Insulator Picker (BIRP) head

By Lee Brewer; posted June 26, 2006

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Here is a picture of the head I use on my (as dubbed so by my good friend, Mike Csorbay) Brewer's Insulator Retrieval Pole (or BIRP for short!). The main part of the handle is a paintbrush roller with roller removed. The wire that is left is bent into a double loop that has had rubber air hose forced onto it (wet with soapy water and push/twist). The right hand side is an aluminum rod (also from Home Depot) that was bent into a "U" and then the two ends were bent at a 90-degree angle. These also were coated with rubber hose (air compressor hose I believe). The "fork" is hose-clamped onto the paint roller handle.

I use the loop to initially "crack" the insulator loose from the grip that the pin and it have formed over the many years together. Then take the loop off, position one of the rubber tongs of the "fork" to the left of the glass, hold there with pressure, and pull. This normally spins the piece to the top of the pin where it may be removed by inserting the forks forcefully into the wire groove. It is amazing the amount of pull it takes to dislodge the insulator from the forks once the piece is safe on the ground.

BTW - there are numerous times the fork cannot unscrew the piece, as the grip is too tight. Use a repeated pull loop down, turn, lift loop, reseat loop, pull loop down, etc. Doing it enough develops a rhythm and it goes pretty fast. Also, there have been numerous times I have not been able to lift the insulator with the forks. I just push it off, quickly hang the pole on the crossarm, and catch the falling glass (which is falling on the OTHER side of the crossarm - not on top of my head!).

CREDITS: I originally designed a single loop, but Debbie Kinloch improved it by making a double loop and I adopted her design. This is necessary for hunting in Canada where they "glue" the pieces onto the pins with creosote.

Kevin Jacobson is credited with the whole concept of the fork. His was the ingenious mind that came up with this tool that has helped me remove hundreds of pieces.