In this post we are going to talk about all the different wrenches we use in our shop. We will start with some straightforward safety policies and then go into depth on each of the common wrenches that get used for builds.
All wrenches have different manufacturers and sizes and there are quite a lot available. But here are the most common.
Each wrench has its own place in the shop. Common sense but it is important to use the right tool/wrench for the right job.
Wrenches come in 2 different measurement systems which are standard (Imperial) and metric.
Safety tip 1 – when using any wrench never work at head or eye level, a slip and you could get a black eye or worse. And always keep a well-balanced stance.
Safety tip 2 – Never use a pipe extension bar (or cheater bar) to obtain more torque. These can snap and cause injury.
The Standard Wrench
Your standard wrench comes in many different sizes and lengths and it is used for one action, which is tightening or loosening nuts and bolts. Depending on the size of your nut or bolt you will most likely need to bring a wrench set with you to ensure you have the correct size wrench for the job. The longer the wrench arm the more torque you have to access and apply.
On the end of some wrenches there is a circular enclosed area where the tool can fit the nut or bolt and you don not have to repeatedly adjust position during your tightening or loosening process. This will allow you to freely spin the wrench in one direction until the nut or bolt stops, this makes the process much faster. If you choose to use this circular wrench part make sure when you apply the wrench to the bolt or nut that you are flush to the base of the material to ensure you do not stipe around your nut or bolt.
The Ratchet Wrench
Ratchet wrenches are wrenches that have a ratchet on one side (or even both) that you can apply a nut or bolt and tighten or loosen with the traditional wrench slip that may occur. These wrenches have a mechanism that allows you to tighten or loosen the nut or bolt with a free swing that reloads the mechanism allowing you to quickly tighten or loosen a nut or bolt. Some Ratchet Wrenches have a lever that adjusts its mode into tightening or loosening and others you flip over the access the opposite mode.
The Adjustable Wrench
These are the most used wrenches due to their one size fits all ability. Crescent Wrenched have a dial located beneath the wedges that allow you to select the size needed for the job. These wrenches come in handy because they allow you to cut down on bring in an array of standard wrenches, socket wrenches and rachets. Crescent Wrenches really are a great tool! However, you must be careful to slip on the nut or bolt too much creating a rounding affect. As these wrenches can slightly adjust while in use. A good practice is to keep your finger on the dial that adjust the forks to ensure the wrench stays tight while around the nut or bolt in action. Always make sure to tighten or loosen the nut or bolt you are working on with the ‘Big Arm/Fork’ on the wrench behind. If you place the force on the smaller fork this may damage it as it doesn’t have the strength as the larger one.
Socket Wrenches allow you to quickly remove or install bolts or nuts by tightening or loosening in one direction and free spinning and reloading in the other. They a lever or dial located ontop to toggle the tightening or loosening function. Socket wrenches are used with different sized sockets that are used to fit around the nut or bolt you are working with and adjust it. Again, it is important to make sure you select the proper size of socket to use to avoid stripping or damaging the nut, bolt, socket you are working on. To switch out your socket, many socket wrenches have a button or area that needs to be pushed in before it will release the socket. This ensures the socket does work its way off while in use which could lead to injury or damaging the product you are working on. Socket wrenches are great for applications where there may be tight spaces since you do not have to remove or apply the wrench repeatedly, simply only just cranking and reloading your swing.
A clamp wrench is a handy to grab hold of the part you are working with and not let go. There is a dial located at the back of the wrench that allows you select the desired locking point of these wrenches. Then, when you grab onto the material needed you squeeze the handle until it locks on. This allows you to remove your hand and continue working. These also come in all shapes and sizes with an array of useability. Such as clamping material together, or down to a work bench. Or loosening or tightening without having to be worried about constant grip strength. Overall its great tool!
The last but not least the Pipe Wrench. The purpose of a pipe wrench is to grip and turn a soft pipe or round fitting. Do not use a pipe on hard material because the teeth may damage the material you are working on. Applying a pipe wrench to a threaded would have a negative result because the teeth would crimp the thread and ruin its ability to screw onto or into another material. Again they come in many sizes which are generally stamped on the side of the wrench. They work with a torque power you apply when tightening or loosening the pipe you are working on. When using place the teeth or the ridges of the wrench around the pipe when you begin to turn. The teeth bite down harder allowing you to use a stronger grip due to the amount of pressure you are applying. It is though very important to not over tighten the material you are working with since pipe wrenches can apply a large amount of force.