The Channellock Code Blue Tongue & Groove Pliers (430CB) are rugged, durable, and possible most important of all – familiar. These aren’t new tools so much as old tools made even better. And that’s what you want in a good hand tool. People aren’t quite so interested in a whole new way to use a tool, disrupting the comfortable feel they’ve developed over decades of use – they just want something that feels right and lasts a long time. Channellock seems to have delivered just that with its Code Blue line of Pliers.
Editor’s note: We reviewed these pliers and the Channellock Long Nose Pliers (318CB) at the same time. Some editorial and review text is shared between the two reviews.
Channellock Code Blue Tongue & Groove Pliers Features
Channellock wants everyone to know that these pliers are made in America. While they specify the grips as being American-made in Meadville, PA, the Channellock Code Blue website goes through great pains to demonstrate the drop forge process – all of which they claim is part of the hand-tooling process for creating the Code Blue line.
These Channellock Code Blue Tongue & Groove Pliers are made with high-carbon steel (C1080) that targets the design goal of high durability and strength so the tools aren’t brittle or the jaws easily damaged. On top of that, the pliers have a post-process coating that is applied to inhibit rust on the tool.
The teeth on the 10.5″ Tongue & Groove Pliers (430CB) bit solidly into the galvanized gas pipe we were removing to cap off an older, unused residential main feed that was replaced recently. We didn’t have to worry about these pliers slipping, they held on like they were going for the full 8 seconds. Leverage was excellent – which was, to be honest, expected. But what we also liked was how familiar these pliers felt in your hand. The new grips on the Channellock Pliers, which are very different from the expected blue dipped handles, have a Santoprene core with TPR-rubber overmold. TPR is a fancy word for thermoplastic rubber, which is a material that combines the processing capabilities of plastic with the durability and flexibility of rubber. It’s also virtually tear-proof in normal use… or abnormal use for that matter. If you feel the material you’ll instantly get the composite nature of the handles – they are stiff, but grip like there are more of a rubber material – but all without coming across as flimsy. We are fairly convinced they will last as long as the tool. But the best thing about them is that the new grips aren’t “weird” or out of place. They are comfortable and ergonomic – and that’s what we like.
These are excellent new pliers from a brand we’ve come to use regularly. We’re glad to see Channellock release new products and work towards an even better grip system for longer and harder use of their products. This is a step in the right direction and, based on what we’ve seen and been told, is only the beginning of the company’s roll out of new tools and products.