Pliers are a useful tool capable of trimming or clutching objects with relative ease. Their tasks include wire cutting, gripping and bending. As many kinds of pliers exist, any combination of the above skills may be included in a pair of pliers.
History - Although the exact date is unknown, pliers were originally invented in Europe. Pliers were initially created for use with metal works that required extreme temperatures. Using these tools to grip hot objects made blacksmith and metal working much simpler. Although holding objects was the first use of pliers, their invention opened the door for other uses including cutting and bending.
Mechanics - Pliers are made with metal and have one of two types of joints: slip-joint or solid-joint. Slip-joint pliers are made to adjust to the object being held by the tool. Opening the tool and pushing one side upward or downward may adapt the size to suit the object you desire to move. Solid-joint pliers have a solid pin or rivet joint that prevents the tool from being adjusted for size. All types of pliers fall into one of these joint categories.
Usage - Bending, gripping and cutting are the most common functions of a pair of pliers. Depending on the type of pliers, its function may vary between one or all of these tasks. Pliers are similar to a wrench in their gripping function, and some types are only able to grip objects without the ability to cut. Others are able to snip items such as wire or sheet metal, without gripping. As all pliers function differently, using the correct type for a project is important to its efficiency.
Types - There are many kinds of pliers for use in a variety of different ways. Side-cutting pliers primarily use their beveled noses to cut objects and wire, though they may be used for gripping as well. Long-nose pliers are long and thin--efficient when attempting to reach areas out of immediate grasp. Diagonal pliers are used exclusively for cutting objects and wire. Smaller types of pliers, such as needle nose, are used for jewelry making and crafting.
Safety - Different kinds of pliers have a variety of different uses, thus making one pair not necessarily suitable for everything. Using the correct pair of pliers for the appropriate task will diminish chances of harm. As pliers are often used for cutting stiff materials, wearing safety goggles may limit exposure to these particles, thus reducing risk of injury. Additionally, sharpening tools regularly may reduce strain on the blade and produce an easier and cleaner cut.