CTotD: Knipex 64-11-115 Flush-Cutting End Nippers

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What can I say? I use these little guys for basically only one thing: carefully prying frets out of a fingerboard for a refret. That’s it. As a general rule, I dislike tools that do one thing and one thing only, but gosh darn it, it just does it so well! It was a challenge finding a set of nice pliers with actual flush faces – most have a bevel on the flat side to give the cutting edge more durability. Since I’m not using these for cutting anything, only gentle leveraging of fretwire, I would much rather have nippers that are truly flush so I can more-easily squeeze them under the wire. In any case, the jaws are supposedly super hard – tough enough to actually trim newly installed fretwire flush to the side of the neck – but i’ve got a big beater set of end-nippers for that job. I don’t want to risk harming my pretty little baby pliers! Yes, Stew-Mac sells a set for cheaper, but they’re ugly and the fit-and-finish is terrible. And because they’re marketed as super fancy *Luthiers* fret removal pliers, they get away with selling a $5 tool for $31. I think my set cost me $40, and are worth every penny.

Side note for penny-pinching luthiers – don’t go buy a cheap hardware store set of end nippers and try to grind the faces flush yourself. I done been down that road. Trying to grind the faces perfectly flush and flat without heating up the teeny, tiny edges too much so as to lose their temper is almost impossible to do by hand.

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