A wrench is an invaluable tool for general repair and maintenance. The grip and mechanical advantage it provides enables the user to apply torque to turn nuts and bolts.
Three of the most common wrenches found in American homes are the pipe wrench, the adjustable wrench and the combination wrench.
As its name suggests, the pipe wrench is used on for the maintenance and repair of pipes of the soft iron variety. A pipe wrench is also used on other fittings with a rounded surface like rods and bolts.
Typically, a pipe wrench is composed of an upper hook jaw and a lower heel jaw, both connected to a flat handle. The lower jaw is adjustable to the size of the metal object. Forward pressure on the handle pulls the jaws closer for ease of gripping and turning. Usually made of aluminum or steel, pipe wrenches are available in various sizes measured by the length of the handle.
The most popular among pipe wrenches is the straight wrench, designed by Daniel C. Stillson in 1869. A variation, the offset wrench, is useful in constricted spaces and when the objects that need to be turned are at an awkward angle. The end pipe wrench is used on pipes that are overhead, close to a wall or at an angle where they change direction.
The user of a pipe wrench must exercise caution; this tool must not be used on hard metals or square objects as both of these can cause severe damage to it. Special teeth and jaw kits are usually purchased alongside to repair broken wrenches.
Among the most versatile of home repair tools, an adjustable wrench can be used on a wide variety of nuts and bolts.
While the top portion of this tool remains stationary, the screw located at the bottom must be turned to adjust the grip. The movable jaw must be located on the side of rotation to prevent slippage and damage. When dirt or dried grease makes it difficult to turn the screw on the adjustable wrench, simple cleaning-and-lubrication acts as the perfect remedy.
Taking the market by storm are automatic adjustable wrenches that negate the need for manual effort by turning the screw at the push of a button.
A combination wrench is a double-ended tool used to tighten or loosen nuts from bolts. One end of this tool is open while the other is boxed or ringed. Each combination wrench fits a specific bolt size. A set of combination wrenches is sold in multiple size increments.
While a metric combination wrench set is designed for use on European vehicles, an American one is utilized on made-in-USA products. Heavy-duty sets contain combination wrenches up to three feet in length that are used in the construction industry or on larger vehicles like trucks.
Thus, wrenches are essential components of tool kits for homes, building sites, auto garages and all other places offering construction, repair and maintenance services.