Heat Shrink Tool Wrap


There are a number of different methods to wrap tools. Some work better, and hold up better to fireground conditions. Two of the most frequently wrapped tools are hooks and halligans. It is important to point out that there may be a drawback to wrapping the halligan. The wrap on the handle of the halligan interferes with the ability to strike the halligan on the squared shoulder of the fork in tight situations. One of the most frequent wrap methods involves using oxygen tubing (or rope) and athletic tape. Unfortunately, this tubing/tape combination Is one of the worst in regards to fireground durability. Chief Ted Bownas from Millbrook (NY) fire sent in this idea for wrapping a hook that involves some copper wire and heat shrink tubing. Once the heat shrink tubing is in place, it will hold up better to the beating we subject our tools to on the fireground. This particular wrap uses 12AWG wire and heavy duty 2-1/2″ heat-shrink tubing. The wire was wrapped around the hook and temporarily held in place with a few strips of electrical tape. This tape simply holds the wire wrap in place while the heat shrink is slid into position and heated. It is important to point out that heat shrink tubing of this diameter requires a higher-wattage heat gun to produce the heat required to shrink the tubing.



28 Comments so far

  1. Jeff Patterson June 22nd, 2010 11:46 am

    Where is the best place to purchase the shrink wrap tubing?

  2. Jon June 22nd, 2010 11:56 am

    Great idea, he should have included leaving a penny on the table after lunch and watching the two senior guys fighting over it to make the wire!

  3. John Van June 22nd, 2010 12:07 pm

    Jeff Patterson: Del city sells various sizes and various lengths. I use them quite often for electrical parts (connectors, tubing, etc) when repairing our various trucks.

  4. Bill June 22nd, 2010 1:02 pm

    Another idea I’ve seen is the same material used for bed liners (pick-up trucks).

  5. Chris June 22nd, 2010 1:25 pm

    I also just saw while on vacation in Virginia that Sprayed on or rolled on bed liner works well on tools…

  6. Bill June 22nd, 2010 4:58 pm

    Yes, I work in Fairfax, Virginia and that is what I am referring to

  7. Kevin June 22nd, 2010 6:30 pm

    You can buy that size heat shrink tubing at an electrical supply store

  8. Jack June 22nd, 2010 6:32 pm

    A cheaper alternative to copper wire is to use oxygen tubing (non-rebreathers or nasal canulas) from the ambulance. At least the ambulance is good for something! Not sure if the plastic tubing would melt under shrink wrap. We wrap our tools with grip tape (such as hockey tape).

  9. Bill June 22nd, 2010 6:55 pm

    Ever get the feeling your watching “Groundhog Day”?

  10. Sean Thorton June 22nd, 2010 9:23 pm

    FYI– 3M makes heatless shrink wrap that Verizon (phone Company) caries up here in the northeast. After befriending a few “phone guys” we have been using it with great luck the last few years. It is also carried by Grainger supply. It is a thick rubber sheath (don’t get exited) stored on a plastic tube that unwinds after you place it around the object you weant to wrap.

    It has been the best kept secret up here for a while…now the cats out of the bag.

    After wrapping your tool with the heatless rubber sheath, you can put it in a rubber glove and donkey punch your crew with it!

    Stay safe brothers…..great stuff.

  11. RSFDNY June 23rd, 2010 10:43 am

    Anybody have any bad results using the paint on bed liner material? That interests me as it may help eleviate sticky fingers and inventory control if you follow me. Thanks.

  12. Keith102 June 23rd, 2010 1:12 pm

    In the words of Van Wylder “Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool”

  13. Junior June 23rd, 2010 3:16 pm

    I’m with Jack, we just use hockey tape and nasal canula tubing. The hockey tape seems to work the best, medical (white) tape seems to fail pretty quickly. I would definitely try this shrink wrap method, although is the grip as good as with other methods?…

  14. RSFDNY June 23rd, 2010 5:46 pm

    Medical Tapedoes not last long at all.
    Hockey grip type is the best stuff I’ve used.
    Will try the shrink wrap on one hook and liquid bedliner on another and test both out for a 6 months so I can see how it holds up in 3 different climate changes.

  15. squad 1 June 23rd, 2010 11:25 pm

    how do you get the heat shrink on a halligan….will it fit over the fork end??

  16. DMAN72 June 24th, 2010 11:41 am

    Phil? PHIL CONNER!!???

  17. Nate999 June 24th, 2010 8:01 pm

    It’s me…Ned…Reyerson!

    Ned Ryerson?

    BING!…First shot, right out of the box!

  18. DMAN72 June 25th, 2010 8:13 am

    Needle-nose Ned? Ned the Head?

  19. DMAN72 June 25th, 2010 8:13 am

    Im like 50 miles from Punxy, I could do this all day! 🙂

  20. Jeff June 25th, 2010 8:31 am

    how do you get the heat shrink on a halligan?

  21. Kenn June 26th, 2010 9:19 am

    I use the heat shrink and NC tube on my Firemaxx tool…it works great!! It’s been on for about 4 years and never had a problem with it.

  22. Erik June 27th, 2010 4:21 pm

    We did our haligan hooks like this when I was a firefighter and it was superior to the hockey tape used where I work now. As for the doing it to the haligan I never found as much of a need for it on the haligan. But I’d be reall interested to see how the spray on bedliner material works. I have had the rino liner in the bed of my truck for 7 year and it holds up to a lot of abuse.

  23. Bill June 28th, 2010 2:12 pm

    We’ve had good luck with electrician’s Friction Tape. It bonds well to itself (wraps hold together), it’s cheap, very durable & remains tacky for a long time (& under most conditions). Occasional re-taping is quick & easy. For the “cord”, I’ve used wire (worked well), O2 tubing (seemed a bit big) & may try weed-eater string next time (comes in various shapes/sizes). Here’s an example of the Friction Tape…

  24. Bud July 3rd, 2010 6:15 pm

    Ever try Tommy Tape, its basically a self fusing silicone tape. Works great, very flexible and doesn’t cost much at all.

  25. Bill31 July 13th, 2010 3:32 pm

    Used “weed-eater” string (round, .095) for the “cord” and it worked great. Be safe all.

  26. Lt. Meier - RFD NC July 27th, 2010 3:37 pm

    For the tools on our ladder, we use rope and hockey tape. Makes a good grip, and is relatively inexpensive and we were able to get the colored tape that matches the colors our ladder goes by making tools easily recognizable as those belonging to Ladder 1. Chief Bownas idea is unique, and worth looking at. Even coming from the Chief out there at “49”. Hey, where else can a former PVFD member get his digs in! Stay safe!

  27. Angus Davison October 18th, 2012 9:55 am

    We used rope with hockey tape, but got different colors of hockey tape to identify the tool with the company it belongs to. Works great.

  28. Mike November 20th, 2013 8:59 pm

    Other than going to get it professionally done. I searches Home Depot and lowes and couldn’t find rhino lining spray. Any suggestions?

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