Adjustable vs Fixed Spanners

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cerro

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If you notice on the photo of the snap=on socket set the sockets are rounded in the corners that is so the pressure is applied on the flats, instead of the corners like other sockets. makes them much stronger in use.
 

Richard_C

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I don't much like adjustables but will use one if I have to. One thing that's not been mentioned is that they have bigger and chunkier heads, awkward in confined spaces and heavy/unbalanced if you are using for long periods.

I don't really get the love of combination spanners. Ideal I guess if you need to start with ring and finish with oe in the same space, but to get a set of (say) 10 sizes you need 10 combination spanners. You can get the same range from 5 oe and 5 ring, with the advantage that if you have a through bolt with a same sized nut at the other end you have a spanner for each end, not so with combinations.

A general observation, slightly or but perhaps relevant to spanner enthusiasts I did a lot of car fixing for myself and friends back in the 70s,much less now. Back then I mostly used 1/2 inch drive sockets on mostly cast iron engines and gearboxes. Sometimes resorting to 3/4 drive on hubs and transmission shafts. As time went on and lighter mostly alloy engines appeared I got a nice Kamasa 3/8 drive set that was the go-to choice and still serves me well. But now, I use a small Bahco 1/4 drive set a lot and resort to the 3/8 if I have to. Those 1/2 inch sockets seem awfully big and clunky these days.

Sometimes you realise that good designers think about maintenance. We had a couple of Citroen Dyanes and a 2cv. Designed to be looked after by anyone anywhere. You could do a full service with a spark plug spanner, which also undid the oil drain, a ring spanner (13mm from memory) and a #2 Philips screwdriver. 3 tools in your pocket and off you went. The starting handle other end undid the wheel nuts and, if necessary, the bolts that held the wings on. If you came across something those tools didn't fit, you knew you were trying to undo the wrong thing. Elegance and economy of design.
 

Shan

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I don't much like adjustables but will use one if I have to. One thing that's not been mentioned is that they have bigger and chunkier heads, awkward in confined spaces and heavy/unbalanced if you are using for long periods.

I don't really get the love of combination spanners. Ideal I guess if you need to start with ring and finish with oe in the same space, but to get a set of (say) 10 sizes you need 10 combination spanners. You can get the same range from 5 oe and 5 ring, with the advantage that if you have a through bolt with a same sized nut at the other end you have a spanner for each end, not so with combinations.

A general observation, slightly or but perhaps relevant to spanner enthusiasts I did a lot of car fixing for myself and friends back in the 70s,much less now. Back then I mostly used 1/2 inch drive sockets on mostly cast iron engines and gearboxes. Sometimes resorting to 3/4 drive on hubs and transmission shafts. As time went on and lighter mostly alloy engines appeared I got a nice Kamasa 3/8 drive set that was the go-to choice and still serves me well. But now, I use a small Bahco 1/4 drive set a lot and resort to the 3/8 if I have to. Those 1/2 inch sockets seem awfully big and clunky these days.

Sometimes you realise that good designers think about maintenance. We had a couple of Citroen Dyanes and a 2cv. Designed to be looked after by anyone anywhere. You could do a full service with a spark plug spanner, which also undid the oil drain, a ring spanner (13mm from memory) and a #2 Philips screwdriver. 3 tools in your pocket and off you went. The starting handle other end undid the wheel nuts and, if necessary, the bolts that held the wings on. If you came across something those tools didn't fit, you knew you were trying to undo the wrong thing. Elegance and economy of design.
I'm a big fan of my Bahco adjustable. Ideally use a ring or open ended shifter if possible but the Bahco has been brilliant over the years. Thin jaws that often get into tight places like on bicycle hubs for example. Handy having the etched mm on the side as often use this to get the right sized spanner. Taken some beatings on occasions and still working fine.

However for the toughest nuts the vise or mole grips are great. They often muller the nut but as a last resort have proved life savers.
 

loftyhermes

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A few of my Bahco's, amassed during my time as a Coal Prep. Fitter.
20220620_101837.jpg
 

glenfield2

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I don't much like adjustables but will use one if I have to. One thing that's not been mentioned is that they have bigger and chunkier heads, awkward in confined spaces and heavy/unbalanced if you are using for long periods.

I don't really get the love of combination spanners. Ideal I guess if you need to start with ring and finish with oe in the same space, but to get a set of (say) 10 sizes you need 10 combination spanners. You can get the same range from 5 oe and 5 ring, with the advantage that if you have a through bolt with a same sized nut at the other end you have a spanner for each end, not so with combinations.

A general observation, slightly or but perhaps relevant to spanner enthusiasts I did a lot of car fixing for myself and friends back in the 70s,much less now. Back then I mostly used 1/2 inch drive sockets on mostly cast iron engines and gearboxes. Sometimes resorting to 3/4 drive on hubs and transmission shafts. As time went on and lighter mostly alloy engines appeared I got a nice Kamasa 3/8 drive set that was the go-to choice and still serves me well. But now, I use a small Bahco 1/4 drive set a lot and resort to the 3/8 if I have to. Those 1/2 inch sockets seem awfully big and clunky these days.

Sometimes you realise that good designers think about maintenance. We had a couple of Citroen Dyanes and a 2cv. Designed to be looked after by anyone anywhere. You could do a full service with a spark plug spanner, which also undid the oil drain, a ring spanner (13mm from memory) and a #2 Philips screwdriver. 3 tools in your pocket and off you went. The starting handle other end undid the wheel nuts and, if necessary, the bolts that held the wings on. If you came across something those tools didn't fit, you knew you were trying to undo the wrong thing. Elegance and economy of design.
I owned various ancient British cars in my youthful motoring days back in the 60s and 70s. You were lucky if you got any rusted up bolt undone with any sort of spanner.
Then I got my first equally elderly VW Beetle and I was amazed that bolts just came straight undone with my metric sockets. My eyes were opened to the difference in engineering standards.
 

hawkeyefxr

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I am with the spanners use, i always use the right size spanner for the job. That goes for sockets as well but they must be single hex not multi hex as they can round off or badly damage a really tight nut.
BUT i have to admit i do have adjustable spanner, two smaller ones and two of the normal ones. These are Snap-On adjustables that are guaranteed for life, i have had them for 25 years or more now and they are just like i purchased them. At £40.00 each for the larger ones you would expect that. I only really used these when i worked in the air-con trade as then all the fitting were the American AF type of spanner and space at a premium in my tool box.
Working on my bike always spanners and sockets!
 

Dalboy

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I have adjustable in the tool box but prefer to use proper spanners. What annoys me most with the idiots out there that the do not know how to use an adjustable correctly and insist on tightening and loosening the wrong way then wonder why they hit their knuckles on the nearest chunk of metal.
Yes there is a right way and wrong way
 

Sideways

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I wonder how widely known it is that there is a stronger and and a weaker way to use an adjustable spanner ?

It's also interesting that the vast majority of the internet seems think it's the wrong way round. I wrote this post, decided to edit it to add a picture and was surprised to find all the images I could google tell you to use it the wrong way !
The debate has been had before over on the garage journal.
Question on use of Adjustable Wrench see post number 9

I'm not a fanboy of snap-on by a long way but I believe that the advice they give is the right stuff and in this instance 95% of the internet is simply wrong as they don't understand the mechanics of what's going on.

In summary, an adjustable with a fixed top jaw and a moving lower jaw is stronger if you use it with the fixed jaw leading whether you are tightening or loosening a fastener.

The logic is that spanners never make uniform contact all along the flat jaws, the pressure is concentrated at points. The leading jaw makes contact out near the tip of the jaw and the trailing jaw makes contact near the handle. This is why Facom were able to make a strange design of rapid spanner that has most of one jaw completely missing. The stronger jaw of an adjustable is the fixed one so that should lead the way when the spanner is turned. The moving jaw is the weaker one so to bring the contact point close to the handle and minimise leverage on this weaker jaw, it should be the trailing one when you are cranking on the spanner.

This means that you ideally reverse the orientation of an adjustable between tightening and loosening.
 
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hawkeyefxr

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Never sure if that means tool life or purchaser life. If the latter, then snap on is excellent value for a 25 year old with 60 years life expectancy to go, less good for someone like me at 70🙂
Having nice tools just feels good, a friend of mine has the biggest mixture of spanner and sockets you would believe. Different sizes and types, AF, Whit, Metric.
As for Snap On, in the mid 70's i found a Snap On screwdriver in the road, it looked like it had had a hard life, i still have it it and use it quite a lot, but it looks and works as it should do. I call that a long life.
Snapon never ask when you bought the tool, at least they never asked me when i took a terminal screwdriver back as the end had snapped. Just got an apology and the changed the blade.
 
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