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View Full Version : Cute little vise-grips...cheep.



DICKEYBIRD
09-03-2011, 07:24 PM
How do dey do dat? How can they make these cute little (imitation) vise-grips and sell 'em at Lowe's for $1.98? I was picking up some overpriced screws and saw a display box with hundreds of the little fellers. I just couldn't resist at that price.

They work well and appear to be made well enough to last OK for my use. I bought a handfull to use as welding clamps for small work.

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g227/DBAviation/MiniViseGrip2.jpg

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g227/DBAviation/MiniViseGrip.jpg

Bill Pace
09-03-2011, 07:31 PM
Horror Freight has some too, at about that same price, and also in 6" and 8" - I've had very good results from them. Is amazing how there can be profit in something like that with all the handling that has to go into getting a pair in my hands.

lynnl
09-03-2011, 07:41 PM
I think it's called "dumping."

When I was on Guam I bought a little Olympus camera. Cute little thing with a slide-open lens cover ...not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes. About $130. (This was at a commercial outlet, not military exchange.)

A few months later I was in Japan, and saw the thing was priced about twice that there in Tokyo. Saw similar prices on lots of other stuff I was familiar with.
(Exchange rate was relatively stable during that period.)

aboard_epsilon
09-03-2011, 07:42 PM
They call them mole grips in the UK.

all the best.markj

radkins
09-03-2011, 07:44 PM
Yep Lowes here had a barrel full of the things but they were only a buck each here, I bought a handful of them for use in unknown future projects. One use I have for cheap locking pliers (Vise-Grip type) is to weld a small lug on the top handle and attach the grounding cable from the welder to it so that it becomes a positive locking ground clamp (or Earth clamp to our friends down under). I have found that old Vise-Grips make excellent grounding clamps for welding cables just make SURE the cable is attached to the top so the current is less likely to pass through the spring.

DATo
09-03-2011, 07:57 PM
They can be very useful tools. I use them a lot in place of small C clamps. Really come in handy when you have a production job that requires a lot of repeat C clamping.

Paul Alciatore
09-03-2011, 08:07 PM
Grab them while you can. I still have two pairs of 0.39 cent gas pliers I got about 25 years ago. They work just fine, as well as my $5 pairs.

sasquatch
09-03-2011, 08:14 PM
Old Mr. Peterson would turn over in his grave!!!

I keep saying, telling people tools have "NEVER" been so cheap!!!

Yup, lots are crap,, but for the average homeshop /kitchentool drawer, they,ve never been so cheap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:eek:

gwilson
09-03-2011, 08:36 PM
Is the body welded together where the sheet steel is folded into a circle and threaded? If not,it can open up under locking pressure.

sasquatch
09-03-2011, 08:39 PM
GEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do you want for $1.98?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Geez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha Ha HA!!!:D

JCHannum
09-03-2011, 08:43 PM
What is the point of buying something that is so cheaply made that it does not work?

sasquatch
09-03-2011, 08:57 PM
Because we are slowly becomming a disposable continent!!!

macona
09-03-2011, 09:47 PM
GEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do you want for $1.98?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Geez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha Ha HA!!!:D

Something that does not open up when you least expect it. If they do they are nothing more than a paperweight.

gwilson
09-03-2011, 09:58 PM
Just warning folks,Sasquatch. I'll have to check them out when at Lowes. They can be welded,of course,at home. I have had some many years ago that did spread open from not being welded.

DICKEYBIRD
09-03-2011, 10:22 PM
Is the body welded together where the sheet steel is folded into a circle and threaded? If not,it can open up under locking pressure.Good point George. I just checked and was surprised to see that there is a great looking weld in the spot you asked about!:eek: I'll try to get a good picture of it tomorrow and post it.

Time will tell of course but I don't think these little guys are just paperweights.

radkins
09-03-2011, 11:40 PM
Well I have had mine about a year now and no they are not even close to Vise-Grip in quality, in fact they will distort and the jaws will twist to the side under any real pressure. I can guarantee the first time they are clamped down really tight they will bend, I know I have done it and and I am talking about pressures that would not harm real Vise-Grip pliers at all. Am I saying they are not worth it? No not at all, they are indeed well worth the paltry price and they are handy as a shirt pocket for a lot of things, just use a little common sense and respect their limits. How many times has someone needed to weld close to their Vise-Grip jaws? With these who cares? It's times like that when these things are definitely the tool to have around and there are many uses for them-just think of them more as clamps instead of locking pliers and respect them for what they are.

John Stevenson
09-04-2011, 06:37 AM
GEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do you want for $1.98?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Geez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha Ha HA!!!:D

A ten year guarantee.

PixMan
09-04-2011, 07:47 AM
I guess I hit the jackpot last year when friend of my wife had a yard sale. Her husband had fallen victim to Alzheimer's, she was cleaning out the house of all the junk they'd both collected. He had 6 of the curved jaw (like the one in the photo) and 5 of the long jaw, all 4" and genuine Made-in-USA Vise-Grip from before Irwin bought the company. They were still in the original boxes, so they were made in the days before plastic packaging too.

She priced them at $2 for the lot. I gave her $5 each for 2 of of each style, and she sold the rest at the same price. That was probably the same or more than her husband paid (presumably at wholesale for the quantity he had remaining), but I felt I got a good bargain for a high-quality tool and didn't take advantage of a friend.

sasquatch
09-04-2011, 09:54 AM
Yup, yard and garage sales, there must be a million good original vise grip brand ones still in circulation, i grab all that i find at sales, 99% of the time they are still in good shape.
The bad ones i find are usually ruined from welding.

davidwdyer
09-04-2011, 10:20 AM
Perhaps a little OT, but is "cheep" a kind of tweet?

DICKEYBIRD
09-11-2011, 11:00 AM
As promised, a pic of the weld on the little pliers. I wanted to try a close up pic through the cheap 10x loupe I got at HF anyway.;)

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g227/DBAviation/ViseGripWeld.jpg

I've used the pliers a couple times and so far no sign of any bending or twisting. A file test shows that the jaws aren't made from real soft metal.

madman
09-11-2011, 01:35 PM
Weld it then and be happy.

DICKEYBIRD
09-11-2011, 01:55 PM
Weld it then and be happy.The pic is of the weld that the pliers came with. I'm happy already.:)

Dr Stan
09-11-2011, 04:18 PM
How do dey do dat? How can they make these cute little (imitation) vise-grips and sell 'em at Lowe's for $1.98?

Have you ever considered the prisoner/slave labor that is used in some factories?

danlb
09-11-2011, 04:42 PM
Yeah, there is problem of the prison labor. Nevada state has them working the phones for infomercials. Yes, convicts are taking credit card numbers.

It's really difficult to say if those pliers are made with prison labor. The raw materials are cheap, and an automated plant can stamp them out by the millions. It does not even need to be a really sophisticated plant, considering the simplicity of the pliers.

The reason that The US made pliers sell for twice the price may have something to do with the overhead of million dollar executives and multiple layers of management. How many pliers do you have to sell to pay for one $10,000,000 CEO?

Dan

Bmyers
09-11-2011, 06:39 PM
Yeah, there is problem of the prison labor. Nevada state has them working the phones for infomercials. Yes, convicts are taking credit card numbers.

Dan

Who thought that was a good idea ?

danlb
09-11-2011, 07:05 PM
( re convicts and call centers) I guess it helps pay the bills, but still it is a seriously bad idea.

Dan

garagemark
09-11-2011, 07:56 PM
Who's gonna torque the hell out of a baby set of pliers like these anyway? They aren't for holding 3/8" steel plates together for welding. They're for SMALL work.

I have two or three of the little buggers, and they do a fine job for holding SMALL work.

SMALL.

Mark

radkins
09-11-2011, 08:12 PM
Who's gonna torque the hell out of a baby set of pliers like these anyway? They aren't for holding 3/8" steel plates together for welding. They're for SMALL work.

I have two or three of the little buggers, and they do a fine job for holding SMALL work.

SMALL.

Mark


That's what I was saying earlier, sure you can bend them if you really bear down but why do that? They certainly won't take the force a set of real Vise-Grips will take but so what, the things are only a couple of bucks each! Like I said I bought a bunch of them and they are handy for many tasks, just use them within their limits (which really is not bad anyway).

JRouche
09-11-2011, 09:49 PM
Man!! Its funny reading this forum sometimes. A guy can present just about ANYTHING and the thread will turn all around and the nit-pickers come out of the woodwork.

Nit-pickers are like a bug. Close to the termite. They eat at the core of the structure till its dust..

I personally think DB got a really nice wrench for 2 bucks.. And yeah, I dont use the word cute much in the shop but those lil buggers would qualify.

And due to the size I wouldnt expect to use them like massive vice grips. But sure as chit they will be great for when you need to have some additional finger tip strength.

Id use them for some projects where I needed a mobile tiny vice. Wires, small screws, wood work, even sheetmetal work.. And the list goes on.

That would have been a better direction for the thread I think for the many uses that those lil guys could be used for.

I only say that cause I know most of you guys are out of the box thinkers.

Would have been nice to hear about ALL the uses that you dreamed up for the tiny tool VS the neg posts....

I love it. Heck, at that price Id buy five and be happy...

Thanks for the heads up DB. Im gonna take a drive to Lowes and get some... JR

sasquatch
09-11-2011, 09:58 PM
Just used some today to line up my son's garage door track/rail.

Worked very good. Heck for that price buy 10 pair, a few in the truck or car, a pair in the house/kitchen tool drawer etc etc.

AND,,,,,,,,,,,, How about a pair or three to the kids to use on their bikes, wagons or whatever.

radkins
09-11-2011, 10:29 PM
Worked very good. Heck for that price buy 10 pair,



I'm close to that, I got 8 pairs! :D

radkins
09-11-2011, 10:32 PM
Man!! Its funny reading this forum sometimes. A guy can present just about ANYTHING and the thread will turn all around and the nit-pickers come out of the woodwork.

Nit-pickers are like a bug. Close to the termite. They eat at the core of the structure till its dust..



If you gave everyone here a bag full of money some of them would complain about the quality of the bag! :)

dp
09-12-2011, 01:35 AM
In the 1960's when I worked as an auto mechanic I bought a Snap-On 4" channel plier. No rubberized handles, just steel and chrome. It was my most used tool despite my having over $2000 worth of Snap-On tools. I carried it everywhere I went in my pocket. Nothing from Leatherman comes close. I don't think Snap-On offers it any more but I'd sure like to have one. Even a Chinese version.

Black_Moons
09-12-2011, 07:15 AM
AND,,,,,,,,,,,, How about a pair or three to the kids to use on their bikes, wagons or whatever.

Id rather buy them a $20 set of wrenchs and teach em to actualy remove a bolt/nut with the proper tool, insted of comming back to me asking to remove bolts/nuts after they are completely rounded off.

DougC_582
09-12-2011, 11:43 PM
I buy tools at the cheapo stores, they must be used gently but still have been a huge help when I could not consider buying the "USA-quality" stuff.

Until the nearby one closed, I used to go to Big Lots once a month just to check the tool dept. I found all kinds of oddball stuff in there I couldn't afford to get at Sears.... or even Wal-Mart.....

jhe.1973
09-13-2011, 04:07 AM
Id use them for some projects where I needed a mobile tiny vice. Wires, small screws, wood work, even sheetmetal work.. And the list goes on.

That would have been a better direction for the thread I think for the many uses that those lil guys could be used for.

I only say that cause I know most of you guys are out of the box thinkers.

Would have been nice to hear about ALL the uses that you dreamed up for the tiny tool VS the neg posts....


Hi Everyone,

Sorry that I couldn't get to this sooner. I was out of town & didn't have my photos w/me.

A few years ago I had to take a fuel tank apart for an old motorcycle I am assembling - sort of a restoration.

I bought a bunch of these little vice grip style pliers from HF just for the reassembly:

http://i1096.photobucket.com/albums/g327/jhe-1973/KRTT%20Stuff/Fuel%20Tank/4-26-07%20Tank2a_zps4wn6hz7c.jpg

http://i1096.photobucket.com/albums/g327/jhe-1973/KRTT%20Stuff/Fuel%20Tank/Tank2.jpg

This last shot shows the bottom all welded back in after the repairs were completed on the sheet metal:

http://i1096.photobucket.com/albums/g327/jhe-1973/KRTT%20Stuff/Fuel%20Tank/Tank3.jpg

These little pliers worked perfect because I could only use the machinist style clamps where the seam was fairly straight.

I had to make an oil tank for the same bike from scratch and I used the same pliers for that one also. The curves were even tighter, making any other clamp style out of the question.

I'll show the oil tank in this thread if you guys would like to see results of an even more demanding use for these pliers. However, I can't find any shots of the oil tank w/pliers in place during assembly & now it's painted.

Just let me know if you want to see it here, or I can start another thread.

DICKEYBIRD
09-13-2011, 08:29 AM
Nice job Jim! Yes, I'd definitely like to see more about the tank repair & fabrication process. A seperate thread would be better.

The last motorcycle gas tank repair I did was back in the late 70's. I won $20.00 off a buddy that said I couldn't braze up a crack in a dirtbike tank without blowing it up or using Argon. I took the tank off, drained it, removed the petcock, borrowed a neighbor's new Chevy and ran a rubber hose from the tailpipe into the tank's filler cap opening. After running the car for long enough to fire off the catalytic converter and heat up the tank, I brazed it with an O/A torch. The exhaust gas was inert and purged all the oxygen from the tank. I'd read about it in a magazine and got $20 from the bike owner & $20 from my buddy. Big bucks back in those days!

gwilson
09-13-2011, 09:33 AM
Call it nit picking if you want,but without the little weld,it is just money wasted. Since they DO have the weld,they are a good buy. How many times must I tell you that?

You know,just try to give a little sound advice to some of you guys,and you have to turn it around into negativity towards the advisor. I have had the full size import vise grips that didn't have the weld. They just opened right up at the first decent pressure. O.K.,would you want to intentionally waste $2.00 on a candy bar full of worms? No,I don't think so. This is no different. What if the candy bar that cost $2.00 was on sale for 25 cents,but there were no returns,and the clerk warned you that the bars were full of worms. Would you buy them? Hell no. Same thing.
Take the advice for what it is,a helpful hint,or just shut TFU.

jhe.1973
09-13-2011, 01:57 PM
Here is the thread about the oil tank I made using these little pliers:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=698773&posted=1#post698773

DICKEYBIRD: Thanks for your compliment!

I also heard about the exhaust method in the 70s from someone who's father welded/repaired fuel tanks for the military IIRC. There was even a government spec for how long to run the exhaust for the different volumes involved.

As I understand it, the carbon monoxide isn't inert, it could be said to be too chemically active when it comes to your lungs. CO absorbs oxygen faster than your lungs can & you starve for oxygen even if you get enough air!

This works to our advantage when welding a fuel tank for the above reason.

Black_Moons
09-13-2011, 02:23 PM
Nice job Jim! Yes, I'd definitely like to see more about the tank repair & fabrication process. A seperate thread would be better.

The last motorcycle gas tank repair I did was back in the late 70's. I won $20.00 off a buddy that said I couldn't braze up a crack in a dirtbike tank without blowing it up or using Argon. I took the tank off, drained it, removed the petcock, borrowed a neighbor's new Chevy and ran a rubber hose from the tailpipe into the tank's filler cap opening. After running the car for long enough to fire off the catalytic converter and heat up the tank, I brazed it with an O/A torch. The exhaust gas was inert and purged all the oxygen from the tank. I'd read about it in a magazine and got $20 from the bike owner & $20 from my buddy. Big bucks back in those days!

Nice trick! my method was to wash the tank in laqure thinner. Great solvent at only about $20 a gallon, comes in a METAL can, I presume thats an awsome sign indicating it would dissolve any kinda plastic can they tried :)

After rinsing it out with laqure thinner once and letting it dry a few hours, I could'nt smell the slightest hint of gasoline. Let it dry 12 hours, blew it out with an airhose, let it dry some more, and brazed away.

Not exactly sure exhaust gas is 100% oxygen free btw. Co2 from a $1 CO2 powerlet would be, if you can get it out without it blasting everywhere. Maybe a $30 CO2 tank + $30 CO2 remote hose would be best if you wanna cheaply purge things.

Actualy.. a $1 powerlet would do, you'd just need to make the TINYEST leak in its seal, and drop it into the tank. (To insure it doesnt create so much wind as to blow the CO2 outta the tank and invite more oxygen in)

Or maybe make a leak, drop it into a 3/4" tube with one end shut off, should displace all the O2 in the tube quickly enough, and then you get a very calm breaze out the tube of CO2.

radkins
09-13-2011, 04:38 PM
I also heard about the exhaust method in the 70s from someone who's father welded/reapired fuel tanks for the military IIRC. There was even a government spec for how long to run the exhaust for the different volumes involved.

As I understand it, the carbon monoxide isn't inert, it could be said to be too chemically active when it comes to your lungs. CO absorbs oxygen faster than your lungs can & you starve for oxygen even if you get enough air!

This works to our advantage when welding a fuel tank for the above reason.



Do what you will but that can get you killed! In 1978 while working in mine maintenance I had a co-worker that was killed and about 23 years later there was another fellow seriously burned close by here doing that same stupid trick! After the fatality the mine safety supervisor sent around some accident reports from MSHA (OSHA's mine counter-part) detailing this same type of accident in 8 other cases over a 15 year period. The investigation following the fatality determined that the diesel fuel tank that exploded was due to the exhaust fumes that were supposed to make it safe! Exhaust is NOT a non-flammable gas, it only needs the right mixture of Oxygen from the air and you can create a bomb instead of making the tank safe to weld on. Pardon the blunt language but using exhaust to make a fuel tank safe to weld on is just flat out stupid! While writing this I can still see him trying to put out the flames but when the fire was finally extinguished the only things left of his clothing was his belt and his boots, he lived nearly 24 hours after the accident.

Fellows DON'T DO THIS!!!! This is another one of those brainless "urban legend" type tricks that can get you killed!

Black_Moons
09-13-2011, 04:52 PM
CO is definately NOT inert, and has actualy been used as a fuel gas. CO burns with oxygen to become CO2 (Hence 'sticking your head in the oven' being an outdated sucide method), Also why you get CO from 'incomplete combustion'

radkins makes a very good point.

CO also builds up in the blood and can kill you before you know whats happening.

What are peoples thoughts on my laqure thinner method?
The main idea was dissolve any deposits of gas left over (Slosh the tank around like mad), and rinse them out, as any laqure thinner left over by itself would dry 'clean', And them blow the fumes out with lots of compressed air.. twice.

radkins
09-13-2011, 04:59 PM
Lacquer thinner, dry and purge thoroughly with compressed air THEN purge the tank with CO2 or Nitrogen?

DICKEYBIRD
09-13-2011, 06:09 PM
I can assure you sir that I am not stupid and my story is not an urban legend.

I'm very sorry to hear of your friends' unfortunate accidents.

flutedchamber
09-13-2011, 06:35 PM
Odd you post about these pliers. I just bought two pair a few weeks back a Lowes on a whim.

Last week I had to change the tires on the front of my mower. Six inch rims and four ply tires with necessarily small tire spoons make for quite a battle in both removal and replacement.

So..working alone..I got to thinking how to hold the tire from slipping while I use the two spoons to remove it from the rim. Aha..my offshore vise grips.

I ground the top jaw convex and the bottom jaw concave to match. That way the rim edge wasn't buggered up when I locked them on to hold the tire from slipping around.

It took me 30 minutes to dismount the first tire with no vise grips. It took me 40 additional minutes to mount and dismount the remaining tires with the vise grip holders.

There is a use for such cheap tools. When you wouldn't dare take a grinder to a $20 pair of vise grips or whatever.

radkins
09-13-2011, 07:25 PM
I can assure you sir that I am not stupid and my story is not an urban legend.

I'm very sorry to hear of your friends' unfortunate accidents.



I am not calling anyone names but I will make no apologies for calling that a stupid trick because that's exactly what it is. Even if it has been done in the past successfully sometimes that does not make it a safe thing to do! This old "trick" has been around for years but people have been hurt and even killed doing it. The one I witnessed and the one that occurred locally some years later at a scrap yard where a guy was cutting up an old oil tank is two that I personally know of plus eight from around the country described in those maintenance accident reports, these reports were brought to out attention because of that first accident. It is a very dangerous thing to do and it is not something we should be recommending someone else do. Fellows I am not trying to be a smart @$$ about this but I KNOW what can happen and I am warning that doing this can easily get you killed and don't let anybody tell you it's safe, it most certainly is NOT!

Black_Moons
09-13-2011, 07:39 PM
I am not calling anyone names but I will make no apologies for calling that a stupid trick because that's exactly what it is. Even if it has been done in the past successfully sometimes that does not make it a safe thing to do! This old "trick" has been around for years but people have been hurt and even killed doing it. The one I witnessed and the one that occurred locally some years later at a scrap yard where a guy was cutting up an old oil tank is two that I personally know of plus eight from around the country described in those maintenance accident reports, these reports were brought to out attention because of that first accident. It is a very dangerous thing to do and it is not something we should be recommending someone else do. Fellows I am not trying to be a smart @$$ about this but I KNOW what can happen and I am warning that doing this can easily get you killed and don't let anybody tell you it's safe, it most certainly is NOT!

Agreed, you did'nt call him stupid, you called what he did stupid. I do stupid stuff now and then, Does that make me stupid? No, Just misinformed and/or impaitent.. and maybe cheap. :P

We now know the exhaust trick is a 'bad idea'. Cars do not emit pure CO2, and CO is definately combustable when mixed with the right amount of oxygen, It does not 'combine' with oxygen unless its combusting, So no CO will not purge your tank of oxygen/fuel vapours, but actualy ADDS fuel vapours. CO does combine with oxygen in your *blood*. That does not happen in free air (Without combustion)

If you want a nice source of pure CO2 with no leftover oxygen or CO, you can get them for $1 in quanity 1 at any paintball store, and lots of other stores like crappy tire. Even at bicycle stores (For much more money) as tire refill canisters. (Note some of those tire refill 'air canisters' are propane!! READ THE LABEL!)

Hmmm, heres a random idea: how about fill the tank with an inert *solid*? Like peralite. ($3 for a huge bag of the stuff). Pertty sure it can handle very high tempature (Used in homemade refractory cement iirc?), its basicly rocks turned into popcorn. Highly insulative, very low weight, Very fragile (Could remove any leftover chunks by rattling nuts/bolts in the tank, rinse em out (they float btw), and anything left will get stoped by the fuel filter)

radkins
09-13-2011, 07:50 PM
I guess sometimes I do get a bit out of line on this one but it is a very serious matter for me. I had no intentions of calling anyone names but you're right, after re-reading what I said I have to admit it comes too close to that and I suppose I could have been a bit more tactful about it. If anyone took what I said as a slap at them personally please accept my apology for that but honestly, I just wanted to say in the strongest terms possible that exhaust trick is dangerous and should never be considered.