Here’s what ECPs had to say when asked, “What is your all-time favorite hand tool?”
VERSATILE ‘BIRD-BEAK’ PLIERS
Shelly Ann Seecharan-Rogers resides in Trinidad West Indies. She has been practicing opticianry for over 16 years and is certified by the American Board of Opticianry. She enjoys working at the Mid Centre Mall Chaguanas in Trinidad, and her all-time favorite tool is the Ergo Pro 21/428 Flat/Flat Long Chain Nose Pliers by Hilco.
“These pliers are quite versatile with varying functions in our dispensary. They are primarily used for the adjustment of pad arms, and these bird-beak pliers, as I like to call them, can also adjust the end pieces of metal frames. Just remember to properly pad the area with a microfiber cloth. The Ergo Pro Flat Long Chain Nose Pliers can also be used for screw selection/placement and eyewire adjustments. In my humble opinion all dispensaries must contain this very useful multi-functional tool.”
Zac Benson is newer to our professional world with two months experience. He works at Professional Eyecare in Ord, NE, and the Slim Nose Pad Arm Adjusting Pliers (OSTHF437) from OptiSource International are his favorite.
“I prefer to use this specific tool because of its length and comfort of the handle, whereas some other tools designed to grip are smaller or have a shorter handle. Because of the added length of the handle, I am able to get a stronger grip and feel more comfortable in my adjustments. Although this tool is primarily used for nosepad adjustments, I have also found it to be an excellent bracing tool. The grooved portion on the Slim Nose Pad Arm Adjusting Pliers, where the pad arm assembly would sit in, also fits very well along the hinges of most metal frames, giving me a solid grip on the frame to make any adjustments to the temple required.”
Amy Jones, a licensed optician and owner of Studio Optix-Shell Optical Co. in Suffolk, VA, has over 40 years’ experience in our ophthalmic world. Her must-have hand tool is the Push Base Nosepad Removal Pliers (Model #46050) by Grobet USA.
“While there are many tools that I also consider to be indispensable, this one just makes life so much easier. It seems like I’m constantly changing silicone nosepads. Before this tool was manufactured, it was such a struggle to remove push-in nosepads, totally wrecking the pad arm adjustment. When this tool arrived on the scene, I felt like angels in heaven had designed it just for me. The grooved jaw slides in next to the pad arm and holds it firmly while the other jaw pops the nosepad out. In my opinion, the Push Base Nosepad Removal Pliers are pretty close to sliced bread.”
Diane F. Drake, LDO, ABOM, NCLEM, is an optical consultant and president of Diane F. Drake, Inc., based in Atlanta. She has over 41 years’ experience as a speaker, course preparer, writer, retail manager and trainer. (She’s also a frequent contributor to VCPN.) Her favorite hand tool is the Ergonomic Rimless Compression Mount Pliers by Dynamic Labs, Inc.
“When three-piece compression mounts (aka drilled rimless) first came out, I thought I could just use my hands, fingers and standard pliers as I did for most repairs. I could actually do fairly well, but then I tried and experienced my first task-specific compression-mount pliers and fell in love. Later in life, I developed arthritis in my hands. I have found that Ergonomic Rimless Compression Mount Pliers are much friendlier to my hands because there is less stress, which makes them easier to use. Their primary use for me is mounting rimless lenses that use compression mountings.”
MULTI-TASKING AND PROTECTING
Mackenzie Mencia is a second-year optical student in the opticianry program at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, FL. Her favorite tool is the Half-Padded Ergo Pro Pliers from the student tool set (#214120000) by Hilco.
“I’m excited to have a much better understanding of the tools of my trade and move past my Little Mermaid vocabulary of ‘thingamabobs’ and ‘whatchamacallits.’ It has been my favorite tool to use in class and in the clinic because it is very versatile and protects the finish when we adjust frames. I can use the half-padded pliers to change temple angle, shape eyewires and set the nylon cord in the groove of a semi-rimless frame. I have also used the Half-Padded Ergo Pro Pliers to compress spread barrels on a loose temple and hinge. I am comfortable using this tool because I can make adjustments without damaging the frame’s finish, even in tight areas.”
MULTI-TASKING IN TIGHT SPOTS
Justin Hoatson, ABO, NCLE, has over 19 years’ experience in optical. He works at EyeCare Specialties, P.C. in Lincoln, NE. His number one tool choice is the Curved Long Nose Chain Pliers (Part #2039V) by Western Optical Supply, Inc.
“When I first started in the optical industry we all had our favorites but often used just two or three tools for multiple purposes. This is the one I happened to use for adjusting different types of nosepad brackets, because there are so many different types, and not all are easily adjusted with the standard nosepad pliers. I also use it for temple adjustments and rethreading nylon strings on semi-rimless mounts, removing and inserting the upper figure-eight liner, doing miscellaneous repairs and soldering frames. The Curved Long Nose Chain Pliers are also great for repairing jewelry!”
Jackie O’Keefe, LDO, is a writer, speaker, course preparer and consultant in the Tidewater area of Virginia.