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A Full Scope of The Titanium Pliers Development
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A Full Scope of The Titanium Pliers Development

Hey Y’all - Steven here, and I am extremely excited to announce that we have just released our completely re-engineered titanium pliers. The effort it took to reach this point was exhaustive, and I will attempt to document every phase of the development process in this blog post. These pliers underwent MANY iterations during product development, with countless 3D prints made, and we switched factories midway through the sourcing process because we were not going to settle for anything less than the best pair of pliers on the market.

I have always had a rabid fascination with fishing pliers ever since the day I saw my friend show up to the local fishing hole after school with a pair of brand new bright red aluminum Bass Pro Shops pliers clipped into the waistband of his pants. I was instantly jealous of him. My pliers were some old rusted-out, black rubber-handled ones that I stole off my Dad’s workbench. They were buried deep inside my green tackle box and definitely not the type I could wear on my hip to show off to my friends. My friend’s pliers were the first pair I had ever seen with the side-cutter feature on them, removing the need to put the line between the two grips, and they cut the smallest diameter monofilament like butter. I went and bought a pair just like them the next trip my Mom took me out to Bass Pro, and ever since that day, you wouldn’t catch me dead without a pair of pliers on my hip while fishing.

When I first started SORD in 2019, I knew that everything we put out there with the SORD name on it was going to be based on one thing: they were built for people who are crazy about fishing. Or for short, “Built for the Crazy Ones.” And after I solidified that vision for our business, I started to get to work on product development. I knew that one of SORD’s flagship products was going to be a pair of titanium pliers because there have been some giants that have come before us who took pliers that were once an afterthought and turned them into one of the most sought-after tools on the market.

In 2021 we released our first pair of titanium pliers, which many of you have come to know and love. This pair of pliers was a 7” pair and we spent about 18 months working on those to get them perfected for the market. The summer that these were released we learned A LOT about pliers, we learned what people liked, what they didn’t like, what tolerances needed to be followed during manufacturing and which ones could be a little more slack. We took all of that learning to start product development on v2 of our titanium pliers. I hired an engineer based out of Tampa Bay, Jeremy Nashed, who has been an integral part of our product development team over the past 3 years and we set out to take the learnings from v1 and dive into what would eventually become v2.

Jeremy and I started mapping out the main feedback that we had received from the 7” pliers to make changes: 

  1. Round off the handle edges to be more ergonomic 
  2. Beef up the line cutting system 
  3. Create a smaller, more stubbier pair that did not weigh as much 
  4. Redesign the internal components to create a more smooth operation 
  5. Swap the kydex sheath for a leather sheath

Jeremy went to work on initial concept designs and we settled on a design that is very similar to what you see in this new pair of pliers. Once we finished up the initial design, Jeremy dove head first into developing the engineering models. We completely changed the internals of these pliers from the spring, the bushing, and the way that the two hubcaps are assembled on the final product. This reengineering of the internals allows the pliers to seamlessly glide along the two halves around an internal bushing, rather than gliding around the two hubcaps on the 7” pair. This engineering style eliminates the pliers from torquing, or better known as when the two heads of the pliers slip and no longer meet together. 

When we started talking about the shape of the handles, we wanted to build something that fit into an average hand without any issues. One thing that you will notice on these pliers is that there is no “guard” stopping your hand from reaching past the grip. On many traditional pliers you will see the two notches that are at the top of the grip that prevent your hand from going past those notches when handling the pliers, which is what we call a “guard”. We had debated this point back and forth for 2 weeks and even modeled having the guard on a 3D printer, but we ultimately settled on not having a guard at the end of the hand grip. I am extremely happy with that decision because the pliers literally “fit” in your hand and you are able to grip up on them very well which leads to greater control over the pliers. 

The head on these pliers went through many different iterations. We originally started off with smaller teeth on the pliers, similar to the 7” pair, but realized that we needed to space the teeth out to optimize gripping force. When you put a hook inside of the new jaws, they are less likely to slip out of the jaws because the hook fits securely inside the gaps of the teeth without slipping. You will also see here that there is a sizable gap between the middle teeth. This was done for the same reason as above, to keep the hooks in the right place when removing the jaws. This gap between the top teeth also helps from a manufacturing and tolerance perspective because the hardest thing about manufacturing titanium pliers is that the tip has to touch and the cutters have to cut. This gap allows us a bit of wiggle room when it comes to manufacturing AND gives you more gripping power, a win-win at the end of the day.

Now that leads us to the other most important function of the pliers: the cutters. We tried two different iterations of the cutters, with one iteration being the current design and the other being a very unique re-engineering of cutters. I won’t talk about that one here, because we are still optimistic that it will work eventually once additive manufacturing capabilities in titanium become more mature. The cutters that we have put onto these pliers are very similar to the 7” pair, we just beefed up the system a bit more and added in tolerance control to ensure that the cutters always line up and will cut down to 20# braid. We expect the cutters to last 2 years with normal use or 1 year with commercial use and they are replaceable with a little elbow grease. 

The main feedback that we received on our sheath is that the majority of folks preferred a leather sheath over kydex. The leather is much more soft on the belt and quite frankly it looks great after wearing in and developing a patina. We left the front part of the leather sheath completely blank, because we believe the trend in fishing is moving away from large branding and moving towards more personalization. We will offer branding for monograms/initials on the front side of the leather sheath. We stitched the sheath with a blue thread to add a small branding touchpoint and added a SORD logo stamp to the back of the sheath. 

The packaging for these products also matches up to the prestige of the product. We completely redesigned the packaging and it is something that I am excited about. We will let the pictures below tell the full story, but a quick glance you will see the outside that shows the pliers image printed on the front of the box with a reflective SORD logo underneath it. Then as you lift the box, we have ‘Built for the Crazy Ones' printed on the side of the inside box which is a small, but big detail. The pliers then sit inside their sheath and fit snug inside of a foam insert similar to what you used to see iPhones shipped in. 

The finished all-in package of pliers, sheath, and packaging is second to none. I would be the first to put them up against any other product in the industry and I could not be more excited about them.

Keep those lines tight, 

Steven Vanden Heuvel

Founder & President



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