M. Klein & Sons Lineman’s Plier No. 201-8NE

Tool: M. Klein & Sons Lineman’s Plier No. 201-8NE

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Shortly after I reviewed the 2011 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.


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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.

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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.

I look forward to owning the Klein Tools D213-9NE Side Cutting Plier or the Klein 201-7CST Ironworker’s Work Pliers


8 thoughts on “M. Klein & Sons Lineman’s Plier No. 201-8NE”

  1. Why would you want to buy new pliers when you have an excellent pair already? Klein sells replacement rubber handles and you can also buy a liquid rubber that you dip your tool handles in multiple times until it’s as thick as you want it. When I use it I first use a wire brush on a bench grinder or Dremmel and then clean it with lacquer thinner. This makes it stick really well, it seems to hold up just fine. I also have a really old pair of Klein Linesman pliers but the blue handles are still in pretty good shape and they are made from super good steel. I use them many times every week You could use a wire brush on yours and put new handles on and maybe clean up the cutters with a file and they would be good to go. I’m always careful not to use mine on a live circuit only because I don’t want to take a big chunk out of them. I keep a cheap pair of Channel Lock linesman pliers for when I’m not 100 % sure. If I zap the Channel Locks it’s no big deal.

    1. Hey, Thanks for the comment. I use the channel-lock pair for work. I tried some plastic dip stuff once, not sure what it was called, something like plasti-dip… but it kinda crumbled off. Definitely not thick. I didn’t go to the measures you described so maybe I’ll try that.

      I didn’t think about using this big old pair for work. They’re in my workshop and I just use them as cutters.
      I’m sure you can guess how many tools I’ve fried. Seems like every time I buy a new pair of needle nose pliers I burn a hole in them. I don’t know if I have a single pair without a hole in them. Last week I fried a screwdriver in a metal box under a kitchen sink. After turning off every kitchen outlet I learned the disposal shared a guest bath circuit (the one day I took my Klein voltage tester out, which I religiously keep in my glove box, to check something in my own house and left it at home – Maybe why I like two of everything.) I’m lucky to have mostly burned cheap Husky tools… and have spared the Klein’s thus far.

      BTW: I’ve owned those Channel-Locks in the photo since 1990 when I did a lot of form building, making them my luckiest cutters~! I’d like to retire them… but I still use them. Ironically, I used them today, Feb 20th, to cut a cabinet knob/screw off after my client practically burned a hole through her door trying to remove a frozen screw. Since it was loose I just walked in, cut the screw and told her next time to drill a hole in the screw head until it popped off instead of whatever they did to burn the cabinet door so badly. It’s weird the extent people go to for the simplest of things.

      The same client had me change a light bulb because she couldn’t figure out how to get the exterior lamp open. (The top, missing any fasteners, simply lifted straight up and off.)

  2. I have the exact pair of lineman pliers, 201-8NE that I got from my grandfather many years ago. I am a union electrician, 51 years of age, and decided to leave these at home for safe-keeping. I’ll use my newer, less expensive, lineman pliers on the job. I am glad to see that they are noticed as something valuable to someone other than me. I wonder if they have reached a marketable value as of yet? I know that there are many examples of “they don’t make them like they use to”, and this is surely one of them. I know that from my occupation and personal experience.
    Thank you so much!!

  3. I found a old M. KLEIN & SONS, Chicago. USA.
    KLEIN TOOLS stamped on pivot
    est. 1857, with a lineman on a pole,
    Trad Mark REG. with looks like “O-K-FK stamped inside handle, ~8.5” long. excelent condition, great tool.

  4. pre-1972 Klein used a three letter date using this method

    M K L E I N C O R P
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

    EXAMPLE : 1-12 = JAN, 1912

    1. Mine were made in 1953. I submitted pictures.. and then I read they want them if I win. Can I part with this pair? ….well, I guess I could for $2500 cash + $2500 in new tools. Thank you.

  5. I just bought a pair of the Klein 201-8NE at a flea market for $12. Couldn’t believe it! I’m not sure on the going rate for these, but as a life long electrician and Klein tool enthusiast, this pair of pliers will be cherished! Thanks for the great info.

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