11 Innovative Ways to Use Pliers

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Written By Jim J Neal

Who knew that pliers could do all these things?

Paint Can Opener TrickPaint Can Opener TrickFamily Handyman

Handy Paint Can Opener

Every time I bought paint, I got a free paint can opener, but I still could never find one when I needed it. Now, I grab a pair of pliers and open the loop on the handle just enough to slip it around the bail. No more hunting for openers; all my paint cans have one attached. — Ray Alvarez.

Hands Free Flashlight Pliers TrickHands Free Flashlight Pliers TrickFamily Handyman

Hands-Free Light Hack

Make a hands-free light in a snap with a flashlight, a pair of pliers and a rubber band. Place the flashlight in the jaws of the pliers, then wrap a rubber band around the handles. That’s it! Point the light wherever you need it.

man using Vise-Grips pliers To Pull Nails Pliers Trickman using Vise-Grips pliers To Pull Nails Pliers TrickFamily Handyman

Vise-Grips to Pull Nails

Vise-Grip pliers make great nail pullers. The tool locks onto the nail, creating a secure hold, and the curve of the head provides excellent leverage. Use a putty knife under the pliers if you plan to salvage the material after removing the nails.

Gentle Grip Pliers TrickGentle Grip Pliers TrickFamily Handyman

Gentle-Grip Pliers

Here’s an oldie with a twist. Use pieces of garden hose or other tubing to soften the jaws of slip-joint or other pliers so you can grip plated surfaces without damage. The twist? Size them so you can slide them up the handles to keep them handy.

Small Parts Clamp Pliers TrickSmall Parts Clamp Pliers TrickFamily Handyman

Makeshift Small Parts Clamp

Make a small parts clamp by wrapping a rubber band around the jaws of a needle-nose pliers. The rubber band keeps the jaws clamped together for holding small items. It works especially well for getting nuts into inaccessible spots or for starting small finish nails. — Marvin J. Dirks.

Double Up On Stubborn Nails Pliers TrickDouble Up On Stubborn Nails Pliers TrickFamily Handyman

Double Up on Stubborn Nails

Nails can be a pain to remove, especially trim nails with small heads and any nail when the head breaks off. The trick is to use two tools together: locking pliers to grab the nail shank, and a pry bar to do the pulling.

Blade Life Exterder Pliers TrickBlade Life Exterder Pliers TrickFamily Handyman

Blade Life Extender

When the blade in your utility knife gets dull, it’s usually only the point and the first 1/4-in. or so that’s bad. You can get additional life from your blade by snapping off the point with a pliers. (Note: Wear safety glasses when you do this.) It won’t cut as well as a fresh blade, but it’s a lot better than the dull one. — Dennis Feldpausch.

Paint Scraper For Curves Pliers TrickPaint Scraper For Curves Pliers TrickFamily Handyman

Paint Scrapers For Curves

Make a set of paint scrapers for irregular or concave surfaces from different sizes of flat washers. Sharpen one edge of the washers with a file or grinder. Clamp on a locking pliers for a handle. — Art Lipstraw.

Crack Open Nuts Pliers Trick Gettyimages 139705845 MleditCrack Open Nuts Pliers Trick Gettyimages 139705845 MleditFamily Handyman, Getty Images

Crack Open Some Nuts

Channellock pliers are a great tool for cracking nuts. The jaws adjust easily so you can crack large walnuts or small hazelnuts.

using pliers to take apart old paint brushusing pliers to take apart old paint brushFamily Handyman

A New Use for an Old Paint Brush

After your paint brushes wear out, strip off the metal ferrule with a needle-nose pliers. Use the wood or composite handle for a table saw push stick. Since it’s easy to lose or misplace these handy tools, we figured it would be better to have more of them than less.

grind small objects safely using pliersgrind small objects safely using pliersFamily Handyman

Grind Small Objects Safely

Hold small objects with locking pliers. This keeps your fingers a safe distance from the grinding wheel and protects them against burns from the hot metal. It also gives you better control over the grinding process.

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