I was recently given a pair of Klein’s J207-8RC Journeymen Pliers to try out during the rough-in stage of six townhouses. As a big fan of Klein Tools in general, I was happy to see a new development in hand tools. After opening the package I noticed the long nose pliers were much lighter than my linesman’s, and that they had some new features, which included wire strippers. I like the idea of wire strippers being part of a set of pliers so I couldn’t wait to test them out.
I usually use the Klein NMD-90 cable strippers to cut the jacket of NM wire, but I decided to use my utility knife this round instead since the new tool has several options for wire stripping but nothing for the jacket. I will say that the stripping section took some getting used to because the cutting happens in the middle of the tool, rather than to one side, so it’s difficult to see where you’re stripping. After roughing in a few boxes I was able to get the hang of locating the cutters where I wanted them, and I will say that they worked very nicely at stripping.
The tip of the tool is designed as a needle nose, which was helpful when removing staples without fear of pinching the outer jacket. But I found myself wishing that the end was more like lineman’s pliers rather than needle nose so that I could twist wires as well. I don’t typically use needle nose pliers to loop the ends of wire, so I’m a bit biased in saying that I didn’t like them for that purpose. I like to use the hole in my wire strippers to create the perfect size loop, which I’ve gotten efficient at doing.
During a service call one day I had the opportunity to use the bolt cutter option on a HID ballast replacement. With the tool being lighter and smaller, it cut the 8/32 screws with ease and left the thread intact, a feature that is worth its weight in gold.
The tool also has a crimper built-in, which I didn’t get to use but I know it will come in handy.
Overall, I liked these pliers a lot. I think they are a great replacement for my long nose pliers, but for me I don’t see this pair completing all the functions of linesman’s or NM strippers. I do feel it’s a great option to keep in my pouch, though.
A similar pair of pliers is also available: the J206-8R, which has spring-loaded jaws, and no crimper.
Stephen Ristau is the owner of Auselect Electrical Contractors, LLC, a full-service residential and commercial contractor in upstate New York.