Wrenches and Sets, Hand Tools that Make Life Easier:
Wrenches, also called spanners are a hand-operated tool used for tightening bolts and nuts. This tool functions as a lever with notches at the mouth for gripping. The wrench is pulled at a right angle to the axes of the lever action. There are wrenches that have mouths that can be tightened to better fit various objects that need turning.
Solymon Merrick patented the first wrench in 1835 and Daniel Stillson, a steamboat fireman was granted the second patent in 1870. Stillson invented what is known as the pipe wrench. NASA Engineer John Vranish came up with the idea for a "ratchetless" wrench.
The prototype that Stillson created was patented and Walworth manufactured it. Charles Moncky, invented the first “monkey wrench” in the year 1858 and Robert Owen Jr. invented the ratchet wrench.
Wrenches are an important part of a tool-box or a tool-kit. Other than the Wrench Sets usually found in our homes, there are many different types of wrenches. A few wrenches like the fire hydrant wrench is used for a single purpose while the others like combination wrench or an adjustable wrench can be easily used for many other purposes.
Types of Wrenches
a) Open-ended Wrenches:
These wrenches like the name suggests are open-ended at both ends and the openings are U-shaped. Open-ended wrenches are very useful when dealing with nuts and bolts that are difficult to access.
b) Torque Wrench:
Torque wrenches provide a specific amount of torque for fastening purposes. This helps in avoiding over-tightening of the nut-bolt assembly. Calibrating the wrench will provide the required amount of torque.
c) Pipe Wrench:
A pipe wrench is a type of adjustable wrench. The jaws of this wrench are shaped like a saw and hence this wrench is used mainly for plumbing purposes. But when the pipe wrench is used on soft iron pipes and fittings, the serrated saw-like jaws leave some scratches behind on the surfaces.
d) Adjustable Wrench:
These are open-ended wrenches that can be used only form one end. The size of the opening is not fixed for an adjustable wrench. It can be varied based on the size of the nut and bolt. This wrench can be used on nuts and bolts of multiple sizes.
e) Allen Wrench:
The Allen wrench has a hexagonal end and comes in either a T-shape or an L-shape. These wrenches are used with heads that have hexagonal recesses in them. Allen wrenches are very useful for turning such screws and bolts.
f) Socket Wrench:
A socket wrench fits completely over a nut or a bolt. This kind of wrench also requires a handle and this is the reason most of them have an in-built joint. When you use a socket wrench, you need not remove it from the head of the nut or bolt after the completion of the turn, instead, you can remove and re-insert the wrench while the socket remains on the top of the nut or the bolt.
Wrenches are a crucial part of home improvement tools as they help complete different types of tasks. You can choose the right wrench depending on the type of work you need to do.