How to Use Lineman's Pliers

What You'll Need
Lineman's pliers
Soldering gun and solder
Acetylene torch and fuel
Footwear with non-conducting soles
Safety glasses

Although they are called lineman's pliers, these powerful pliers that can grip, crimp, pull and cut are an essential tool for any handyman or woman. Their solid riveted construction includes ridged nose pieces for gripping, a double-bladed cutter just above the joint, and long, insulated handles for maximum gripping power. Follow these guidelines to use versatile lineman's pliers for many tasks.

To Prepare Electrical Wires for a Circuit

Crack the wire sheathing with the lineman's pliers. Grip the section where you want to cut the wires in the nose of the pliers, and bend it firmly at a right angle until it splits. Slip the wire down to the craw of the pliers, between the cutting edges. Using two hands if needed, squeeze the two cutting edges together to cut through the wires. Release the wire, and turning the lineman's pliers at a 45-degree angle, slice down the end of the wires to strip them completely of sheathing. Use the pliers to wind the bare wires together onto another set, prepared the same way, to form a closed circuit.

Use the gripper nose of the pliers again to crimp the wires tightly together. Solder the ends cleanly to make a solid connection that can conduct electricity. When cutting live wires, always wear safety footwear with non-conducting soles as well as safety glasses.

To Bend and Straighten Wire, Cable and Sheet Metal

Lineman's pliers are very handy for creating 90-degree bends in wire and cable, or to remove bends from both wire and sheet metal. To prevent scratches and ripples in sheet metal when bending or flattening it, place a soft cloth around the piece of sheet metal before grasping it with the pliers. Stretch a piece of wire over the square nose of the pliers to make precise 90-degree angles.

To Cut Other Metal Objects

The great strength of lineman's pliers means you can use them to cut screws and nails to a more suitable length. The cutting craw of lineman's pliers will hold and cut threaded screws sized as large as number 10, and can cut through most nails and plain drywall screws. Most screws will still function effectively after being cut with lineman's pliers.

To Pull and Extract Nails and Screws

You can grip the broken or bent head of a nail or screw and extract it out of wood or drywall with lineman's pliers. Grasp the visible top of a screw and turn it in the opposite direction used to insert it to get it out of the wall or floor surface.

To Clean and Smooth Rough Metal Edges

Use the flat end of the nose of lineman's pliers to fold down and flatten sharp metal edges anywhere.

To Remove Bends from Soft Metals

Use lineman's pliers to remove bends and warps from brass or lead. Heat the metal with an acetylene torch, then cover it with an asbestos cloth and apply pressure with the pliers to straighten warped and bent edges.