having a pair of slip joint pliers that do more slipping than joining.
Looking at this sparkly new range of different grips and pump pliers I was surprised by the variety of variations on the theme.There are round jaws for tightening waste fittings (not that you should need them) and more importantly underground water supplies.
Knipex is not a cheap brand but the plumbers and builders I spoke to would rather have two pairs of Knipex than half a dozen pairs of lesser quality pliers
There are also smooth jaw slip joints to prevent damage to chrome nuts and there are replaceable soft jaw pliers for use on chrome shrouds and those gold plated taps that used to be all the rage. The only time I see the gold stuff these days is when I am taking it out but chrome is the new gold and it can be an equally expensive mistake to scratch chrome plating. So no more wrapping the teeth in bike inner tube to try and prevent damage.
As a footnote to this piece I went to a loft I have not been in for 20 years to replace a float valve and there beside the tank was a not so shiny pair of Knipex grips. I had no idea I had been using or losing them for so many years. I could be a rich man if I had not lost so many tools, had so many kids or married a woman who helps me spend more than I earn.