Tools & Workshop

Radio: Wrench Roundup

When you have to tighten a nut, bolt, or other standard fastener, you need a wrench. But what kind?

Listen to ON WRENCHES or read the text below:

Wrench types include open-end, box-end, and combination. Open-end wrenches, with their U-shape, slide easily onto a nut or bolt. Box-end wrenches have closed ends with 6, 8, 12 or 16 points inside the head. Because the box end completely surrounds the fastener, it offers a firm grip. Combination wrenches have one open end and one closed end.

An adjustable wrench is an open-ended wrench with one fixed and one adjustable jaw. It gets points for flexibility, but it usually lacks the gripping strengh of a fixed wrench. And its bulky head isn't ideal for tight spaces.

Wrenches are sized in inches or metric. If you can afford only one set and do mostly household repairs, go with inches. If you do a lot of auto work, you'll need a metric set. Or you can go for a combination set, which is usually cheaper than buying wrenches individually.

Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to-or reading-Bob's 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on tools, consider:

Radio: Levels
Radio: Tool Tip - Sandpaper
Radio: Power Drills