I keep breaking Chain Tools !
Have broken 3 different brand of chain tools in the last couple of weeks, all on the same chain .... one specialized multitool, the others were proper chain tools but costing less than 10 UK quid each
The chain is a SRAM PC991 Cross Step and its the bits the hold the chain in place that break.
Is it because the chain is thinner than others, or that I have been using cheapish tools or that I am not using them correctly (amazed if its the latter).
(broke a rear derailleur this weekend as well, so starting to get a complex, I'm usually quite light on gear for 100kgs. the derailleur was due to some timber getting caught up).
It's your technique that is suspect. If you are breaking a chain, then put the chain squarely onto the ridge furthest away from the threaded part of the chain tool body. Make sure that it is in the proper position to allow the joining pin to pop out out the other side, then put your thumb over the chain to hold it securely.
Gently start to wind the tool. If it doesn't push the pin straight then back off a bit and start the winding again. Turn the tool or the chain upside down and retry if the pin still doesn't move outwards straight.
Note that you should only push the joining pin straight out until it just clears the inner link plate. The pin should still be held in place (for joining the chain) by the outer plate. This applies to all chains even if you use a PowerLink.
Btw, joining a chain using the tool uses exactly the same technique but includes an extra step: you need to loosen the joining links on the middle ridge of the tool.
Hold the ends of the chain together with a modified paperclip if you find that it pulls apart and you are not able to hold it in place whilst you are attempting the join.
Btw, hang onto the small sections of chain that you have trimmed off as you might need them at some future point.
I have several chain breakers - for quick breaking, I use the plier shaped tool that can be operated one-handed, but for more precise work, I use a bog standard winding tool (made by Cyclo). Out in the field, I use a cheap Halfords multitool (which works surprisingly well).
I also have the mini Park tool and the Topeak tool for backup purposes.
cheers for the response, I'll get another tool ordered and try some of your suggestions.
Putting them back together is fairly easy using powerlinks.