rare tools are required by every specialized trade in the world. Fire sprinkler fitters are no exception. We typically use a large variety of tools over the time of a single work day. The average office employee would be quite shocked to see exactly how many tools we carry on our work trucks. We use strength tools, hand tools, and makeshift tools. Improper use of some of our strength tools can critically hurt or kill a worker.
The most used tool for a pipe fitter is the shared pipe wrench. Steel pipe wrenches were the earliest form of wrenches obtainable. Pipe fitter’s world-wide rejoiced when the manufacturers finally crafted them out of aluminum. The new aluminum wrenches are much lighter in weight. They are easier to carry all day long and a worker expels less energy by doing so. However, they are more expensive and prone to cracking.
If a new worker abuses a set of aluminum wrenches, the construction foreman will usually make him or her carry steel wrenches for a few weeks. After carrying steel wrenches for two weeks straight, a new apprentice will be very thankful to switch back to the aluminum ones again. He will never again abuse them. If longevity is a concern, then buy steel wrenches as they are much tougher than aluminum ones.
The most often used tool by a sprinkler fitter is a set of pliers. You will always find pliers stuffed into their back pocket. Specifically, we us a form called “tongue and groove”.
Pipe fitters in the Southern CA area favor one brand far and above all others. The plier we prefer has a identifying characteristics blue manager and is made by Channel Lock. This particular brand is a strong household and job site name. Fitters on the job often say: “Where are my Channel Locks? It’s an easy fix; just give me my Channel Locks.” Ever since I joined the trade, I have never heard the term pliers used. It’s always Channel Locks.
The reliability of Channel Lock tools has earned them the trust of an complete vicinity of workers and contractors. They might be more expensive but they are easily worth their price. Higher priced tools are usually higher quality tools. Your workers will appreciate them. A plier that is easily worth its weight in gold is the Channel Lock brand. Carrying two pair is shared for most fitters.
Outside of pliers and pipe wrenches, there is another tool that is necessary for a sprinkler fitter: the stiff 300 pipe machine. They cost anywhere from $1,100 used to $3,700 brand new. Depending on additional accessories, the price will vary. The safety pedal is a requirement, and the oiler a necessity. Another great addition is a set of transport wheels. They make it easier for a solo worker to transport the machine. Without the wheels, it will be difficult to move the machine to a new location.
These are the toughest machines I have ever used. The motor operates at a single, slow speed. It runs in both forward and reverse mode. It is almost impossible to switch the machine from one direction to the other with one swipe. There is an internal mechanism that prevents this. Going from forward to reverse without first allowing the machine to come to a complete stop is dangerous and can potentially damage the motor.
The stiff’s one speed motor operates at an extremely powerful torque. It is always advisable to never use loose clothing when operating this machine. The stiff 300 is potentially a deadly machine, especially in the hands of a novice. The machines’ motor is so powerful that it can easily tear off an arm or a leg. To prevent possible injury or death, stiff designed the machine to require a properly installed foot pedal in order to function. It will not function unless the worker has his or her foot on the pedal. To turn off the machine in case of an emergency, all a worker need do is remove his or her foot from the pedal.
These three tools will always be in close closeness to a sprinkler fitter. These tools are vital to the daily productivity of every sprinkler fitter. They are definitely the “tools of the trade” for every fitter.