David Frane

Last week the FedEx guy showed up with an unexpected delivery: new Vise-Grip 8-inch Max Leverage Diagonal Cutting Pliers from Irwin and a locked technician’s case. There was no combination for the cable lock; I was supposed to open the case using the diagonal cutting pliers, which use compound cutting action to reduce the force required for cutting. The pliers cut through the steel lock cable with no more effort than it takes to cut a 14-gauge copper ground wire with regular wire cutters.

I was impressed—until I tried to cut the same steel cable with regular diagonal cutting pliers and realized that the cable was not so tough. So I decided to try something harder and test the Irwin tool against other 8- and 7-inch cutters I had in the shop, none of which were compound cutters. First I cut 16d galvanized finish nails. The 8-inch...

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