How to use an adjustable wrench

Wrenches are useful for tightening or loosening bolts, nuts, and other fasteners. You probably have a lot of wrenches in your toolbox, and they are either fixed end or adjustable. A fixed end wrench is made so that the ends are molded by the manufacturer into a certain size. The ends are either round or square, and they can range from a quarter of an inch to several inches in diameter. This type of tool is fine for many applications, but you’ll an entire set of fixed end wrenches in your tool box. That way, you’ll be sure to have one to fit any diameter nut or bolt.

Adjustable wrenches, on the other hand, have an advantage because, as their name implies, they have a gripping head that has a pair of jaws that can be adjusted to fit a variety of fastener diameters. Two of the most popular adjustable wrenches are pipe wrenches and crescent wrenches. A pipe wrench is a heavy duty steel tool that comes in different sizes. No matter its size, it’s designed to be used on plumbing applications. If you need to loosen a drain fitting underneath your kitchen sink or tighten a loose pipe in your bathroom, then a steel pipe wrench would be your best choice of tools for the job.

A Crescent wrench is another type of adjustable tool that is used for all other fittings, nuts, bolts, and other fasteners that are not related to plumbing. It’s pair of jaws can be adjusted by turning a circular wheel located on its head. A Crescent wrench is a heavy duty steel tool that can be used for most any type of application, including auto repair, installing a mail box, tightening the loose seat on your bicycle, et cetera. This type of wrench comes in all different sizes, ranging in handle size from four to twenty four inches long. So, there’s a size available that will meet all of your needs.

To use an adjustable wrench properly, you’ll need to choose the right sized wrench for the job. That is, don’t try to tighten a quarter inch bolt with a Crescent wrench that has a twenty four inch handle! Be sure that you match the job at hand with the proper sized wrench.

Then, you should adjust the jaws so they just slide over the object. The jaws must fit entirely around the nut, bolt, or fastener, and fit snugly. In order to adjust the gripping head of a pipe wrench, you’ll need to locate and turn the circular wheel that’s located just below the head. If you turn the wheel to the right, then the jaws of the head move in closer. Turn the wheel to the left, and the jaws will move apart until you either stop turning, or, they reach the end.

Then, turn the handle of the wrench either to the left or to the right to loosen or tighten the object. In some cases, where you have plenty of room, you can actually spin the handle of a pipe wrench or a Crescent wrench and make the job go quicker.

You might be thinking by now that since adjustable wrenches are so versatile that they might be the only wrench you’ll ever need. Not so! While they are adept at handling many types of diameters, keep in mind that an adjustable wrench can only be used where you have adequate space. That is, after the jaws of the head are securely placed on a nut, bolt, or fitting, you must have enough space to turn the handle- either to the left or to the right- so you can either loosen or tighten it.

Adjustable wrenches have a certain amount of strength in their jaws, but, if you use this tool to loosen to tighten a stubborn, hard to turn fastener or fitting, it can easily slip off. For small spaces, a ratchet and a socket would probably work better.

Adjustable wrenches

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