CHANNELLOCK Innovations Stretch Across Generations

More in:
  • channellock-all-trades-tongue-groove-pliers-440-c3_1000
  • Transcript

    Tom Kraeutler: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit’s Top Products Podcast. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    Leslie Segrete: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Tom Kraeutler: At the 2018 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are checking out the latest in everything home and home improvement. Everything that you would find in a home center or hardware store is here, in Las Vegas, along with the manufacturers behind a lot of very fine products. And one name that I’ve know since I was able to hold a tool was CHANNELLOCK.

    Leslie Segrete: Oh, seriously. I mean, it’s been around forever.

    Tom Kraeutler: And I’m pretty sure I have my dad’s CHANNELLOCKs still in my toolbox, because they never wear out. And that’s not by accident. That’s because of the good work of the folks behind the CHANNELLOCK brand. With us to talk about that is Ryan DeArment. He’s CHANNELLOCK’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Welcome, Ryan.

    Ryan DeArment:           Hey Tom, thanks for having me.

    Tom Kraeutler: I think my dad used to call them water pump pliers. Is that what they call them still?

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, water pump pliers is one of the terms we use for tongue and groove small pliers. It comes from the old automotive industry. The water pump in an old automobile used to leak a lot, so the tool was actually designed to go in there.

    Tom Kraeutler: Oh, so that’s the history of that name. That’s interesting. Well, that’s great, so what are you guys bringing out this year?

    Ryan DeArment:           Well, this year we’ve got a new forged wire stripper, it’s the 968. It’s forged from a 1080 high carbon steel, US steel, that has all the key sets from 10 to 16 gauge wire. It’s got an extended wire shear for your larger Romex cables on an XLT joint, which is a offset smaller rivet which gives you a higher leverage so the ease of cut’s there.

    Leslie Segrete: Oh, that’s smart.

    Ryan DeArment:           It makes it a lot easier to cut some of those heavier gauges.

    Tom Kraeutler: And the wire strippers is a tool that, you know, there’s so many different wire strippers out there, and 99% of them are hard to use and dangerous.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, most wire strippers are just a piece of sheet metal that’s been stamped out and worked.

    Tom Kraeutler: Right, and folded with a very weak hinge that sometimes flops, right?

    Leslie Segrete: Right, and you have to very precisely grip that wire, turn it around, and then slide off the coating, which if you squeeze too much it’s gone, it’s done. You’re like, “Oh, it was so close.”

    Tom Kraeutler: Or you end up just taking a few strands of the copper with it, which is not good.

    Leslie Segrete: Right, totally, which doesn’t work.

    Ryan DeArment:           Or nicking the solid copper wire too.

    Tom Kraeutler: Exactly, yeah. So this is a beautiful tool. I’m holding it in my hands, and it does feel like needle nose pliers, I would say.

    Leslie Segrete: It looks very much like it.

    Tom Kraeutler: With a very handsome grip, easy to hold, and you can tell that the quality of the steel is great. And when I close it, I can clearly see the different size wire, and I’d be very confident that, as long as I know I’m dealing with number 12 wire, that I’m not going to pull too much or too little when I need that insulation.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, it’s a great new tool.

    Tom Kraeutler: Yeah, that’s great. What else you got?

    Ryan DeArment:           Hitting the market later this year will be a line of Channellock insulated tools, so these are 1000 volt rated.

    Leslie Segrete: Oh, wow.

    Ryan DeArment:           They’re 100% tested.

    Tom Kraeutler: I don’t want to be near 1000 volts.

    Leslie Segrete: No, but electricians are. I mean, on a daily basis.

    Tom Kraeutler: If I had to be, I guess I’d be glad to have this tool in my hands.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, it’s one of those things, if I’m working on electricity, I shut the whole house down.

    Tom Kraeutler: Right, exactly.

    Ryan DeArment:           I don’t mess with the circuit breaker because mine’s not really labeled.

    Leslie Segrete: No. Projects that you can die at, you know, you got to leave those to the pros or really take every precaution.

    Ryan DeArment:           Exactly.

    Tom Kraeutler: Here’s a question. I mean, pretty much every tool today has some sort of insulated handle. How do you tell if the insulated handle is really rated to be working with live electricity like that? I notice yours has an interesting marking system on it, but I guess that’s not industry-wide.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, the double triangle symbol you see there is kind of an industry symbol for insulated tools, and the misnomer is that usually the dip grip style tool, that’s not insulated. That’s not any kind of rating protection for anyone.

    Tom Kraeutler: When you say the dip grip-

    Leslie Segrete: That’s just a grip protection.

    Ryan DeArment:           The traditional [PVC 00:03:18]-

    Tom Kraeutler: [crosstalk 00:03:19] vinyl coating.

    Ryan DeArment:           Vinyl coated.

    Tom Kraeutler: Right, okay.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, those are not insulated, and a lot of people think they are.

    Tom Kraeutler: Yeah. Well, and also your hand, you’re working on a hot day like today, you’re going to perspire. You want to be very careful, because even that liquid could bridge the gap.

    Ryan DeArment:           Right, and that’s why these insulated ones have a much broader shoulder across the top of the grip.

    Tom Kraeutler: So you can’t slip off.

    Ryan DeArment:           So you don’t slip up above. Your finger doesn’t touch the metal while you’re working, or the arc is kind of stopped from jumping from the steel to your hand.

    Tom Kraeutler: Yeah. We always admire the fact that no matter what the tool, there’s always a way to make it better. I think this is a great example of that. These finger stops, as you say, no matter how much perspiration’s going on, you can really grip this tool and you’re not going to slide forward and contact the metal.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah. We like to think … you know, our innovation comes with the way we make the tools. We don’t market innovation, so we don’t [inaudible 00:04:03]. What we do is we laser heat treat our cutting edges so that they last longer. We use a higher grade steel. We forge. It’s all about efficiencies and getting that value to the consumer. That’s what our innovation is, and that’s really hard to market and sell in a retail location.

    Leslie Segrete: Right, and especially people have your tools for a lifetime.

    Ryan DeArment:           Exactly.

    Tom Kraeutler: They’re not wearing out.

    Leslie Segrete: Yeah, they’re not wearing out.

    Tom Kraeutler: Yeah, you’re not going to sell two of something to somebody because these tools don’t wear out.

    Ryan DeArment:           Right.

    Tom Kraeutler: They’re not under the normal circumstances.

    Ryan DeArment:           The normal homeowner, a good pair of pliers will last generations.

    Tom Kraeutler: Or even a pro. You know, I don’t see it happening. Like I said, I got a pair of CHANNELLOCKs in my box now that are probably, I don’t know, 70 years old.

    Leslie Segrete: I mean, I truly have my dad’s diagonal cutters, and they’re the blue handle CHANNELLOCK. Now this is a side snip. It’s a diagonal cutter, correct?

    Ryan DeArment:           Right, that’s actually a new center cut.

    Leslie Segrete: I mean, this is interesting. If you’re looking at the head on it, it’s like two sides to cut from. It looks completely different.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, so what that’s for is when you’re cutting some of the heavier metals like a 16 penny nail, a lot of cutting edges, that cutting edge will chip. It will meld or bend around the material, where this has a lot more structure behind that cutting edge, so it will cut that heavier, harder material without deforming.

    Tom Kraeutler: What about sheet metals snips?

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, we have launched a USA manufactured brand of snips. They’re really high quality. They’re forged heads. They’re tool steel pinned hinges.

    Tom Kraeutler: I noticed this one has an offset head.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah.

    Tom Kraeutler: Because when you cut sheet metal, if anyone’s that’s ever cut sheet metal or flashing, after you get to the length of the blade-

    Leslie Segrete: You kind of keep shifting over.

    Tom Kraeutler: You have to keep the metal away from your hand because it kind of rubs over the top of your hand and it scrapes you or cuts you. With that offset head, that makes it a lot easier to stay away from the cut edge.

    Ryan DeArment:           Exactly. We’ve got straight, we’ve got offset. We even have the bolted upright style, which if you’re cutting overhead, like cutting a hole for a vent-

    Tom Kraeutler: Almost like a 90 degree?

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah.

    Tom Kraeutler: Yeah.

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, so they’re actually serrated jaws, so that when you’re cutting it grips the material pretty well. It doesn’t slide out, really great high quality American made stuff.

    Leslie Segrete: So you have an offset left. Is there an offset right? Like you can truly get that customized. That’s amazing with the tin snip.

    Ryan DeArment:           That has to deal more with where the material’s being deflected as you cut it, so you’re not cutting … the material’s being forced into your hand.

    Tom Kraeutler: We’re talking to Ryan DeArment. He’s CHANNELLOCK’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and Ryan, I know that you guys are now supporting the Young Retailer of the Year awards here at NHS, helping to make sure that we have retailers that are continuing to grow in this business.

    Ryan DeArment:           Absolutely. Yeah, we attended the ceremony Monday night. It was a great opportunity to really get an idea of what these young retailers are facing. A lot of these independent hardware stores are run by family businesses and as the kids are taking over, you have to recognize the ones that are really accomplishing some great new ideas and working on things that are changing the industry, because whether it’s the trades or manufacturing or retail, kids today aren’t running to these channels, so we need people to fill with that massive amount of generation that’s retiring. If we want to have hardware stores in our small towns and a knowledgeable staff, we have to have the people to step up and-

    Tom Kraeutler: Take those positions.

    Ryan DeArment:           Take those positions, exactly.

    Tom Kraeutler: Before we let you go, I also want to recognize your work with Homes for Our Troops, an amazing charity building homes for our veterans that need them. You guys have stepped up and are supporting that organization. Have you worked on some projects?

    Ryan DeArment:           Yeah, we finished a landscaping project out in Menifee, California a few weeks ago. It truly is amazing to see what this group does. I mean, they build a home from scratch. They don’t find a home for a veteran. They pick a veteran. They find out where they want to live. They go find land, they build a house from scratch that is completely designed around what their needs are, because a lot of them are amputees. There’s severely wounded veterans from post-911 conflicts, and they’re just talking with these veterans about the removal of that stress of not being able to have to climb stairs or not being able to cross your child’s bedroom to tuck them in at night and things like that, to have the wider doorjambs in the bathrooms built so that they can remove that barrier that they have in their lives and move on. It’s really an amazing culture.

    Tom Kraeutler: Thank you for your service to our veterans. Ryan DeArment, CHANNELLOCK’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, great work on behalf of the industry and also on behalf of all the home improvers out there that are relying on your tools for decades. Thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Ryan DeArment:           Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

    Leslie Segrete: Thanks, Ryan.

    Ryan DeArment:           Thank you.

    Tom Kraeutler: If you’d like to check out CHANNELLOCK’s latest products, head on over to That’s


Leave a Reply