Remove a Cleco, drill the hole to final size, put in a larger Cleco. Repeat (and repeat and repeat). Repetitive stress injury, here we come. In the KITPLANES home workshop, we’ve found that having a couple different Cleco plier variations is very conve- nient. The upright variety can be partic- ularly helpful in tight spaces or on flat surfaces. Our Creative Homebuilder made his own offset upright Cleco pliers and recommends the fun. He bought a $2 pair off of eBay, cut off and appropriately ground the lever arms, then welded them back onto the head at a different angle.
If welding isn’t part of your skill set, there is an alternative. Zenith 750 STOL builder Christopher Braun designed Clecall upright Cleco pliers when he started feeling wrist pain while installing and removing large amounts of Clecoes. Clecall pliers are available through Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co., and no welding is required.