The Spanner or your wrench is the tool that allows you to loosen or tighten fasteners easily. Well, you can use it for other applications such as removing pipes and plumbing too. Why should you choose the right tool for your application? What are the side effects of using the wrong tool type? Also, we give some general information on the Spanner in this article. Enjoy!
Many factors are there to consider during the choosing process.
Firstly, we should understand how this tool works. Take a look at this picture to understand the working x=442&y=293&crop=1.) As you can see in the picture, the Spanner fits over the fastener head, allowing you to turn it clockwise or anticlockwise. The part that fits over the fastener head is called the profile (the shape and size.)
You better take a look at this picture too (http://physics-schooluk.com/images/turningeffects.svg.) The friction between the profile and the fastener head prevents slipping. This mechanical grip lets you turn the fastener head by turning the Spanner handle as shown in the picture. So, the handle acts as a lever that magnifies your force. As a result, you can turn a tight fastener by exerting a minimal force.
Over 30 wrench types are available in the market today. Every type is designed to fulfill a specific task. OK, let’s get to know the factors that you should consider when choosing the right tool type for your specific application:
An obvious thing to consider when choosing the right Spanner. The size of the spanner is the distance between the two flat sides of the profile. This distance has to be a bit bigger than the fastener head’s diameter. Manufacturers now mark the size of the profile on the tool, so you can easily determine the right size depending on the diameter of the fastener head.
Choosing a smaller Spanner will prevent you from fitting the profile over the fastener head, and a bigger tool will just slip over the fastener head. In summary, you should confirm the right size of the tool that will fit over the fastener head perfectly.
2) The length:
The length of the Spanner handle plays an important role when loosening or tightening a fastener. The longer the handle length, the greater the lever force created. Which means you should choose a tool with a longer handle for applications where tight, robust fasteners are involved. Anyway, you should be cautious about the magnitude of the turning force that can you exert on a fastener. Every fastener has a breaking point. Exerting a greater force that the fastener head cannot handle will break the fastener head. You can imagine what would happen afterward.
3) The profile:
As mentioned, the profile is the shape and size of the Spanner head. So, you should choose the right profile depending on the fasteners head shape. Choosing the wrong profile will lead to a damaged fastener head, preventing you remove it afterward. The ring Spanner is another alternative to traditional open-end spanners. Take a look at this picture to understand the profile of a ring wrench (http://www.tracepartsonline.net/PartsDefs/Production/FACOM/10-27022007-105356/pictures/10-27022007-105356L.gif.) Some engineers and technicians prefer the ring profile over the traditional profile.
4) The material:
The strength, corrosion-resistance, chemical-resistance, and the finish are the expected properties of the material here. In today’s world, most wrenches are made of a mixed metal (an alloy.) The base metal is steel. Chrome vanadium steel is the widely-used metal alloy for this versatile tool. Chromium and Vanadium are metals that increase the strength and corrosion-resistance of steel. Steel alone is not suitable due to lack of strength and corrosion-resistance properties. Well, Vanadium is an expensive metal, so cheap manufactures use it in small quantities for their products. As a result, the Spanner can get corroded when used for outdoor applications.
Some high-quality Spanner:
types such as scaffold spanners are made with expensive metals, especially; titanium. Titanium is strong, light-weight, versatile, high corrosion-resistance, and longer-lasting. The high price is the only downside of such tools though.
Adjustable wrench or fixed?: To minimize the use of the number of tools that you will need to work with different fastener sizes, modern manufacturers have introduced the adjustable wrench. So, you can save the space in your toolbox (if you buy this tool.) Take a closer look at this picture to understand its features
(https://content.artofmanliness.com/uploads/2013/03/adjustablewrench.jpg.) You can change the profile size by turning the metal wheel. Because it has got additional components, it can be a bit heavier than a general open-end or closed-end Spanner. The choice is yours here. Combination wrench is another name given to this tool type.
Well, so far we have discussed the general Spanner types that are widely being used for day-to-day applications. Anyway, special designs are also there in the market today to fulfill specific applications such as removing bungs, tap aerators, and so on. Stillson wrench is preferred by mechanics and plumbers as it offers a good grip on smoother metal surfaces such as brass taps.
Every Spanner type is designed in such a way to fit for your specific application the most. So, talk to an engineer or a reputable supplier if you are not sure of the right tool type for your application. Choosing the right tool is critical as the wrong tool can damage the fastener, preventing you to remove it. Removing a damaged fastener is a nightmare.
Of course, you should consider the manufacturer too. Well, you don’t need to buy an expensive one for general, residential applications. Storing the Spanner according to manufacturers’ instructions will let you use the tool for a lifetime. Don’t leave the tool outside when not in use. The toolbox is the safest place for any tool. Applying a thin coat of oil will minimize corrosion.
OK, we would like to end the article by giving you some tips on removing rust on your Spanner.
All you need: lemon (lime) and salt. Or, vinegar and salt. OK, if you don’t have vinegar and lemon; you can use baking soda and salt. Mix your available ingredients and prepare a thick paste. Cover the rusted areas with the prepared paste. Leaving the paste until the next day is highly advisable.
Use a toothbrush next day to brush and remove the rust. Don’t use a metal brush as it can damage the spanner. You may need to repeat the process until all rust is gone. Wash the Spanner with soap and water. WD-40 is the best oil to apply on your wrench.