The Right Tools for the Job

The right tools for the job take on a whole new meaning when you are 30 feet in the air, Strapped to a pole. You better have the right lineman tools with you, period. Yes, there will be ground support. However, catching a screw driver thrown up at you can be difficult. Not to mention time consuming. So, start off right and it moves a lot smoother.

A good pair of 9-inch pliers are standard issue. There is no substitute. A good quality pair of cable shears are necessary to initiate the termination process. You will need a set of needle nose pliers, just like the ones in the kitchen drawer. A medium duty straight screwdriver will come in very handy in most situations. The splicers knife is also a standard issue, piece of equipment. There are many tools that a lineman will find invaluable in the process of attaching cable to a pole. A few more tools are required when terminating or splicing.

“My nines” are the quintessential lineman tools. They are also called “lineman’s pliers”. This tool is used for many tasks and can improvise and adapt easily to a required need. They are equipped with a fulcrum jaw and a cutter near the back. These are used for crimping and smashing. If there is a need for nipping off something, they are good for that also. A rubberized grip over the metal handles help keep them in your hand. The nines are heavy enough to be used as a hammer and are good for tapping things in place. There are too many uses and situations that these pliers have seen to explain here. Just make sure you have a set in your pouch.

Cables shears or “cutters” are the go to for cutting large cable. A 2″ to 3″ set will fit nicely in your pouch. These are necessary for the cable termination process. These make the task easier and much safer than a slicers knife. They are mainly used for telephone and fiber termination. They provide a quick, even and clean cut. Reducing the risk of injury to you.

Needle Nose pliers are handy to have with you. These will grip in places a set of nines will not. Close in work. They come with a set of cutters towards the rear and have a rubberized handle. Mainly for communications cables, they will come in handy for many uses. They’re a tool that you’ll have to have when you need them.

Now a screwdriver is handy everywhere you have one. I have found that a straight blade is the most universal, if space is at a premium. The screwdriver is a small pry bar, a prying base, and a lever. Not too big yet not too small is the key to the right screwdriver. This is a must have in your linemen’s pouch.

The splicer’s knife is, again, the quintessential lineman tool. I have seen splicer’s knives over 50 years old. They are invaluable when terminating/splicing cable of any size. When used properly, it will allow you to penetrate the cable sheath and access the inner wire. These are extremely sharp and must be used with caution, they can remove a finger as quickly as a cable sheath. So be careful

There are many more tools linemen use and should have. The job of a lineman is dangerous and very hard. The main thing is, you are 30 or more feet in the air hanging off a telephone pole. Performing installations or maintenance on, sometimes, live wires. Low voltage or high voltage it’s all dangerous. Good Safety habits are the most important tools a lineman will ever have.

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