When I worked on radio-controlled airplanes as a kid I used soft-jaw pliers because they don’t mar the control system’s tiny parts. But when I went shopping for a set yesterday, I balked at the twenty-freakin’-dollars manufacturers want for them now. A better solution: a $2 set of jaw covers from Duratrax.
Sure, these covers are actually meant to fit on Duratrax’ pliers, but they’ll slide over almost any set of reasonably small needle-nosed pliers, making a set of $3 Harbor Freight pliers into a set that would run you about seven times that — plus you can throw the covers away when they finally wear out.
Even if you mangled ’em in the first few uses, they’re still pretty cost effective. Of course, you could also just submerge the front end of your pliers in Dip-It for a permanent fix, but I like having the ability to remove the covers. Then again, maybe I should’ve just hung on to my childhood set. Live and learn, I say.