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[4]

"Crescent" wrench complaint

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hman

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#1
I keep running into the same problem with adjustable wrenches (commonly called "Crescent" wrenches, after the company that popularized them). All too frequently, I'll be trying to tighten or loosen a nut or fitting in an awkward spot, adjust the wrench with the nut/fitting deep inside the jaws, and then be unable to slip the wrench off. It seems as if the jaws are canted toward each other at the outer end. If the jaws fit the nut when it's deep inside, they're too narrow at the open end.

Is it just the way these wrenches are made nowadays? I've had it happen with several different brands and sizes of wrenches. Grump, grump, grump! Wouldn't be anywhere near as bad if it weren't for the fact it always seems to happen in the most awkward positions.

PS - When I close the jaws all the way, they appear to be parallel.

Comments? Advice? Suggestions for brands whose jaws are "well behaved"?
 

tq60

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#2
That is how they work.

Can be a pain but one often cannot get it real tight with the thumb screw but the jaw shape allows it to grip tighter as the wrench slides.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk
 

4ssss

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#3
Believe it or not , there is a right and wrong way to use them. The pressure should be put against the solid jaw. Here's a youtube on how to do it, it actually starts around the 2: 55 mark.

 

DoogieB

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#4
While they have their uses, "awkward spot" and "adjustable wrench" when put together usually end in tears.
 

juiceclone

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#5
I have some older ones, and they don't behave like that. The ones purchased recently are, of course, Chinese and exhibit exactly what U say. It's deliberate, they built them to do that !
 

EmilioG

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#6
I like the Knipex, Hazet and Geodore line of hand tools. I have some older Crescent wrenches, which are also very good.
Channelock also makes a decent line of USA made small hand tools. Older USA Craftsman is another good choice.
PS: I also lube the moving parts of these tools with SuperLube.
 

dlane

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#7
Is it inch or metric, my metric ones do the same as yours, but inch works good :grin:.
 

British Steel

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#8
I like Bahco (Swedish), very smooth and tightly toleranced with jaws that stay parallel - they even have an Irish vernier on the side so you can pick the right (metric) spanner - no use for Colonials still using inches, i suppose...

Dave H. (the other one)
 

Richard King 2

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#9
You get what you pay for. When I have a nut or bolt that I know is going to be tight I use a socket or non adjustable end wrench / box wrench combo. Next summer walk some flee markets and look for the older quality wrenches. I also buy them at auctions. :)
 

RJSakowski

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#10
My crescent wrenches range in size from 2" up to 15"

I would argue that the video in post #3 has it backwards. The weakest jaw is the movable jaw. Rotating the wrench as he shows puts pressure from the point of the nut at the outside of the movable jaw where the leverage creates the most stress on the jaw, the worm. mechanism. Rotating in the opposite direction put the pressure point on the movable jaw much closer to the body of the wrench with less stress.

The original Crescent wrench , introduced in 1907 had the jaws angled off from the handle at 22.5º. Back then, most nuts were square and the offset permitted rotating a nut with a minimum of 45º swing by reversing the direction of the wrench. Modern wrenches vary in the offset but seem to center around 15º which would allow rotating a hex nut with a minimum swing of 30º by reversing the direction of the wrench. Wrenches with offswet angle heads appear back in the mid 19th century patents.

With that piece of circumstantial evidence, I would expect the the wrenches are meant to be used in either direction.
 

T Bredehoft

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#11
I made a few minor mistakes in the process
I agree with this observation, however, when applying heavy torque, it's best to put the stress on the large fixed jaw.
 

Ulma Doctor

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#12
I went all out and purchased a metric adjustable wrench :grin big:
it's sitting right next to my board stretcher and my rope magnet,
you know right above the muffler bearing remover but below the Acme Portable Hole!!!


but seriously the best adjustable wrench i have is a 12" Snap-On adjustable- it was waaaay to expensive when i bought it new
but it has lasted 30 years of getting the snot kicked out if it
 

kd4gij

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#13
I hate when someone uses an adjustable wrench instead of getting the proper wrench. An adjustable wrench is a plumbers tool.
 

Downwindtracker2

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#14
You're wrong, it's a pipefitter's tool, iron fittings are all over the place size wise. The old Williams adjustable Superwrenches were blunt and heavy. Not so handy, but tough. If you find them at a fleamarket, pick them up. We used 15" wrenches a lot, you can't carry a toolbox around with you in a mill, but you can carry a 15" . The best one I had was a Procraft, but sadly it was stolen . They replaced it with a Proto. Most of the later made-in-USA wrenches had the same pattern suggesting the same factory.

Bahco claim to have invented the adjustable wrench, they might be right. Except for the backwards screw, they are good wrenches.

A simple test, pick a wrench up, shake it and, listen to the rattle.
 

Eddyde

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#15
My crescent wrenches range in size from 2" up to 15"

I would argue that the video in post #3 has it backwards. The weakest jaw is the movable jaw. Rotating the wrench as he shows puts pressure from the point of the nut at the outside of the movable jaw where the leverage creates the most stress on the jaw, the worm. mechanism. Rotating in the opposite direction put the pressure point on the movable jaw much closer to the body of the wrench with less stress.

With that piece of circumstantial evidence, I would expect the the wrenches are meant to be used in either direction.
I have seen it mentioned in several books, adjustable wrenches should be always turned towards the movable jaw, as shown in the video. The reasoning is the the movable jaw will be pushed down towards the body of the tool, thus giving it more support. To go the opposite way would lift the jaw away, introducing play and putting more force on weaker areas of the tool.
 

Attachments

Ken from ontario

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#16
'll be trying to tighten or loosen a nut or fitting in an awkward spot, adjust the wrench with the nut/fitting deep inside the jaws, and then be unable to slip the wrench off.
I have two of these wrenches , bought them cheap and both do exactly what you described, very frustrating. but I hardly use them anyway.
 

jwmay

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#17
My only advice would be only use an adjustable wrench when absolutely no other wrench will work. Ofc this means having pretty complete sets of wrenches on size, which can be a pain. I use an adjustable wrench often, and haven’t found any that are less likely to be somewhat problematic. I even bought a really old one. It’s not any better. Just my experience though. Plenty of people have had different experiences I’m sure.
 

RJSakowski

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#18
I carry a 10" crescent wrench in my tractor tool box. That and a pair of vise grips and a couple of screwdrivers have often saved me a walk back to the house for a "proper" wrench.
 

f350ca

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#19
They have their place. I don't know how many I have. One lives between the quick connects of the loader control on the tractor. Its chromed, maybe a Cresent, its been there for close to two decades in the weather and has never rusted. Had one in the storage compartment of the jeep where it got a bit of condensation and rusted solid. Have them at the saw mill, a 8 inch at the Hardinge, 3 or 4 in the tool chest and a 24 inch on the wall. It gets used more for bending and straightening things, not sure its ever been on a nut.
Also have Bahco, that reversed thread is a curse.

Greg
 

eugene13

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#20
Craftsman makes a 10" adjustable wrench with a Vice Grip style tightening lever, you get a good grip and it lets go easy. I have one and use it occasionally. I have always steered apprentices away from using an adjustable wrench, the proper size is the safest, and using them makes you learn to recognize bolt head sizes.
 

RJSakowski

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#21
Craftsman makes a 10" adjustable wrench with a Vice Grip style tightening lever, you get a good grip and it lets go easy. I have one and use it occasionally. I have always steered apprentices away from using an adjustable wrench, the proper size is the safest, and using them makes you learn to recognize bolt head sizes.
I have one of the wrenches like you describe. The amount of tightening is fairly small but it does help. I tend to avoid the adjustable wrenches because the head does flex which can round the points on a stubborn nut or bolt head and because the head is physically larger than an open end wrench head. My preference for tough jobs is a six point box wrench or six point socket.
 

ch2co

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#22
So you got me wondering. I just went through 6 tool boxes (various purposes) and came up with five 12", three 10", four 8", three 6", one 4", and out in the shed, I have one 16" or 18"?. I know that I must have at least 4 or 6 others in various tool boxes vehicle trunks probably 8".
Thats after 65+ years of collecting. Some were my dads, some my grandpa's, but most were from field work jobs where I was totally without tools and ended up buying stuff at the closest tool store. Most of mine are Crescent, but a couple of the 6"ers are Sears all older models made in the USA except one Sears Japanese, which I can't tell from the USA. They all have had a LOT of use some in horrible environments some only in lab or workshop clean environments.
Somehow, early in my youth (in my 30's?) I figured out which direction to use one. Never broke one but dropped a 12"er about 40 feet to a
hardrock surface and little damage.No heads were damaged. I've seen people break them, but either they were a h--- of a lot stronger than me or their choice of tools was from HF e.g. (i.e.?, I never can decide which of those to use) made in China.
 

chips&more

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#23
For me, the adjustable (Crescent) wrench is not the proper tool for nuts and bolts. But have used it for such with caution…Dave
 

Bob Korves

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#24
A few good tests are worth lots of expert opinions. Let Mr. Pete sort it out... :eek 2:
 
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#25
Crescent wrench is a mechanics pliers. I have about a dozen or so. Up to 24" set real crescent brand. If you tighten them to tightly they do have that tendency built in. The trick is tighten them on the end then press down and pull or push with the moving jaw toward the direction you move it. I have a few that lock the jaw when set , they're hard to find but are the best. One set is made with a lock handle ,,vise grip,, style. They lock and stay on the hex wish I could get those in more sizes. I carry a 4" snap on one in my pocket it opens to a 9/16" head bolt. It's done more work out in the field along with my leatherman then I can remember. Use them right they work well.I should clarify I always use wrenches and sockets when able , there are times you need a adjustable wrench. My 24" one has saved lots of money on super large combo wrenches.
 
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owl

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#26
For heavy duty/tight bolts I have a full set of English and metric wrenches, but for light duty, my go to is a 6" crescent (made by the diamond caulk horseshoe company). It is much more convenient to grab than taking out a full set of wrenches and finding the right one.
 

Alittlerusty

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#28
That is a highly customized tool 4gsr ! Good for getting around to to the back side.
 

tq60

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#30
b4b89a25a33a6826e5103ba2eb46adf8.jpg
For when you are not sure...

Genuine crescent brand
 
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