Okay, so this tool of the month isn’t exactly a woodworking tool. It was made for “linemen”, and as such was designed for cutting and twisting wires. But it’s still plenty useful around the shop, but its function is not the reason I picked it for Tool of the Month – its form is.

The instant I picked it up, my hand said “quality!”. Then my eyes agreed. There is just something about the way this tool feels in the hand and appeals to the eye that I find pretty darn satisfying. I find myself picking it up just to handle it and feel the way it sits in my hands. A little silly, I know, but it’s not an accident, someone made it that way and it’s an uncommon thing these days.
I guess I find it to be tool art – uncompromisingly functional, but incredibly appealing in its shape, texture and heft. 
Anyway, here are the details as I know them:
Manufacturer: Kraeuter
Location: USA
Model: 1831-8  8″ Lineman’s Pliers
Year: 1924- ’40’s?

Here are some shots, but I don’t think they will do it justice.

I think the condition of these pliers, after almost 100 years, is a testament to their quality. I also love the art deco grips. Kraeuter called these the “Don’t Slip” pattern and began using it in 1914. Here is the patent on that design.

The “Kraeuter, U.S.A.” on the inside of the grips wasn’t started until 1924, so mine obviously dates from that year or later.

There is something incredibly pleasing, at least to me, about a tool that was created with pride, by a company that cared not only about how a tool performed, but how it felt and looked. It doesn’t seem like there are many tools being made this way anymore – which is sad.

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