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  1. #1
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    Default twist grip or toggle on hydraulics

    I was just wondering what your opinions were on how your hydraulic tools are operated. Do they have the twist grip style activator or the thumb toggle? I'm not really concerned with who made the tool, just if you prefer one over the other and why.

    For example, our department's tools have the toggle. I have used several others that have either the toggle or the twist grip. I prefer the twist grip because you can use your whole hand to support the tool instead of just the fingers of that hand while operating the tool with your thumb. To me, I don't get wore out as fast with the grip as I do with the toggle.

    Some swear by the grip, others by the toggle - why?

    Thanks.


  2. #2
    FIGJAM lutan1's Avatar
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    I personally prefer the deadmans handle (twist).

    As you said, it offers greater support for the tool, and also I beleive it can be adapted to more applications, ie:tools can be operated easily on any angle, etc.

    One thing to be wary of though, is tool positioning. In some cases, your hand can become stuck/jammed from tool twisting, and you may not be able to release the handle!

    For example, when doing a relief cut on the bottom of an A pillar for the dash roll, the tool may twist in towards the car and your hand may get jammed between the seat and the tool.

    It hurts- I know, I've done it!
    Luke

  3. #3
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Default

    Have not spent enough time with a twist grip to really compare. We use toggle switches and can't say I have had any problems. Only need to use my thumb on the switch and have other 4 fingers wrapped around handle. As Lutan said, it's fairly easy to keep my parts away from danger as the toggle is always centered. What I do like is when there is a problem, to return the tool to neutral, I just have to life my thumb and not change my grip on the tool at all as the toggle is spring loaded.

  4. #4
    Forum Member firefighter26's Avatar
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    All of our tools are the "twist grip" style, and as a matter of personal choice, I like working with them over the "thumb toggle." Without getting into names, because you said you didn't care which make of tool we used, I can tell you that our combie tool (weapon of choice for my department) has a D handle around it and when used with the "twist grip" allows you to hold the tool sideways or upside down or whatever and still operate effectively. In addition, our rams and peddle cutter are also equipped the same way. It really helps when you are in tight in something, and the way vehicles keep getting smaller and smaller, being able to twist the tool around and still work it is always a good idea in my books.

    On the other side of the fence, two years ago at a regional auto-ex competition my team (yes, I was a member) used a different model and make system, which had a thumb toggle, and we didn't like it all that much (if we had have know we would have brought our own tools). I found that I had to work to keep my grip just right in order to be able to reach the toggle, and thus didn't get the cuts or displacements I was looking for (which meant I needed to do it again to achieve the same result, which costs time, and time is the one thing you don't have lots of on the street, or in a competition).

    It also comes down to what you are used to working with. And while I can admit that my experience with the thumb toggle style is limited to a few scenarios, I am much more comfortable and can see more practical use with the twist grip.
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  5. #5
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    Smile

    I have used and trained with both styles and much prefer the twist handle (dead mans handle) over the toggle.
    When you have to use the tool in any position above your head or where the tool is in an upright position and you can only get your hand on the tool in one way (normally thumb at the hose end not the tool end) the handle will always work whereas the toggle is often in the wrong place to be used with the thumb.

    So my reason is simple, the handle is always able to be turned no matter where the tool is or at what angle.

    Hope this helps.
    D. Camp

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    Thumbs up

    Thumb index finger push button. Very little effort and can be used in
    any situation.

  7. #7
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by tfd603
    Thumb index finger push button. Very little effort and can be used in
    any situation.
    I was wondering how long it would take for someone to point out that there is a third option . Unfortunately I had a bad experience with one of those tools that twisted suddenly while cutting a seat rail. The twist pushed my thumb off the button, but the momentum put the button against the seat and we had a hydraulic cutter running on auto-pilot.

    My personal preference is the toggle. But I think this is for the reason others have pointed out. I have used it the most so I am comfortable with how to operate the tool effectively. The one on our tools is almost like a paddle, so that you do not have to use just your thumb to operate the transfere valve. I will use the heel and palm of my hand when it aids me in manipulating the tool.

    Yet another option is what is called a "star handle" that basically has four thumb controls on four corners of the lever. This affords even more options on how you can operate the tool.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  8. #8
    Temporarily/No Longer Active Station7Cadet's Avatar
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    Default

    I don't know what options we had but I can tell you what we do have, on the speaders it operates with a toggle switch and the O cutters also operate with a toggle, but the ram the we run has a twist grip.

  9. #9
    Forum Member 1835Wayne's Avatar
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    Exclamation TOGGLE

    I like this type for the simple reason that when you release the trigger it goes back to a nuetral position. I have gotten my hand pinned with the twist grip(GOD did that hurt), thankfully our protocol has a man stationed on the simo-pump and he shut down the line.

    As for the argument that its easier to control the tool with the twist grip, I've found that if I get a good bite, all I have to do is operate the toggle, keeping my hands clear. Besides, I always hold the tool with two hands.
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  10. #10
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    Default

    I well remember the local initial evaluation of the "Jaws of life" as the first purpose built heavy hydraulic auto extrication tool was called. It was in the early 70's and the local company representative had obviously recieved it with little instruction and little practice before it was demonstrated to the Fire Service. It looked cumbersome and unwieldy and initially quite unimpressive to us. In the event, no one was inclined to buy something so expensive but hard to handle. What a difference it would have made if the person using it had had proper training and practice. In time it became the standard from which all others in the Spreader/Cutter/Rams family that make up vehicle rescue heavy hydraulics and we all became thoroughly competent in its use. That tool had the toggle switch which is still in use with only minor modifications now. I feel it is similarly a shame that the company has not followed the natural evolution of tools to the twist grip at the rear of the tool. A twist grip is more easily controlled in protective gloves and is more ergonomically suited to the human range of stregnth and motion. Having your hands further apart gives finer control as one has the point of balance taking the tool weight and the other has the leverage to direct the tips precisely. Having the hoses together emerging from the end of the tool in your controlling hand helps to avoid snags and kinking of the hoses. A round control has no top, bottom or side so it can be easily used in any position. Nothing is without disadvantages though and it is for everyone to find what best suits them and how to overcome the inherent disadvantage of that system. For myself, give me the twist grip any day.
    Jim Maclean. IACOJ NZ branch

  11. #11
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    Default

    OK here I go, I was brought up on Hurst(the toggle), and we use AMKUS (the Wrist Twist) at the Race track, but I actually prefer the third type the type of Control found on the old LUCAS and Now Husrt CENTURION (SP?) brand tools. If you are not familiar with it, It is a ring that circles the handle on the back of the tool(proximal to the tool body). This alows you to maintiain your grip while using the the "toggle feature" anywhere on the ring. Just a personal preference. I can't say it is better or worse for scientific reasons, just to me that gives the best combination of Position, Dexterity and Grip. Another tool with similar atributes to me is the PowerHawk, they have a Circular Grip on the back of the tool with an "X" Switch in the middle that rotates, opening and closing the tool. again this gives you a solid grip with the ability to hit the control switch and more importantly let go of it in any position. Just have to add one more comment and a question for you all. the Comment is this ALL OF THE TOOLS DISCUSSED IN THIS THREAD FEATURE A "DEAD MAN CONTROL" that being when preasure is not applied to the control unit it returns to NUETRAL and ceases actions the Question is this, has any body inadvertantly open or closed a tool when holding it by the wrist twist type control? I know I have.
    Last edited by Carl Avery; 04-15-2002 at 10:01 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Default

    I have to say I'm with the twist-grip guys for the reason that I feel its more stable than having your thumb out there. Just another one of those "personal preference" type things that are dictated by what your dept/municipality buys.

  13. #13
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Originally posted by jimthefireman
    I feel it is similarly a shame that the company has not followed the natural evolution of tools to the twist grip at the rear of the tool. A twist grip is more easily controlled in protective gloves and is more ergonomically suited to the human range of stregnth and motion. Having your hands further apart gives finer control as one has the point of balance taking the tool weight and the other has the leverage to direct the tips precisely. Having the hoses together emerging from the end of the tool in your controlling hand helps to avoid snags and kinking of the hoses. A round control has no top, bottom or side so it can be easily used in any position. Nothing is without disadvantages though and it is for everyone to find what best suits them and how to overcome the inherent disadvantage of that system. For myself, give me the twist grip any day.
    There was an evolution from the thumb control at the forward handle of the tool, moving it to the rear handle. It was developed by the same engineer that advanced the development of the "Jaws of Life", F.M. Brick uses this design in his Phoenix tools. Along with the simularities the Phoenix has with the Hurst, this is one of the improvements he made with the Phoenix. The Phoenix also offers the "star" control at the back of the tool that is ambidextrious and has no top or bottom to control the tool.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

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  14. #14
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    Default twist or toggle

    Having recently spent a weekend at our state training centre I am now sold on the twist grip handle. We used Holmatro and lukas(when it felt like working!)and found that with the twist handle I could work much longer and that I had better control over the tool. On our appliance we carry the old style FAGlukas with the toggle switch and I find that its too awkward to hold for any length of time and s has been mentioned it is harder too position.One thing lukas has over holmatro is that the whole handle doesn't turn only the star at the head of the handle.We found that a lot of the trainees were hanging on to the handle of the holmatro when they were waiting to do their cut and it put a lot of strain on the pump.

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    OK, here is my small change on this one. FF26 and I are from the same dept, and we both participated in the afore mentioned competition. I agree with his assessment of the tools we used for the competition, and for the same reasons - we were both tool handlers on that one.

    Further to that, as he avoided giving name brands, so will I, however Jimthefireman described our tool type to the letter and Carl actually named it. Ours is the "ring in the handle" type, with the hydraulic lines coming out the back of the handle of the tool. This allows a full hand grip on the rear handle as well as the other hand on the "D" ring, giving a full two hand grip. So even when the tool twists in a confined space, you still have full control over the pressure switch, so that you don't experience the "auto-pilot" operating tool - potentially a very bad thing.

    Anyway, operation of the twist ring in the handle is very easy and as soon as the twist pressure from your hand is released, the ring always returns to the neutral position, very much like the throttle control of a motorcycle. Overall, I find that this design to be very easy to handle and to operate.
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  16. #16
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Dare I even mention that we still have a tool in service that has no "D" handle and no rear handle, just two parallel handles with "dog ear" controls on them!
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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