11 Brilliant Ways to Use Pliers

Updated: Oct. 20, 2023

Who knew that pliers could do all these things?

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Paint Can Opener Trick
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Handy Paint Can Opener

Every time I bought paint, I got a free paint can opener, but I still could never find one when I needed it. Now, I grab a pair of pliers and open the loop on the handle just enough to slip it around the bail. No more hunting for openers; all my paint cans have one attached. — Ray Alvarez.

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Hands Free Flashlight Pliers Trick
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Hands-Free Light Hack

Make a hands-free light in a snap with a flashlight, a pair of pliers and a rubber band. Place the flashlight in the jaws of the pliers, then wrap a rubber band around the handles. That’s it! Point the light wherever you need it.

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man using Vise-Grips pliers To Pull Nails Pliers Trick
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Vise-Grips to Pull Nails

Vise-Grip pliers make great nail pullers. The tool locks onto the nail, creating a secure hold, and the curve of the head provides excellent leverage. Use a putty knife under the pliers if you plan to salvage the material after removing the nails.

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Gentle Grip Pliers Trick
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Gentle-Grip Pliers

Here’s an oldie with a twist. Use pieces of garden hose or other tubing to soften the jaws of slip-joint or other pliers so you can grip plated surfaces without damage. The twist? Size them so you can slide them up the handles to keep them handy.

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Small Parts Clamp Pliers Trick
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Makeshift Small Parts Clamp

Make a small parts clamp by wrapping a rubber band around the jaws of a needle-nose pliers. The rubber band keeps the jaws clamped together for holding small items. It works especially well for getting nuts into inaccessible spots or for starting small finish nails. — Marvin J. Dirks.

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Double Up On Stubborn Nails Pliers Trick
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Double Up on Stubborn Nails

Nails can be a pain to remove, especially trim nails with small heads and any nail when the head breaks off. The trick is to use two tools together: locking pliers to grab the nail shank, and a pry bar to do the pulling.

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Blade Life Exterder Pliers Trick
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Blade Life Extender

When the blade in your utility knife gets dull, it’s usually only the point and the first 1/4-in. or so that’s bad. You can get additional life from your blade by snapping off the point with a pliers. (Note: Wear safety glasses when you do this.) It won’t cut as well as a fresh blade, but it’s a lot better than the dull one. — Dennis Feldpausch.

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Paint Scraper For Curves Pliers Trick
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Paint Scrapers For Curves

Make a set of paint scrapers for irregular or concave surfaces from different sizes of flat washers. Sharpen one edge of the washers with a file or grinder. Clamp on a locking pliers for a handle. — Art Lipstraw.

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Crack Open Nuts Pliers Trick Gettyimages 139705845 Mledit
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Crack Open Some Nuts

Channellock pliers are a great tool for cracking nuts. The jaws adjust easily so you can crack large walnuts or small hazelnuts.

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using pliers to take apart old paint brush
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A New Use for an Old Paint Brush

After your paint brushes wear out, strip off the metal ferrule with a needle-nose pliers. Use the wood or composite handle for a table saw push stick. Since it’s easy to lose or misplace these handy tools, we figured it would be better to have more of them than less.

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grind small objects safely using pliers
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Grind Small Objects Safely

Hold small objects with locking pliers. This keeps your fingers a safe distance from the grinding wheel and protects them against burns from the hot metal. It also gives you better control over the grinding process.