This review probably sounds more like a medical dissertation than my thoughts on a set of self-locking pliers, but please bear with me; all will be revealed.
Some time ago, I was diagnosed with a horrid condition called Dupuytren''s Contracture. Simply put, the disease causes pea-like nodules to grow under the skin of the palms and fingers. These nodules eventually join up to form cords. The result? Over time, your fingers slowly pull into the centre of your hand. Eventually, the nails dig into the palms, and your hands are permanently making fists that cannot be unmade.
There are treatments for Dupuytren''s; surgery, chemotherapy... they have varying degrees of success. And this is where the set of three self-locking pliers comes in.
Due to other disabilities I don''t get out much, so I have to content myself with engaging in stimulating hobbies. Essentially, I repair and restore things; rusty old toys, old board games, ancient kitchen utensils - pretty much anything which looks as if, with a bit TLC, it could be taken off life support and enjoy an extended and useful life.
But tools are often a big problem for people with dupuytren''s. Gripping hand tools can be a nightmare, to the point where many people just give up. But all is not doom and gloom. If manufacturers invest more in design technology, things can improve. But it isn''t just about improving the efficiency of tools - its about making it easier for people to interface with the tools themselves.
Let me give you an example: As someone with Dupuytren''s, its no good me buying a pair of great-quality pliers if I can''t pick them up or squeeze the grips together without being in pain. Actually, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a great page on its website:(www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/andtools/tooldesign.html) The page discusses the crucial importance of ergonomic tool design for health. There is a specific section on ''''crushing, gripping or cutting tools''''.
Okay; so how do my three pairs of Silverline self-locking pliers measure up? Extremely well, actually. The large grip is straight, and the small grip only has a very slight curvature. My old pliers had very curved handles, and the effect of this was to place more pressure on the Dupuytren''s nodules in the centre of my palms than on those around the periphery. This was painful. But the straight handles of the Silverline pliers avoid this problem for me, because the pressure is spread much more evenly.
Another problem with poor quality pliers is that the grips are often made from badly moulded, hard plastic. Excess flashing from the moulding process can leave sharp points which may dig into the palms and fingers - a minor irritation to some, perhaps, but not if you have Dupuytren''s Contracture. The grips on my Silverline pliers are perfect: firm enough, but also just pliable enough to be very comfortable.
I also liked the fact that the pliers come in a set of three; As an amateur hobbyist with a number of disabilities - one of which causes chronic fatigue - its great when manufacturers make things easy. Having three different tools in one set which cover all eventualities - literally, ''''great and small'''' - makes a difference.
The pliers have an extremely powerful lock - better than any others I''ve had - and require relatively little pressure to engage them into the locking position. They''re simply a good quality product, plain and simple, but for me, they''re so much more. Everyone''s experience of Dupuytren''s is different, and I can only offer my own testiomony, of course. I don''t think I''ve ever waxed lyrical about a set of self-locking pliers in my life, but for my Silverline ones, I''m very happy to make an exception.