General Purpose Tools

Many Uses for a Cotter Pin Puller


A go-to tool when when you need to remove, pry, extract, dig, or pierce something

This is a review of a hand tool I have found to be a valuable for over 30 years. I used to repair screens and windows and this tool was really great for getting rubber spline out of the aluminum screen channels or digging glazing from an old window pane. I would use O-Ring pickers but I would end up bending the tips with spline that was hardened by weather, so I went to this much stronger and hardened tool to do the job.

Since then, this tool is my go-to tool when I need to remove, pry, extract, dig, or pierce something. It made a very handy aluminum awl when building new screens and windows. Other window repair people use the same tool for this purpose. You will see this tool in most screen repair shops like the back room of an Ace Hardware Store. This is how I started doing that type of work, at Ace Hardware when I was in just got out of high school.

I also use it like a steel worker’s spud wrench when I am trying to align holes in metal. I also use it for getting a rubber gasket or pulley off. There are a lot of O-Ring and Cotter Pin removal tools, but this one is unique because of its shape. It has a special twist that provides leverage that you don’t have a straight screwdriver or awl. Many cotter pin tools are just a 90 degree awl, but this twisted shape allows you to pry up with the tip. Effectively, the fulcrum for prying is just right at the last 1/4 inch of the tip. This is what I find most useful about the tool, that last 1/4 inch. The one that I have has a square shank, while most others are just round like a screwdriver shank. This square shank lets you use it with a wrench or a vise-grip if you need more torque.

I have yet to bend the tip even with using a hammer to drive things home. When writing this review, I was looking where I could purchase this now and ended up finding other people saying similar things about these “45 degree special twist cotter pin/radiator hose removal” tools. I never really did understand the intended purpose of the tool when I first purchased it. I was looking for a bent awl to help me with screen repair. I believe that you will find this migrating to your top drawer of tools over time. As I began to write this review, I am ending up buying a few extras myself for my ‘go bags’ that I have in my vehicles versus it just sitting in my shop drawer. I found that Matco now makes the tool. They make these special twist versions with the square shank. They come in orange or green handles.

Of course, it does a fine job of cotter pin removal too.

-- Joe Kouba 12/26/16