Keys are essential elements in our toolbox , both at home and professional level. However, many times we have keys that we never use because we are not sure what they are for, that is why it is worth analyzing them one by one in order to discover their usefulness.
We could define wrenches as manual tightening tools, since they are used to tighten screws and nuts of different sizes, which generally have an external or internal hexagonal shape. These keys are common in our homes, but also in small specialized workshops.
It is important to mention that they come in different measurement systems, so sometimes we must convert from inches to centimeters according to the European standard, while on other occasions it is necessary to take centimeters to inches, especially in the case of cars and American appliances.
There is a specific manual wrench for each task, so the result obtained in activities as different as repairing the car, adjusting a pipe or installing the best extractor hood depends on whether we have chosen the correct tool.
Classification of keys according to the mouth
We can classify the keys into two large groups; fixed and adjustable. The fixed wrench is the most common in workshops at a domestic and professional level. It is a resistant steel tool manufactured in one single piece, so it can be used in jobs that require applying force to tighten. In this case, the mouth of each key has a specific measurement. For its part, the adjustable wrench has the peculiarity that it has an adjustable mouth, in this way, it is possible to modify the opening by means of a simple mechanism to adapt it to the size of the nut or screw.
The most common fixed keys
This is one of the most popular flat end wrenches in the world, it is a straight tool that has a U-shaped open mouth at each end. Generally, the two jaws have different openings, so it is advisable to have a set of Spanish spanners to choose one depending on the size of the nut or bolt. The most common measurements are from 6 to 32 mm, but it is possible to find keys with openings of up to 50 mm.
The distinguishing feature of a ring wrench is that it has closed jaws, therefore it can fully embrace the nut or bolt head. Thanks to this, it allows easier turns and at the same time offers greater torque. It is very easy to recognize, because it has 12-point star-shaped holes at the ends, which facilitate the adjustment of hexagonal elements.
This is a very versatile flat key, since it has a U-shaped open mouth at one end and a star-shaped closed at the other, thus offering two options to adapt it to the need of the moment. Combination wrenches are widely used in automotive mechanics and come with jaws of different sizes.
Although it is a fixed wrench, it has a fundamental difference with respect to flat wrenches, since its structure is oblique, that is, it is shaped like an elbow at the ends, for this reason, the elbow wrench is very useful to the time to reach nuts and bolts in tight, hard-to-reach corners. In this case, the jaws are closed in a star shape for a better grip.
It is a flat star wrench, but with the particularity that in its closed jaws it incorporates a ratchet system very similar to that of ratchet wrenches, which allows a faster adjustment without having to reposition the tool many times. It is indicated for easy tightening of low torque elements, but it is not prepared for the heavy work.
Socket wrenches, as the name implies, are tubular in shape, where the ends are two internal hexagonal sockets. In this sense, they are used as a complement, since they must be actuated by a rod. This is a good option for tightening screws that need a certain level of torque and are in intricate places.
This hex key is strong, efficient and lightweight. It is generally used to tighten set screws. In addition, in some cases it comes with a T-shaped handle to offer an ergonomic grip. It is worth mentioning that it is called an Allen key due to the success of the American company that has the same name, however, in Germany it is known as Inbus, which refers to the patented system in that country, while in Italy it is called brugola. in honor of the inventor Egidio Brugola.
The main adjustable wrenches
Among the most useful tools is the wrench, hence its great popularity throughout the world. Its main advantage is that it incorporates an adjustable element in the mouth, which with the help of an endless screw, allows the opening to be adjusted according to the shape and size of the nut, for this reason, it is capable of replacing a complete set of wrenches. fixed. This type of wrench is very useful in cases where a delicate tightening is required so as not to damage the material of the element that we are adjusting.
A stilson wrench is a very useful tool for large jobs. It is named after the American inventor Daniel Chapman Stillson and has a similar function to the wrench, but instead of a screw it has a rack and a threaded ring that join the fixed part with the mobile. The Stillson wrench is also known as a tap wrench, since its mouth has a great opening capacity, which is why it is widely used for plumbing.
The torque wrench is one of the most practical and efficient sockets. Although it is similar to the ratchet, its difference is that it allows control of the tightening torque, since it has an internal mechanism that prevents over-adjustment, thus protecting the screw material. In this sense, you only have to select the tightening torque on the torque wrench to carry out the work with greater confidence.