GETTING EQUIPPED: For the Fashionable Lineman: Tools and Gifts of the Trade

By Kathleen Davis, associate editor

I spoke with three experts on the opposite ends of the lineman fashion industry to get the alpha and omega of goodies for your favorite pole guy. Assistant editor Kellie Sandrik with our sister publication Utility Products and Matt Clemens with Farwest Line Specialties give us the serious and the necessary–all the new and exciting products they’ve seen of late.

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Additionally, and just for the fun of it, we spoke with Tammy Kent, the owner of Linemanbarn.com, a place to buy novelty t-shirts and gifts for every holiday you can shower a lineman with presents. She added a few of her top sellers and favorites to our list, too.

So, here you are: the serious and the humorous–everything a lineman could want.

The Top Selections from Utility Products

1.) New Sniff “Ëœn’ Stop Odorant Pads: A new product now solves critter problems in utility cabinets and pad mounts. As a result of working closely with utility crews, “Sniff “Ëœn’ Stop” scientists have recently completed development and testing of a convenient new product that will keep pests out of cabinets. As with all “Sniff “Ëœn’ Stop” products, the new self-adhering, timed-release odorant pad is non-toxic and environmentally safe. The 4-inch-by-4-inch or 6-inch-by-8-inch pads are simply stuck somewhere on the inside wall or floor of the enclosure. Critters can’t stand the smell of the patented odorant and will quickly vacate the premises. The long-lasting odor will keep them away for a long, long time.

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From: ICORP-IFOAM Specialty Products Corp.
Kellie’s note: I have personally smelled this odorant and can attest to the fact that it will indeed deter animals. It’s a safe and non-lethal way to keep animals off your poles, and keep your poles in good, working condition.

2.) Pole Framing Stand: Why not stand up while framing your poles? Outdoors for Life (OFL) has been working with a group of linemen to come-up with a framing stand that works for you. OFL’s new Pole Framing Stand is high and, since it’s made from aluminum, this means there is no rust, no material weakness, and it’s lightweight.

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The OFL Pole Framing Stand is designed around the proper work heights needed while drilling and framing poles. There’s no need to have your workers bending over creating a chance of back injuries any longer.

OFL uses their field experience while designing and producing every product they offer. They offer solutions, not just another product. Help protect your linemen and meet the OSHA 1910.269(p) (iii) requirements.

From: Outdoors for Life
Kellie’s note: The fact that OFL worked with a group of linemen to develop this product shows that they have the end-user in mind. Made by linemen, for linemen.

3.) Poletop Extension: Why replace the entire pole if you only need to add some additional height? Save time and money with Pole Top Extensions from Highline Products

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Fewer personnel are needed to install the extension compared to replacing the pole, and existing wires can be left in place while working. The unit can be drilled in the field, or you can order it drilled to your specification. Available in lengths from 36 inches to 120 inches.

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From: Highline Products
Kellie’s note: Who wouldn’t want to save time and money? This poletop extension will do both, and use less manpower at the same time.

4.) BoaGrip Utility Pole Specialized Rigging Sling: Safe Shop Tools has solved rigging problems with their BoaGrip Rigging Sling line. Each BoaGrip features patented slip-resistant polymer traction bars that are bonded to the nylon rigging sling, enabling a fast, tight grip. When pulled taught, the SuperStick grippers are forced onto the pole’s surface; the more force, the tighter the grip. The unique Double-D stainless steel master link prevents twisting, binding and bunching, and ensures that the gripping surface is held flat around the pole.

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The BoaGrip line allows for a wide range of capacities. Stock #BG1900 offers a 72-inch working length, and has a rated capacity of 1,900 pounds. If a smaller working length is what you’re after, then Stock #BG1900-12 offers a 52-inch working length, with a rated capacity of 1,900 pounds. Now, if it’s capacity you are more concerned about, then Stock #BG2900 is your sling, offering a working length of 72 inches and a rated capacity of 2,900 pounds.

From: Safe Shop Tools
Kellie’s note: This product is very interesting in that it offers a simple solution to slipped lines. The tighter you pull, the tighter the grip–it’s that simple. This is a must-have item for linemen everywhere.

5.) 12 Feet of Fall Protection in the Palm of Your Hand: To save money and prevent hassles with your fall prevention equipment, choose a Self-Retracting Lifeline that is economical, simple, durable and safe. The new North Duralite III is a light, serviceable, self-retracting lifeline, offering you up to 12 feet of fall protection that literally fits in the palm of your hand.

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From: North Safety Products
Kellie’s note: Safety is a No 1 concern for linemen, and what better way to prevent falls then with a self-retracting lifeline. And it’s small enough to carry in your bag, so you have no excuses.

6.) Royer Three Seasons Lineman Boot: L.P. Royer Inc. is proud to introduce the new Royer three seasons lineman boot with vibram sole and microporous waterproof membrane WMVP. The extended padded ankle protection is made up of two layers of genuine leather to increase the durability of the footwear. The addition of the padded collar provides all the comfort you need. This boot meets both CSA and ASTM Standards and is available in size 5 to 12 + ½, 13, 3E width for men.

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From: L.P. Royer Inc.
Kellie’s note: Comfort goes a long way in terms of increased productivity and safety. These boots will not only keep linemen’s feet dry and warm, but will also allow them the comfort they need for extended periods of time.

7.) New Design of Ring Grip Keeps Your Cable’s Weight Off of the Connection: New Ring Grips from Lewis Manufacturing have the Investment cast bronze ring. The ring allows for a very precise fit to keep the weight of the cable off of the electrical connection more effectively. The weight of the cable is transferred to the plastic coated Aircraft Strand cable of the ring grip and to the conduit system. Flexibility of design permits a maximum of line surge without conductor damage. Ring Grips install on the poles easily without additional hardware. There are many different styles available for your specific applications.

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The ring also provides a strong metal barrier against squirrels and other animals that pose a risk to the integrity of the system by chewing and nesting. This reduces the downtime caused by animal-related outages, and keeps your cables suspended in a neutral position.

From: Lewis Manufacturing Company
Kellie’s note: Linemen shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not their connections are degrading–use this great product to keep weight off electrical connections and keep them in tip-top condition. Also a great animal-deterrent.

More information on these products can be found by contacting the manufacturers listed on the “from” line. More information on Kellie and Utility Products magazine can be found online at www.utilityproducts.com.

The Top Sellers at Linemanbarn.com

Tammy started Linemanbarn.com in 2003 as a result of the demand for a shirt she created for the International Lineman’s Rodeo she labels the “Lineman Butts” shirt.
“It was a funny shirt, but the girls loved it!” she told UAE.
Add a couple more designs to the mix, and the Lineman Barn was launched.
The following a list of her most popular items to date.

1.) The “Dark Side of the Moon” shirt. The shirt is available in long sleeve and short sleeve and is 100 percent cotton and preshrunk (see picture).

Tammy’s note: I had an idea for this design but needed the moon shot. My friend and awesome lineman, Ryon Roberts, had a great shot of the moon he had taken. I got with my graphic artist, and he brought it to life. It’s an awesome design and a cool message. It is by far my best seller.

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2.) The lineman hoodie: A very simple design that simply says “LINEMAN” across the chest. It proves the simplicity can sell well and look great. This shirt is printed on a heavyweight hoodie that is super soft and comfortable, according to Tammy.

3.) The “I Love My Lineman” hoodie/t-shirt. A lady’s design on a lady’s fit t-shirt (see picture).

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Tammy’s note: The women of linemen are truly proud of their guy–who he is and what he does. I get requests all the time for products for the ladies. I came out with the hoodie first. It is medium weight and very comfy. I decided to carry the message forward to a t-shirt.

Tammy considers herself a welcome part of the lineman family rather than seeing her business as simply a way to make a bit of extra cash.

“We are a very small, family owned business,” she said. “Our customers are very important to us. I would say, if you polled most of them, they would say they feel more like close friends of the family–or maybe even part of the family–not just customers.”

The Fave Five at Farwest

“At Farwest Line Specialties, we carry a wide range of tools and many of the tools make the jobs line workers do on a daily basis more efficient and safer,” said Clemens. When asked which tool ranked as his personal favorite, he replied, “Any tool that reduces the risk of injury while on the job would be one of my personal favorites. Over the past couple years, most utilities have been implementing programs to have their employees wear FR clothing/personal protective equipment. I feel this clothing/equipment has already saved numerous utility workers from serious injury and will continue do so in the future with requirements that are going into effect.”

This is his list of top five sellers:

1.) 12-inch Lowell Lineman Wrench- 3-in-1 Bolt Thru Socket–Fits nuts for ½-inch, 5/8-inch, and ¾-inch Hardware.

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2.) Klein Tools D2000-9NE High Leverage Lineman Pliers.

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3.) Buckingham 3502C 4-inch Velcro Climber Pads with Metal Insert and Cinch.

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4.) Bashlin Aluminum Pole Climbers.

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5.) Buckingham 2000M Full Float Climbing Belt.

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Farwest Line Specialties carries tools and equipment for line workers. They’re based out of California and have been in business since 1994. If you would like more information on the tools and products they carry, visit their online store at www.fwlsp.com or call them at 800-466-7153 for a free catalog.

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