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Toolbox essential: the versatile vise-grip

Filed Under: fix-it, Tools

The vise-grip: every toolbox should have a pair. A garage without a pair of vise-grips is like a kitchen without a can opener. Why? They are incredibly strong and versatile, yet compact and inexpensive. I'm amazed at how many sticky situations my vise-grips have helped me out of. For those of you who are not familiar with VGs, they're like a heavy pair of pliers that lock onto whatever small object needs loosening or turning. The grip is incredibly powerful -- it enables even DIY-beginners with weakling muscles to get leverage on things that are stuck tight.

My top use for vice-grips is loosening stubborn screws and nails. If you can get the VGs to lock on at all, you can almost certainly get the job done. Vice-grips can also be used to clamp just about anything: small pieces of wood for sawing, or any object that is being glued, for example. I even use this thing in the garden to unscrew the hose from the sprinkler or from other sections of hose. Want more ideas on vise-grip uses? Click here.

Ahh, vice-grips, is there anything you can't do?

Well, yes, according to this guy. But as far as I'm concerned, there's only one big VG no-no: Don't use them to loosen in-tact screws or bolts because you could cause said screw or bolt to snap in half. You will almost certainly render it unusable. Use the correct tool and save the VG as your last resort for stuck screw extraction. Oh, and one more word of caution: VGs exert an impressive amount of pressure for such a small tool. If you're using it as a clamp, be careful you don't a.) accidentally split the object you're trying to fix (doh!) or b.) leave grip marks on the surface. This applies especially to plastic and wood.


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