Sheet metal benders and brakes are generally the most efficient method for making longer bends at the ends of sheet metal panels. At the very least, they are the fastest; no one will argue that with you. However, there are some situations in which the utility of a bender or a brake will be eclipsed by smaller, more humble tools like sheet metal pliers.
While benders and brakes are efficient, quick and precise, sheet metal pliers go with you where they can’t and deliver the finest degree of precision of all. Where brakes and large benders sometimes cannot join you on the roof, pliers will ride in your pocket. Additionally, sheet metal pliers are ideal for making very small, precise bends in sheet metal; some locking pliers will also provide you with a better grip as you work the material.
While there are other tools that enable you to make or start a series of seams or bends rather quickly, a quality pair of pliers will often finish the job, making tight folds and seams where larger tools are ineffective at best. In addition, there are a variety of angled pliers with jaws of varying width and orientation so you can make just the alteration you desire. If you can envision it, there’s probably a type of plier designed to do it.
Moreover, there are a number of things to consider when assessing the practical value of a given pair of sheet metal pliers, including but in no way limited to the following:
● No two pairs of pliers are likely to be the same. Many pliers have jaw widths and angles, as well as handles that are either angled to straight. It is the type of bend or seam that you intend to create that will render the pliers in question useful.
● Some pliers lock into place, which makes it easier to create very tightly closed bends and seams. This also makes them useful for bending, forming and crimping alloy steel and other sheet metal panels.
● Many pliers intended for working with sheet metal have coated handles which both increases comfort and improves traction.
● Some pliers are specially designed for producing certain types of joints and bends. For example, there are pliers specifically designed to produce lap joints and seams, respectively.
● There are special types of tongs that look like pliers that are useful for installing the sheet metal panels in addition to forming them. For example, Stubai produces vice grip pliers that are ideal for temporarily holding a panel of sheet metal in place.
● Forged construction is superior for strength and durability; some pliers are also coated to give them a measure of resistance to the elements.
Looking to learn more? Tired of hearing the details and just looking for a place where you can get top quality sheet metal pliers that will last for many years, if not a lifetime? You can accomplish both goals with a visit to John Stortz & Son at Stortz.com.
With a collection of pliers from top brands like Freund, Steadman, Stubai and Everhard, along with representatives from their own line, Stortz.com has everything the sheet metal roofer could ask for and then some. When it comes to quality, Stortz wrote the book. Their philosophy is “buy it once.”