Well, my S&G Tool Aid 18900 Professional Ratcheting Terminal Crimper
Amazon arrived after a few delivery issues were resolved.
The tool is hefty. The head is made out of laminations of black steel (5
layers inside 1/2" wide jaws) and appears to be very sturdy. It provides a
very well-defined double crimping "bite" - clearly much better than the
cheapies that come with kits of connectors.
I loaded it up, squeezed away and got the connector stuck in the jaws and
couldn't free it. There's a tiny triangular tab on the ratchet that needs
to be "popped" to release the jaws, but I couldn't reach it (it's between
the handles). Turns out that my hands weren't quite strong enough to close
the jaws tight enough to trigger the automatic ratchet release. The
articulation of the outer handle provides a lot more leverage than the
standard single-pivot point crimpers, but it isn't as much as I had hoped.
After playing with it for a while, I discovered I *could*
handles hard enough to make a good crimp. (Strangely it's not a question of
force, but steady force over time - the mechanism operates best with a slow,
steady squeeze.) The ratchet mechanism make a perfect crimp every time.
Once I got the hang of it, I was able to make good crimps. The handles are
shaped to allow 3/4" pipe to slip perfectly over them when I get to the
point I need even more leverage than I get now. For $20 I am pretty happy.
I can make much better crimps than before because of the dual "bite" of the
laminated crimping jaws. Thanks to Ralph Mowrey who first pointed me to the
ratcheting style of crimper on Ebay. I tend to buy stuff like this on
Amazon because of their rating system. This tool had a high number of
"perfect" marks and the few negatives weren't really deserved.
The fact that you can feel the ratchet lock release once a good crimp has
been made makes it a lot easier to deal with than other crimpers. You don't
end up applying too much force and hurting your hands. The crimper is also
small enough to work in tight spaces, and that's important for the things I
use crimpers for. It makes amazingly strong crimps. I was testing their
strength by trying to pull a wire out of one and the wire broke instead of
Good work folks, and thanks to all that contributed. The only thing I
regret now is how long it took to buy the right darn tool for the job. I
can't believe how many years I put up with those plier-type single pivot
cheapies. I am comtemplating redoing all the crimped connections I have
around the house with the new crimpers since they are that much better than
my old arthritic attempts with the cheap tool.