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How to Use a Wrench

Learn how to use some of the most common wrenches with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Once you’ve found the right wrench for the job, you’ll need to know how to use it. With a little help from Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can learn how to use some of the most common wrenches.

Crescent Wrench

How to Use a Wrench
Wrenches are used for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. Learn how to use some of the most common wrenches.

Common uses: Automotive work, furniture assembly, plumbing and bicycles.

To use a crescent wrench, you need to make sure the movable jaw is forced toward the wrench body. Most of the pressure should be put on the fixed (larger) jaw of the wrench. If you do the opposite, you risk breaking the wrench. Make sure the movable jaw is snug to the fastener you’re working on. A snug fit stops the wrench from slipping and stripping the nut or bolt.

Open End Wrench

Common uses: General fastening and loosening.

Open end wrenches come with U-shaped jaws at each end. Different wrenches come with different size jaws, meant for various bolts and nuts. Simply choose the right size wrench for the fastener, and reposition it after each turn.

Socket Wrench

Common uses: Jobs that require a lot of fastening work and automotive work.

Use the right size socket for the fastener you’re working on. Socket wrenches provide a lot of torque, and can easily strip a nut or bolt if you use the wrong size. To learn more about how socket wrenches work, visit our socket wrench buyer’s guide.

Pipe Wrench

Common uses: Pipe fitting and other under-the-sink plumbing work.

When you’re using a pipe wrench, make sure you have the right size. You need to maintain a small gap between the back of the hook jaw and the pipe you’re working on. The teeth of a pipe wrench will most likely leave marks on your pipes, so don’t use one on your nice fixtures. Don’t use a pipe wrench on a fastener, or you’ll damage the nut or bolt.

Box End Wrench

Common uses: Automotive, home repair, plumbing, etc.

A box end wrench is pretty easy to use. Both ends have enclosed heads. Different size heads fit around different size nuts and bolts. Their firm grip and thin jaw wall are great for jobs in tight spaces.

Allen Wrench

Common uses: Furniture assembly, any job with a hexagonal socket in the bolt or screw head.

Allen wrenches, also known as hex keys, are kind of like a screwdriver and wrench hybrid. The small L-shaped wrenches come in a variety of sizes to match the fasteners you’re working on. The short end of the wrench is inserted into the bolt or screw head, and the long end loosens or tightens the fastener.


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