CHANNELLOCK Pliers Provide Value, Performance and Reliability
I just returned from a trip to Meadville, PA and a fantastic tour of the ChannelLock Brand manufacturing plants.
To me ChannelLock is an American success story, it is a fifth generation, family owned company with history that is a century and a quarter long of perseverance, innovation and follow though in good times and bad, and in an economy when everyone else was outsourcing their tool manufacturing process.
The company was not always called ChannelLock and started out in 1886 as the Champion Bolt Clipper Company, making Farrier tools, then changed to include the family name Champion-DeArment Tool Company. After the company develop their very popular ChannelLock slip-joint pliers they later changed the name of the company to ChannelLock to protect the ChannelLock brand name.
ChannelLock makes a complete line of pliers and related tools and several things impressed me about their ChannelLock pliers line. First and foremost all of their pliers are made in the U.S.A and the folks behind this product work hard and really focus on developing and manufacturing tools that exceed consumer expectations, ANSI and competitor standards. For 126 years they have been setting standards of quality and innovation in the hand tool world.
The Birth Of An American Made Tool:
From the beginning of a ChannelLock tool, ChanneLock uses premium materials such as C1080 North American steel from Nucor and Eaton steel companies.
During my tour of the facility it was apparent that the die forged manufacturing process that ChannelLock employs is both done hydraulically and pneumatically which allows them more quality control of their manufacturing process.
ChannelLock also employs precision machined knife / anvil cutters for proper tool mating and full body and laser induction heat treatment to achieve a tool hardness of 4oC on the Rockwell scale. [not all tools are at or need this rating]
ChannelLock, Water-Pump, Tongue and Groove or Adjustable Pliers:
I used to call these pliers “water pump pliers” because that is what I used them for as a kid, as I got older and cars started using fuel injection carburetors I used the term “ChannelLock pliers,” what did you call them?
One thing I learned that I was not aware of is that ChannelLock Tongue and Groove pliers have 90 degree that are induction hardened with lasers which allow the tools teeth to be strong enough to be used multi-directional.
ChannelLock believes that this is a better design and that it allows the user to use their pliers upside down which increases functionality. The laser hardening process increases tool teeth strength and grip. Some competitor adjustable pliers will simpl;y slip when placed upside down resulting in a stripping or marring of the material being worked. Because of this laser process and the 90 degree design ChannelLock enjoys a tool return rate of less that 1/4%. That’s impressive.
Another improvement to these pliers is the tools grooves are under cut which ensures a self locking fit. As a result the grooves will not separate or slip during use. The undercutting of the grooves allows the rivit that holds the tool together to function as non-load bearing and as a result the tool actually still works without the rivet in place.
The visit to ChannelLock in Meadville, PA assued me that making a tool in the United states is still possible. Not only a U.S. tool, but a tool that has value, can perform better than industry standards and can provide consistent and reliable performance.
The old saying, “you get what you pay for” rings true here. You can pay less for a tool and replace it two or three times in a lifetime or you can buy a quality tool made here in our country that will last a life time! By the way I still use my grandfathers ChannelLock pliers today… still going strong!