CHANNELLOCK® pliers and tools can be found in hardware stores, retailers, toolboxes and workshops around the world. But before their tools can get into the hands of professionals and serious DIYers, they have to be forged, shaped, polished and fitted with their famous CHANNELLOCK BLUE® grips.
To begin, every CHANNELLOCK® plier starts as a billet of high-carbon, North American 1080 steel. With thousands of pounds of force, their massive air-powered, computer-controlled die forgers precisely hammer the heated steel into component parts. Excess material is then removed on a trim press.
From the forge, each tool element is precisely ground, drilled, counter-bored, channeled, broached and polished to exact specifications. At almost every step along the way, there are skilled steel craftsmen inspecting every component to ensure each part is tested to ensure exceptional strength. Since steel is an unpredictable material, the process includes precautions to make sure the tools are heated properly because heating steel too much can make it hard and brittle, while not heating it enough causes it to remain relatively "soft" and easily fatigued. The unique heat treating processes used by CHANNELLOCK® ensures a very controlled, uniform tempering that makes the steel strong enough to withstand great force, but flexible enough to resist breakage under load conditions.
The next step is to use proprietary laser hardening techniques that make it possible to achieve the unique characteristics featured in the pliers. The laser hardening allows the jaws and teeth of the pliers to be incredibly durable, while the handles maintain flexibility for excellent control.
After laser hardening, the tongue and groove and slip joint products receive CHANNELLOCK® PermaLock® fasteners, which eliminate the problems associated with traditional nut and bolt fastener failures. Associates check and adjust each fastener to ensure that every plier works smoothly. In the final step in the manufacturing process the tools are cleaned and given a rust-inhibitive coating. Then, it's time for a dip in the large pool of CHANNELLOCK BLUE® coating that forms the famous grips.
Making quality American-made tools is not easy. Each step of the process involves precision and quality checks by American workers who take great pride in what they do. So the next time you reach for a CHANNELLOCK® plier, know that you are holding a tool that was fiercely made in Meadville, Pa. with quality and pride.
To see the process for yourself, take a virtual factory tour!
Communications & Training Manager