When working on various assemblies that involve the use of nuts, bolts, and other various rounded metal pieces, it is common to use a wrench for tightening and loosening objects. Depending on the types of fasteners present and other various factors, a number of wrenches may be used. One popular type of wrench for installation and removing rounded objects is the pipe wrench, and it is commonly used on bolts, pipes, and rods. As a common tool for those working in a number of industries, it can be beneficial to have a basic understanding of their design, application, and subtypes.
A standard pipe wrench will feature an upper hook jaw and a lower heel jaw, the two being attached onto a flat handle that is held by the user. For the ability to grip down onto objects, each jaw will feature small teeth or grooves that clamp down onto rounded surfaces. To accommodate for the fact that objects may vary in size, the lower jaw may be adjusted up and down. Additionally, pipe wrenches also come in a few different sizes and types to further diversify their use.
When using a pipe wrench for various applications, it is important to note that they should not be used on hard metals like steel or square-shaped objects as the design of the wrench’s teeth may cause surface damage. Furthermore, the back of the hook jaw should always have a clearance of a half an inch when gripping an object so that there is no risk of damage or user injury. In the case that an accident does occur and the pipe wrench is damaged, there are many instances in which the tool can be repaired with a teeth and jaw kit.
When it comes down to types, there are three main variations of pipe wrenches: straight, offset, and end pipe types. The straight wrench is the oldest and most popular of the family, first being designed in 1869. As a general purpose option, straight wrenches are a common element of any tool set. Straight wrenches tend to come in sizes ranging from 9 to 60 inches, the measurement denoting the length of the handle.
With the offset wrench, one can have an easier time working on fasteners and rounded objects that are situated in space restricted areas that prevent the swinging of the wrench handle. Additionally, they can also be used to rotate objects when they are at an odd angle or in situations where a pipe is placed in parallel with another component. Unlike other types, the jaw of the offset wrench is placed parallel with the handle of the wrench, and the jaw head has a narrow design.
As the last common form of pipe wrench, the end pipe wrench is a tool best used on pipes and rounded objects that are installed close to a wall or changing directions. As the hook and heel jaw are both angled slightly from the wrench handle, the end pipe wrench can optimally grab onto objects within tight spaces. As another use, these tools also are commonly relied on for overhead pipe operations.
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