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Thread: Ratchet Spanners

  1. #1
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    Default Ratchet Spanners

    It's over due for me to lay my hands on a set.

    There's the ones that have a hinged head that flips depending on which way the nut is turning.

    hinged.jpg

    Then there's the other type that has a fixed head, and a switch to change direction.

    switched.jpg

    The first looks flimsey, but the second looks like it has a lot of small moving parts for an object that needs to deliver a lot of force.

    some have a fixed head, and no switch (fixed head angle), but in fiddly boaty places you always need a variety of angles. So the hinged is my inclination.

    Any experiences out there?
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Often the clicks are too far apart to work in close quarters and they are hard on your hands long term, ergonomics are important, ask any (old) professional mechanic.

    I have them but rarely use them. They are good to place behind a capscrew on the nut if you can reach it, while you work from the accessible side. If you can afford to buy and keep tools you may use a few times a year go for it.
    (A set of quality open/box end wrenches in short, long and extra long are a nice thing)
    (swivels and flex joints, meh - lost energy. That and I have an aversion to multipurpose tools. Drill press/table saw anyone?

    these: Snap-On in six points, probably no longer made. I hate rounded off fasteners and the guy that did it...
    BCD7EF49-2357-4D6C-BF06-A58947806DA1.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    I have a grand total of one 8mm ratcheting spanner and I like it a lot. I got it as a replacement for a standard one that I dropped into a inaccessible place.
    The only drawback is that the "ring" is thicker than a standard, which means that it doesn't fit on a nut that has a fine clearance.
    I now have two replacements for the one I dropped.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    I've got some old Craftsmen ones that don't have the hinged head - similar to those snap ons. For working on things like vehicles and heavy equipment with tight spacing where getting a nut to turn enough requires flipping a normal crescent back and forth or removing components that aren't the issue, they're a life saver. I don't use them often but when I do they save me tons of frustration and smashed knuckles.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    If you're really stuck for space a ratchet C spanner, can sometimes help..
    61TDRJrn1wS._AC_UL320_.jpg
    Just an amateur bodging away..

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    You usually get what you pay for...

    I got a set as a Christmas present a few years ago, the kind with the 'switch' to reverse the action. So far the only one that's given up is the 3/4" and I admit I probably over-stressed it when I should have been using a box wrench instead.

    The kind you have to flip to reverse are tougher, mechanics where i work prefer those. You get good at knowing what to 'feel' for when you can't see to tell which side is 'up'.

    Both varieties have a place if your toolbox is big enough. I prefer closed 'box' style myself whenever they'll work with >15° access.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Thanks for that input all.
    much appreciated.
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    (A set of quality open/box end wrenches in short, long and extra long are a nice thing)
    thin is also good
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    thin is also good
    Up to a point, tappet wrenches are great, but don't expect much torque from them.
    The better the quality the thinner. I love my snap on tools, smooth and polished they don't injure your hands, and they are about as thin as you get. The older versions are better. I think the apex of quality was mid-70's they are slightly chunkier now, especially the box end. I often buy used on ebay to get the earlier versions. ( They are date coded by the lettering font and or a symbol disguised in the part number.)


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    last week i needed a replacement wrench, my tools are still in storage in michigan, so i went to home depot and bought a small set of combination wrenches for $50 or so

    i got home and was so appalled by the chuckiness and finish on their signature brand that i took them back unopened and borrowed a wrench from my landlord* instead

    *retired volvo mechanic from sweden and he has a beautiful set of tools, not snap-on, no brand name that i recognized, but so well made and finished
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Bahco ... good stuff
    I have a few of their wrenches and pliers, the finish is not "Snap On" chrome, often unplated perhaps to avoid Hydrogen embrittlement? But that steel is second to none. Swedish steel eh?
    No BS there... I have never seen a broken Volvo crankshaft, or even one that needed regrinding unless it was run out of oil.
    One adjustable wrench in particular is only 7"-1/2" long (fits in your pocket) yet opens to a full 1-1/4" and has a wee pinch bar at the dumb end. Amazing and strong, the best adjustable wrench ever.
    (It is part of my lathe now, fits every fastener on it including the through bolt for the Aloris tool holder and the chuck jaws to rotate the spindle)
    Snap-On's most recent line of adjustable wrenches are made by Bahco, although I prefer the older line, forged in USA and no longer available.

    7DFA2333-B3A8-4626-9518-92C62BEBD317.jpg

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Now Snap-on owns Bahco/sandvik. For cutting/scraping the older bahco sandvik stuff is way better. Not sure if it was buyouts or enviro regs, but something changed (rumor is sandvik sandplate died because of enviro regs but I can’t understand why or verify)

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    "In 1999, the company acquired Bahco, a Swedish hand tool brand." wiki
    Which not coincidentally, is when I stopped buying many of their tools new, and started looking at date codes at the flea market and now ebay.

    (I just hope they don't go the way of Craftsman, which made very nice, svelte and strong mechanics hand tools up through the 1960's, then Pffff - they turned to sh!t)
    We have bean-counters to thank for that. And like K-Mart, someone figured out the money in that company (Sears) was in real estate.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    A set of these are also very handy -- better than the adapter-plus-regular-socket -- because they stack shorter and you can get into smaller places.

    swivel sockets.jpg

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Yes they are! (those with a cylindrical center are special for an impact "gun") For hand tools they will have a square section in the center and a broader range of motion, but will fail catastrophically used with a gun. Might even hurt you. I have a pal that is missing his two front teeth from making that mistake. (like these)
    (I once "repaired" the power steering on a '57 chevy that had a 3/8" u-joint socket welded into the steering shaft (omg! The entire car was controlled by an 1/8" roll pin!)


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Most of my 'Snap-on' branded tools date from 1979, pretty good stuff. When I last exchanged a Craftsman ratchet wrench, I was disappointed at the poor 'feel' when I held it in my hand. I don't even try to use it very often (Fortunately, I have others)




    Rick

  17. #17
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    Default

    I have Gearwrench sets - metric and standard- and like ‘em a lot.

    Ken


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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    I have a set of those hinged ones from Bunnings Trev’, cheap, functional and worth the $$ - I wouldn’t try to put a whole lot of crank on them but they’ve been very handy for getting 99% of the doing/undoing where I can’t get a socket in place
    Larks

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Ratchet Spanners

    Yeah I'll go for the hinged ones.
    I don't have much call for really bearing down, but I have other tools for that.
    As you say Larks - 99%
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

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