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Selection of pincers in a mock-up blacksmiths
Carpenter's pincers
Medieval pincers found in Hamburg-Harburg (15th/16th century)

Pincers are a hand tool used in many situations where a mechanical advantage is required to pinch, cut or pull an object. Pincers are first-class levers, but differ from pliers in that the concentration of force is either to a point, or to an edge perpendicular to the length of the tool. This allows pincers to be brought close to a surface, which is often required when working with nails.

Pincers are primarily used for removing objects (typically nails) out of a material that they have been previously applied to. Carpenter's pincers are particularly suited to these tasks.

Sharpened pincers are also used to cut away natural calluses, also called chestnuts, from a horses body.[1]

Further use of pincers is the trimming of the edges of horses hoofs.[2]

If the pincers have perpendicular cutting edges, the pincers are often called end-nippers or end-cutters. They're often used in jewelry making, for trimming flat wire or cutting off the end of an ear stud.[3]

Pincers, often red-hot, have also been used as an instrument of torture[4] since ancient Roman times or earlier.

Pliers are a similar tool with a different type of head used for squeezing, rather than cutting and pulling.

See also


  1. ^ The practice of removing chestnuts
  2. ^ The practice of trimming the edge of a horses hoof
  3. ^ "What are End Cutting Pliers and how are they used?". Retrieved March 13, 2024.
  4. ^ "Example of the use of pincers for torture in mediaeval Italy". Retrieved April 16, 2018.