Irwin Fast Release Curved Jaw Locking Pliers

Get a grip on your work with these souped up Vise-Grip locking pliers


Irwin Fast Release Curved Jaw Locking Pliers

There are at least a couple of dozen different types of pliers on the market, a testament to how useful these tools are. One of the most practical style are 'Locking pliers', and by far, the most well-known are the Irwin 'Vise-Grip' pliers. While widely used as a generic term to refer to any kind of locking pliers, 'Vise-Grip' is still a protected trademark that refers solely to the Irwin brand of locking pliers.
These pliers enable you to firmly grip any metal object that fits between its jaws, without having to maintain a constant tension on the tool handles. In a sense then, they provide a clamping function. And, because of the high level of torque you can apply, they are ideal for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts, and for crimping wire.
Locking pliers have two handles. A fixed handle with a jaw on one end, and an adjustment screw on the other end; and a pivoting handle that is attached to a movable lever and is pinned to a separate jaw. The free end of the lever rests on the adjustment screw in the fixed handle. The jaw on the pivoting handle is connected to the fixed handle with a spring. Might sound a bit convoluted, but these pliers are quick and easy to use. First, you adjust the jaws so that they fit slightly smaller than the object you'll be grasping. Then place the jaws over the object and squeeze the handles. You might need to adjust the jaws to get a perfect grip on the object; just spread the handles, and turn the adjustment screw slightly to increase or decrease the jaw clamping capacity.

Comfortable non-slip grips
Curved jaws with serrated teeth and flat ground at the tip
Irwin's new Fast Release line of locking pliers supplements, rather than replaces, the original Vise-Grip locking pliers, which have been the standard locking pliers since Moses crossed the Red Sea. According to Irwin these newly re-designed pliers have a "self-energizing lower jaw that delivers three times more gripping power than traditional locking pliers, with absolutely no slipping or stripping." Essentially, the lower jaw pivots forward slightly as the handles are squeezed, applying extra clamping pressure.

One-handed trigger-less release
Hex key adjusting screw in handle
These new pliers are made of high-grade heat-treated alloy steel, so they'll put up with a lot of heavy duty use, and withstand tarnishing and rusting. About 1/4" of the tip of each jaw is ground flat so that you can grip even small objects with ease. The curved design of the jaws, along with the serrated teeth that line the face of each jaw, provide a superior grip, particularly on round objects. A thick non-slip rubber grip covers both handles, making the pliers more comfortable to use (though the grip on the pivoting handle could be a tad longer).

Serrated teeth give good grip on round objects
The flat tip at the end of the jaws makes it easy to grasp small objects
The adjustment screw is large and easy to grip, enabling you to turn it quickly. Turning the adjustment screw by hand enabled me to adjust the jaws so that I could apply all the clamping pressure I needed. On these new pliers there is no release lever, you simply push against the movable lever to release pressure. I found it worked very well, no matter how tight the jaws were locked into place. However, you can insert a 3/16" hex key into the end of the fixed arm to increase or decrease jaw pressure.
These pliers are also available in 5" and 7" models, and with integrated wire cutters. An excellent, well-built tool at a very reasonable price.


  • Made of high-grade heat-treated alloy steel
  • Hardened teeth
  • One-handed trigger-less release
  • Hex key adjusting screw in handle
  • Non-slip grip
  • 1-7/8" jaw capacity
  • Lifetime guarantee

Available From:Tool and equipment suppliers nation wide
Retail Price:$19.00
Model #:10CR
Made In:China
Carl Duguay, February 2011
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!