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With hilmor, the comfort is in your hands

When I hear “arthritis,” I think of my grandmother and her small, frail hands – not a strapping HVAC/R tech that bounds up ladders carrying heavy bags of tools. But it was on my very first field ride-along that I met Steve, an owner/technician barely over 40, who couldn’t turn a flare yoke because of the pain it caused in his hand. The culprit? Arthritis, and a tool design that if human would have been collecting Social Security for over 30 years.

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So we set out to make using these tools more comfortable. Comfort, to us, is more than wrapping some rubber around the handle. Often, rubber isn’t durable enough for the oily conditions an HVAC/R tech encounters or it can cause unwanted friction on the hand. Instead, we look at changing the shape of the handle or tool, sometimes adding material like on the Orbital Flare, or changing the orientation like our pistol-grip Compact Swage Tool. The grips on our lever benders and nut drivers have a slightly square shape. This uses less gripping force in order to maintain the same level of control as a round one.

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But the job is still tough. So until we can eliminate the need for tools, we recommend the following tips for getting the most out of your most valuable tool − you:

  • When it’s cold, wear gloves. It will reduce the transfer of heat to metal tools.
  • When selecting gloves, make sure they’re appropriate for the job and not creating more work for your hands. “Mechanic”-style gloves are lighter weight and have details on the fingers that aid in gripping. Padded leather and Kevlar gloves protect the fingers from sharp sheet metal installations and high-impact work, but are much more awkward for detailed work.
  • When making lots of repetitive swages or flares, alternate hands. (They say doing activities with your less dominant hand also stimulates brain activity − like you need another brainteaser on the job!)
  • If using heavy tools, look for assistance from a workbench of vice − like the vice-holding feature on the hilmor Lever Benders.

Peter Weremchuk also contributed to this post.

Posted in From HQ, hilmor +.
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