Tool: M. Klein & Sons Lineman’s Plier No. 201-8NE
Klein-Kurve Wire Stripper I was in my shop cleaning up and clearing out some tools I haven’t used in a while when I came across my old, and I mean really old, Klein side cutters. This pair of M Klein & Sons lineman’s pliers I inherited decades ago.
This Klein tool was made in the USA and is stamped: M. Klein & Sons, Chicago. U.S.A. on the one side and the other is simply stamped 201-8NE. (NE for New England nose) This is a weighty pair of lineman’s pliers with a very solid feel. They are head-heavy. The ‘checkering’ on the gripping jaws is superior. There is minimal side-play to the pivot. Though ‘retired’, this is a magnificent tool that I’ve used 100’s of times and still keep handy in a drawer of ‘pliers’ for use in my shop.
I keep a pair of Channel Lock lineman’s pliers in my red toolbox that I use regularly. I keep a short list of tools I’d like to own, when I come up with the money. On the top of the list is a new pair of lineman’s. Writing this article, I found the pair I’m leaning toward: The Klein Tools D213-9NE 9-Inch High Leverage Side Cutting Plier for my next duty pliers. (The Klein 2000 series is markedly tougher, good for cutting hardened fasteners and only a few bucks more for the Klein D2000-9NE .)
The Channel Lock pliers in the photo below I bought in 1990 while building concrete forms and tying rebar for seismic upgrades on the West Coast. Those Channel Lock’s are the Ironworker style and after 20 years they’re still going strong.
I gave these pliers 5-stars simply because, despite their age, they are just as usable today as the day they were manufactured. Sure they could use some (modern) insulation on the handles but I’m pretty sure these were made before plastic and I’m not going to hold that against them today. I mentioned the excellent and long-lasting checkering on the jaws, the lack of any noticeable play to the pivot and the solid feel. They can be very slippery when wet.
Did I mention I’ve used these as a hammer?
You can find little info on the history of Klein Tools on their website: KleinTools.com.
You can find excellent prices on new Klein Tools on Amazon.com.