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Thread: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

  1. #1
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    Default I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    I have been messing about with wooden boats for fifty one years. Over that time I have acquired some familiarity with the hand tools that one uses on wood, and have acquired, as one does, rather more tools than I need.

    When it comes to spanners and such like I have just bought the cheapest.

    I am now reconsidering this, as I now own a boat with rather more “engineering” about her.

    I found I had some old spanners, picked up at car boot sales, which were less rubbishy. One in particular seems rather nicer and has the interesting name KING DICK on it. I realise now that spanners are not all the same, any more than planes and handsaws and chisels are.

    What are the spanner equivalents of Stanley, Record, Disston and so on? What should I look for?
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    King Dick is still in busuness.
    https://www.kingdicktools.co.uk/info...-king-dick-100

    They would seem a good choice if you wish to buy made in the UK.

    In the USA, Snap-On is well regarded by the pros.
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Quote Originally Posted by SMARTINSEN View Post
    King Dick is still in busuness.
    https://www.kingdicktools.co.uk/info...-king-dick-100

    They would seem a good choice if you wish to buy made in the UK.

    In the USA, Snap-On is well regarded by the pros.
    Thank you. And now I know that King Dick was the name of the prize bulldog owned by the owner of the business, around 1900, and they have a delightfully amateurish website and promotional video, so they will get some business from me!
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    I have some King Dick stuff but only adjustable spanners, pipe wrenches, No standard open ended or ring spanners. For us growing up King Dick was the synonym for an adjustable spanner. like Mole grips for what I believe the Yanquis call vise wrenches. Snap-On even fifty years ago in the UK when I had a gofer saturday job at the BRM development works, also the BMW Scimitar and Lotus agents owned and run by Peter Berthon's widow, Friday afternoon the Snap-On tool van would pull in and the mechanics would flock round like kids around the Mr Whippy ice cream van. main selling point, easy credit terms, when a spanner cost ten times more than any other make, and complete and unconditional lifetime replacement guarantee. and you could only buy Snap-On from the Snap-On man...sort of professional snobbery, but it worked.
    Last edited by jonboy; 05-27-2021 at 07:06 PM.

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Snap on is very good quality and if you don't lose it it is warranted forever.

    I pretty much use them for everything mechanical.
    There is a robust ebay market of snap-on tools about 1/2 retail price, still the same guarantee. They will warranty a tool for rust or a rounded corner by example. I even have British standard/Whitworth in snap-on.

    edit to add: Both steel quality and tolerances are tighter and damaged fasteners are infrequent, non-existent really.

    I have tested snap-on wrenches to destruction and rather than break and hurt you they fail rather predictably by bending. I lost the end of a finger when a Craftsman socket broke about 40 years ago. When they were still considered a good brand with the same warranty as snap-on. None of them will give you you fingers and knuckles back, so I switched to the best qualityI could get. I have never broken a Snap-on socket, the fasteners give up first.
    Last edited by Canoeyawl; 05-27-2021 at 07:33 PM.

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    I received a set of Snap-on tools in 1979, when I started my career in computer repair / install - 3 years ago, I noticed the ratchet screwdriver was not working as it used to - I stopped by a Snap-on van at my local car repair facility, and spoke with the rep. He told me there had been a ratchet rebuild kit, which was now no longer available. He promised to followup with his corporate folks, and while we spoke, I ordered a few bits from him. Imagine my surprise 2 weeks later, when I received a new ratchet screwdriver from the corporate office AND the 'discontinued' ratchet repair kit . I now have 2 working ratchet screwdrivers.

    Rick

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Where you are makes all the difference. In the US, SnapOn has a great reputation, as does Mac Tools. For real fun in a bar, a SnapOn/Mac fight can be better than a Ford/Chevy fight. There was (is?) a third competitor in the sell out of a truck to the professionals market, but the name is escaping me right now... I started saving money when I found out that Lowe's house brand (Kobolt) was made in SnapOn factories, but that stopped when Lowes bought Craftsman. In the UK, King Dick has a great reputation, and on the continent, Hazet (German) is similar in both quality and price. I'm not entirely sure about Swiss-Tool spanners, but they make great things like hex wrenches, Torx screwdrivers, etc.

    I started looking for some King Dick tools when I was putting together the set to carry in my Land Rover, because the only thing more foolish than driving about in an old Rover is driving about in an old Rover without the tools you will need. Before I placed the order, etc. I went to a car show where there were some used Hazets for sale, so I have those in the Rover but King Dick is still on the list.

    There is a forum at GarageJournal.com that has great tool discussions. Strongly held opinions, etc... but at the very least, worth lurking.
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Also worth considering Halfords 'Professional' range. Very high quality and a similar guarantee to SnapOn. Not cheap, but less pricey than SnapOn.

    Originally recommended to me by a classic car mechanic, I have had a socket set for about 15 years and a number of spanners bought as required. I've only invoked the guarantee once (socket burst under extreme provocation by a tommy bar); Halfords (the nearest branch, not the one I bought the set at) replaced the 10 year old item without quibble.
    Nick

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    As mentioned above, tool brands can create arguments as good as those about car brands. Buying mechanic's tools is like most other tools - you can see quality - or the lack thereof. SnapOn is indeed high quality, though it took them years to catch up to some other mfr's in ratchet quality. Like any other tools, there is also personal preference. I have an SK ratchet & deep sockets that I prefer over anything SnapOn - though most of my other wrenches are SnapOn. I also have some Stahlwille (German) - very high quality. I have some very thin wrenches of theirs that are wonderful for getting into tight spaces.

    Cheap tools make work that can be frustrating enough even more so.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    SK and Proto were always perfectly good tools but its hard to beat the Snap-on warranty.
    Back in the day the "Snap-on Guy" used to roll up to the shop on Friday when everyone was flush with cash. We bought everything on time; $10 a week. If you you got in deep it might get upped to $15-20. We had a little book like a bank book and the guy would sign off every week. I got a complete set of metric straight wrenchs for less than 50% that he had to re-po from a guy that wasnt making his payments. He had etched his initial in all the wrenches but I just put 'em on the wire wheel for a bit.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Another SnapOn fan here. Though I have some Craftsman wrenches and sockets that are at least 40 years old and have never let me down, and the ratchet handles are marvelously smooth and easy to work.

    Besides precision, strength and warranty, there are details. Garret mentioned thickness. Also, screwdrivers with a small length of square section just after the handle where you can apply a wrench. Etc.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    I'd forgotten Proto! I have some of those too. SnapOn salesmen do vary in quality. A good one would really be helpful, an indifferent one less so. I needed some clutch head screwdrivers & the salesman tracked some down in a truck several hundred miles away - as the warehouse no longer stocked 'em. Same thing with a missing Whitworth wrench. The indifferent ones just say "Sorry - not in the warehouse"
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    For those of us who won't be running to Snap-On prices, advice on other brands worth following up? In Canada, Gray Tools at least used to be a good manufacturer .. dunno if they still exist, or if the quality is still up there.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    My name is Schooner Rat, and I'm a tool addict.

    I have a general repair toolbox, 2 electrical kits, a plumbing kit, a box specific to my 3D printer, and I'm now beginning one for my CNC. My wood tools live mainly in cabinets cuz they don't have to travel much. I also have some half dozen other tool boxes, but I won't count them as they've been designated as parts storage for electronic bits and pieces.

    There's a lot of duplication with things like wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and files. Cheaper tools are fine for plastic. That's what is mostly in my 3D kit. I have a crappy set of chisels for doing things that a chisel can, but shouldn't. High end cutters and pliers mostly live with my electrical set and lesser quality in my general construction box and 3D kit.

    I love high-end tools, but when I buy duplicates I usually limit myself to one high quality tool. If the wrench in my 3D kit isn't up to the job, I walk outside, disable an alarm, unlock a gate and/or a door and get a tool that is.

    The last time I drooled over a Snap-On truck, I was told that the lifetime warranty was soon to undergo changes. IIRC, certain tools were no longer to be covered. Does anybody have first-hand info on that. I'm not in a Google mood. Thanks.
    Schooner sailors love to get blown offshore!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    I think there is a rabbit hole of generous proportions opening up before me.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    I think there is a rabbit hole of generous proportions opening up before me.
    Absolutely!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    The last time I drooled over a Snap-On truck, I was told that the lifetime warranty was soon to undergo changes. IIRC, certain tools were no longer to be covered. Does anybody have first-hand info on that. I'm not in a Google mood. Thanks.
    I'll believe that when I see it. They have a hundred years riding on that warranty. They are selling fancy and sensitive computer diagnostic equipment now that might have a different warranty.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I'll believe that when I see it. They have a hundred years riding on that warranty. They are selling fancy and sensitive computer diagnostic equipment now that might have a different warranty.
    Electronics do not have the same warranty. Tools, AFAIK, are basically forever.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    They had the best damn timing light money could buy......in 1979.....

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Quote Originally Posted by willin woodworks View Post
    They had the best damn timing light money could buy......in 1979.....
    I still have mine. Used it last fall on the CC!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Some electrical stuff is replaced or repaired no problem.
    Test lights, remote start buttons, my old style meters if they have parts, basically analog stuff.

    Edit to add: "Ferret" made as good or perhaps better timing light for $400, but after 25 years they were bought out by MSD and a few features were dropped. The ability to detect Diesel line pulse to set timing (piezo clamp) was a feature later offered by snap-on, and a variable strobe feature, which could determine the rpm of anything. But there's an phone app for that now!
    Last edited by Canoeyawl; 05-28-2021 at 01:49 PM.

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Some electrical stuff is replaced or repaired no problem.
    Test lights, remote start buttons, my old style meters if they have parts, basically analog stuff.
    @ $5 per bulb from SnapOn, I now get a regular interior light bulbs for my test light from the auto parts store - $2 for 2.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  23. #23
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Yeah, but if the alligator clip/wire fails it was not a problem. No one in their left mind will warranty a bulb in a test light. Those 12v bulbs (or 12v radios)
    don't like 24v tractors which a lot of them are.
    But a 24v bulb will last forever on 12v!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    another prop to snap-on
    one other thing that is a plus is they are built to smaller tolerances and radiused edges - meaning they fit in tighter quarters more easily, especially their sockets, socket extensions, and ratchets
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Every Snap-On Wrench/ socket/ screwdriver or whatever has a part numbering system. If you learn that number you can search ebay for about 1/2 price and as mentioned the warranty still holds. I have purchased used, rusted or worn snap-on tools and traded them in for new. There is system in place now where you can warrantee by phone and they will use your local vendor (the truck guy) Be advised there are "military" versions with a significant marker in the item number that they will not warrantee. These are not too common.
    (There is a passionate group of collectors for snap-on stuff, that will drive the price on some items (Like British standard/Whitworth) stay away from that stuff. Some of that stuff just comes to me as a novelty I have a 1929 hand held tool box that I keep my British stuff in and one of the very first "indexable" socket drivers, pre ratchet)

  26. #26
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    another prop to snap-on
    one other thing that is a plus is they are built to smaller tolerances and radiused edges - meaning they fit in tighter quarters more easily, especially their sockets, socket extensions, and ratchets
    To do that successfully they have to use superior materials

  27. #27
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Well, I just bought a set of Whitworth spanners made by King Dick. My excuse is a 1946 Seagull.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  28. #28
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    You won't go wrong with Snap On.Then you might look at Britool,Teng,Mac,Facom or Stahlwille.Halford's Professional are very,very close.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Another vote for Halford's Pro range.

    Nick

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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Andrew

    You might find this link helpful in dealing with converting BSW/BSF/AF/metric spanner sizes.
    http://www.baconsdozen.co.uk/tools/c...n%20charts.htm

    Nick

  31. #31
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Yeah, but if the alligator clip/wire fails it was not a problem. No one in their left mind will warranty a bulb in a test light. Those 12v bulbs (or 12v radios)
    don't like 24v tractors which a lot of them are.
    But a 24v bulb will last forever on 12v!
    Of course not! I was talking about the high price.

    I have to tell a tool story. In the 90's a friend was starting a TV station near here & had to deal with all sorts of FCC stuff. He had put me on the board as treasurer, so I went to DC with him. We met with the attorney (one must be a "special" FCC attorney it seems) who was giving us a special rate of only $350/hour. Anyway, as I was going over the bill, I saw a line item for $25K for "Computer Equipment". I asked what that was & he replied "We have a very expensive computer network here, so we have to add a charge for it." I'd seen how big the office was & did a quick calc. "So you have somewhere near $250K in your system?" He looked a bit surprised & answered yes.

    I then said (guessing/knowing the answer) "What kind of car do you drive?" ""BMW" [nailed it in one]. I then asked "Do you get service done at the dealer or an independent?" "Oh, I've got this great guy who works by himself & is a BMW specialist". I said "Does he charge you extra for his tools?" "Well of course not! But his tools aren't anywhere near as expensive as our computers!". I said "If he really is a long-time BMW specialist, he charges 1/4 or what you do & has $150K worth of tools." He laughed & said "Yeah right." "OK, double or nothing - if he doesn't, we'll pay you double on this charge. If he does, you take it off & don't bill us for computers again" My friend Chris is looking at me nervously... The attorney said "You're on!" & called the mechanic. I heard him say "I've got a guy here who tells me you've got $150K in tools & I think he's nuts". He was silent for a while, said "OK, thanks" & hung up. He then picked up the phone, called his secretary & said "Please remove all computer charges from WCVT's bills"
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  32. #32
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Yup...
    I know that story

  33. #33
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    For those of us who won't be running to Snap-On prices, advice on other brands worth following up? In Canada, Gray Tools at least used to be a good manufacturer .. dunno if they still exist, or if the quality is still up there.
    Gray is still around.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Tools

    I have Proto and Husky(thanks dad,RIP),but not Home Despot Husky, and Gray for socket sets up to 1/2" drive.
    The 3/4 drive is un branded Taiwanese.

    Wrenches are mostly Taiwanese generic auto parts store brands like Unitool ,Westward and Mastercraft.
    Tough enough without being stupidly expensive,so I haven't been afraid to thin down an 11/16 (17 mm?)with a grinder so I could change my planer knives.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Personally I buy both proto and Blackhawk stuff used and it's great. Snap on is certainly nice if you can afford it. Old Craftsman is also good. For new I like tekton and gearwrench. I use tools professionally on boats, by definition the environment is hostile and doing shipwright work often requires abuse of tools. I don't carry or use many tools that I'm not willing to modify or abuse.
    Last edited by Pelirrojo; 05-29-2021 at 12:23 AM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: I would like some advice on wrenches, or spanners...

    Halford pro stuff isn't bad and mostly they will honour the replacement guarantee .
    But, I bought a box set of combination open ended and ratchet ring spanners, 8 to 19 mm about ten years ago on a trip to UK. hadn't had them long and first the 13mm ratchet failed, then the 10. Took them back and the shop where I bought them just took the whole box and gave me a new one off the shelf., no questions, good service. At the time I bought a couple 13mm, another 10, and a couple of individual sizes that weren't in the box set. 12, and 15 I think.
    within a year the ten had failed again, one 13 was on intermittent mode and the other literally fell to pieces, but it was the one not from the set. When I went back a while later, next trip to UK. Halford's wriggled out with a no receipt no exchange excuse, and when I told them about the first time, The manager said 'What' he shouldn't have done that'
    'OK I'll take it up with head office and Facebook. I'm not on Face book but someone said its a better threat these days than writing to head office.
    Very begrudgingly he replaced them.
    I'm still satisfied with the service but I just don't think I'll buy ratchet spanners from Halfords, the quality is simply not there. Three failures in 11 spanners in two or three years.
    Beta and Teng are good here and a decent supplier will usually have imperial sizes as most ordinary tool shops and home depot types only ever have metric. Got my bro to send me a set of inch, AF Allen keys from BC as i couldn't get them anywhere here except amazon and they weren't a make I knew. made in china of course

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