In any toolbox, what we commonly see is a wrench which is one of the best bolt tightening or loosening tools. It is mandatory to carry a wrench set of required sizes for tightening or loosening screws, nuts or bolts at our work. Along with the types and sizes, it is also important to know how to use a wrench properly, which we explained below in detail.
What is a Wrench Tool and What it is Used for?
A wrench, also known as a spanner is a tool that is used to tighten nuts and bolts. It has a stout lever with a notch on either or both ends to fasten bolts and nuts. The movement is that of a twist through pulling the wrench at right angles. It provides torque to turn objects (nuts and bolts) to tighten them. Wrenches come in different shapes, sizes and varieties, created for each specific bolt and nut type.
How to Use a Wrench?
There are multiple kinds of wrenches. They can range according to their usage, from professional work to household utility. Each type designed to fasten a particular type of bolt or nut. Thus, each type of wrench requires a different motion to fasten or loosen the required nut. Let’s see how to tighten or loosen the bolts with different types of wrenches.
- Adjustable Wrench: One of the most popular and commonly used wrench categories. This wrench type is a little sturdier and heavier compared to others. It has a crescent shape with an adjustable spiral screw, and you can adjust it according to the size of the bolt.
- Allen Wrench: The other name for this is Hex key. It is an L-shaped or T-shaped wrench that works for bolts and screws with hexagonal recess.
- Box-ended Wrench: This type of wrench usually comes in a set of different sizes. It is used to fasten hexagonal or square bolts with closed loops at both ends. The two ends aren’t on the same plane and situated at a higher and lower level.
- Combination Wrench: It is a synthesis of the open-ended and box-ended wrench. The two-type design allows it to perform the diversified function of screwing and fastening two different types of nuts or bolts. One end has a closed-loop while the other is one crescent.
- Lug Wrench: It is usually an X-shaped wrench with four ends opening up to four different sockets that close on nuts. This type of wrench used on the nuts in cars and trucks.
- Open-ended Wrench: An open-ended wrench consists of two U-shaped open ends, each with a different size. Thus, one can use it for nuts and bolts of different sizes. An open-ended wrench works well with pipes and tube nuts. They are one of the most common and easily available wrenches.
- Crowfoot Wrenches: Crowfoot wrench mostly used with a ratchet wrench for optimum use. They are popular especially for their box-like grip and commonly used with repair work in steam trains. The name crowfoot denotes its shape, which resembles the claws of a crow. They are open-ended-box type wrenches.
Safety Measures to Followed while Using a Wrench
For using any type or variety of wrenches, one need to follow some general rules for properly using the tool. These rules are,
- One should use the correct wrench with the appropriate jaw for complete contact with the nut or bolt. The right side of the wrench and the correct fit is important before applying any pressure.
- An appropriate grip will ensure that work done with convenience and safety from any kind of slippage or breakage.
- It is imperative to always pull the wrench instead of pushing it. There are high chances of injury if the wrench slips while pushing it to fasten the bolt. Also, one must use the heel of the hand to push the wrench to ensure safety for the hand.
- A perfectly fitted wrench needs no added leverage or pressure. Therefore, it is better to avoid any extra leverage since it can damage the wrench by bending its handle or can even cause injury to the user if it slips due to added weight.
- If the wrench gets stuck, resort to professional help instead of trying to force it out or loosen it by hitting with a hammer.
- One should prefer strong, sturdy and good quality wrenches. They will last longer will be safer in the application.
- One should not cock an open-end wrench. The nut or bolt should be fully engaged to prevent any slippage.
- One should not use a damaged, bent, cracked or severely worn-out wrench.
If you don’t have a wrench, you can heat the bolt to loosen it. Use the propane torch for about 10 to 15 seconds. And remember, the flame from that torch should be half inch away from the bolt. Now, you can use the zip-tie or coins to loosen the bolts.
A wrench is an important tool. Its varieties offer a multi-purpose utility. It is essential to use a good quality, well-fitted type of wrench for a specific purpose while taking all the necessary safety measures. Different types of wrenches are available in the market. There are more than 40 varieties, each suited for a specific purpose. Therefore, it is important to choose the best wrench set and understand the design and purpose of each wrench for increasing the utility of the toolbox.