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I would like to coat or cover the jaws of my swedging pliers with something to protect the keys from getting scratched up. My wife suggested the plastidip coating used for tools, but I don't know if that would work. What do you folks do? Thanks!
 

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I sometimes use a narrow strip of thin teflon sheet between the pliers and the key. I bought some large teflon cooking sheets for cheap to use at home in the kitchen and brought one sheet to the shop for various uses. In the past, I've also used bees wax on the jaws and still use it sometimes on burnishing tools.

Of course, the jaws need to be polished and the edges must be bevelled to keep them from digging into the brass.
 

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+1 for polishing the jaws and beveling the edges. You can also use a lubricant like Tap-eze to help. Unfortunately pliers tend to leave marks no matter what you do. For most work I prefer the Ferree's collet swedger mounted to the bench. You also have to polish the inside of the collets with a small dremel attachment and use the Tap-eze but rotating the key inside the collet under pressure (on the rod of course) produces almost no marks in the brass. The set-up I like to use is shown below.


 

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The Ferrees collet tool is great (mainly for shrinking diameter, not extending length). A shame it cannot be used in all situations.

I prefer to hold the work in one hand and the tool in the other, because then those zillion nerves I have assist me in monitoring that I am not applying any bending forces. Just a personal preference.

But any swedging shrinks the outside diameter of the tube. If that is done on a very short section of tube, the result will catch the light and be obvious, unless that diameter change is hidden by an appendage that happens to be soldered at that location, or by some destructive process such as buffing.

Swedging to increase length almost always needs swedging to a quite short length of tube (for which the Ferrees tool is not so good), so is more obvious.
 

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Gordon, I have found that the Ferree's tool mounted on the bench with the added needle bearing allows a far greater pressure to be put on the hinge tube than when the tool is used in the manner you described. The result is that the added torque in contracting the hinge tube produces a significantly greater length expansion when needed in addition to the excellent shrinking effect. Occasionally I will need to swedge a very short key 2 or 3 times working a slightly shorter section each time to get the desired length, but the extra time to do this more than offsets the time it would take to repair the cosmetics of a key marred by using swedging pliers.
 

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To overcome that, I greatly increased the diameter of the body of my tool, hence the torque applied when hand operated, by forcing it permanently through a suitable diameter axial hole in an ABS rod. :)
 

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I don´t use anything to protect the keys wuth even though I know it is strongly recommended to do so. But then on the other hand I´ve polished the surfaces as much as possible of the swedging pliers I use.
 

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I agree re using pliers with polished jaws and rounded edges. I use oil and/or grease sometimes.

I also have the Ferree's collet tool. I use it both held by hand and mounted securely. Mounting obviously allows to use more force. I agree that it is mostly for tightening the hinge tube around the rod, less for lengthening it. Even using it by hand will lengthen a hinge some, but only a little. Sometimes no more than that is needed. I've used a roller like jbtsax (after he suggested it) and also tried it with an even bigger handle for more force. I found that even then, not that much lengthening is possible and most of the times I need to use pliers for that. I guess it all depends on the amount of lengthening needed.
 
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