What sort of pliers should I have for installing the very thick series elements into my kiln?

The pliers to get for grabbing the wire and bending it around the bolt are called Linesman Pliers.

Click here to see photos of Linesman Pliers

  1. The idea is to bend the wire around the bolt, not use the bolt to bend the wire. Holding the bolt steady can help this, but be careful not to crush the threads.
  2. Instead, grip a nut that is left out at the end of the bolt with another pair of pliers. This will help to keep the bolt from bending.
  3. Be sure to wrap the element tail one time only around the bolt, with no overlap.
  4. Be sure to squash the element tail between stainless steel washers on either side of it where it wraps around the bolt.
  5. It is difficult to get the cutters on these linesman pliers close enough to where you want to cut the wires. Diagonal side-cutting pliers are better for cutting.
  6. For both types of pliers, longer handles are helpful, especially on the diagonal side cutters.

Click here to see a typical set of diagonal side-cutting pliers