If you have never used a strap wrench before, you don’t know what you are missing. They are extremely versatile and handy tools that are useful for a number of jobs.
While they are often used by plumbers, they are suitable for a wide range of applications and are a very handy tool to add to your collection.As many people are not that familiar with the tool, quite a few people are confused about how to use a strap wrench. Quite a few people think they are difficult to operate and confusing. We will explain how easy they are to use shortly. First, let’s look at exactly what a strap wrench is.
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What is a strap wrench?
As the name suggests, a strap wrench is a tool used to loosen or tighten nuts, bolts or fittings by means of a strap. The strap is attached to a handle fitted with a heel. The heel is used to create tension between the strap and the object needing adjustment. The handle gives you leverage.
The handle is generally made from metal although some or wood or plastic. The straps used to be made from leather while now most are rubber or a flexible nylon. You also get more heavy-duty strap wrenches that use a chain strap or woven nylon. These are mostly used by auto mechanics.
Advantages of using a Strap Wrench
This versatile tool has a number of advantages over traditional wrenches.
- It is fully adjustable and flexible so can be used on a wide range of different size fittings or nuts and bolts. It is particularly useful for larger connections that you don’t have a big enough wrench for.
- This versatility also makes it useful in tight spaces where it might be difficult to get a fixed rigid wrench into. The strap can even be opened and fed around the item you need to tighten or loosen.
- A strap wrench is also very handy where nuts and bolts have become worn down or rusted. It is often difficult to get a good grip on these with a traditional wrench whereas a strap wrench will often do it with ease.
- It is also useful for items that are supposed to be opened or closed by hand but have become difficult to shit. They even work on bottles or jars.
- The strap wrench is excellent for plumbing fittings and other plastic connections as it can grip firmly without scratching or damaging the material. The same applies to chrome and other metal fittings.
How to Use a Strap Wrench
The strap wrench is a lot easier to use than most people imagine. There are slight differences depending on the material used for the strap but essentially, all follow the same principle.
Slide the strap over the object to be adjusted or open the strap, feed it around the object and reinsert the strap. Make sure there are no twists in the strap. Then tighten the loop and pinch it between the heel of the strap wrench and the item you wish to tighten or loosen. It is self-tightening so there is nothing else you need to do but turn it in the right direction.
You can only go in one direction and this will depend on which side the heel is placed. Many of them have an arrow to show you. If you have it the wrong way, simply take it off, turn it over and start again. You will soon get the hang of it.You can get different size strap wrenches depending on what you are working on. If you find the strap is slipping, on chrome, for example, you can try putting tape around the area you are trying to grip. The first few times using a strap wrench might seem tricky but before long you will have mastered it and you will wonder how you ever lived without it before.
As you can see, the strap wrench is an extremely useful tool for many different jobs in the home or workshop. You will soon discover how easy they are to use and how often they come in handy. Most strap wrenches are very reasonably priced so it is well worth investing in one or two different sizes.
Next time you need to tighten a pipe or replace a washer, a strap wrench will make it a quick and easy job. You can do your work with ease without any damage to the materials you are working with. They are also perfect from frustrating nuts and bolts that you just can grip with a normal wrench. A strap wrench will make your life easier.