Fastening and prying tools are made to either put things together or take things apart. These tools include pliers, hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, and bars. In this chapter, you will learn about different types of fastening and prying tools and their uses. You will also learn how to select the right tool for the job, use and read various types of tools, and provide the proper care of fastening and prying tools to keep them in good working condition.

When you have completed this chapter, you will be able to:



Pliers are a special type of adjustable wrench that are scissor-shaped tools with jaws. The jaws usually have teeth to help grip objects and are adjustable because the two handles move on a pivot. Pliers are made of hardened steel and come with different head styles that determine their use. Pliers are used to hold, cut, and bend wire and soft metals.

Types and Uses

Slip-Joint Pliers

The slip-joint combination pliers have serrated (grooved) jaws, a rod-gripping section, a cutting edge, and a pivot. The serrated jaws and rod-gripping section are used to hold objects. The cutting edge permits the cutting of soft wire and nails. However, cutting hard materials or large-gauge wire will spring the jaws, making the pliers useless. The pivot is used to adjust the jaw opening to handle large or small objects.

Diagonal Cutting Pliers

The diagonal cutting pliers have a fixed pivot. The jaws are offset by about 15 degrees and are shaped to give enough knuckle clearance while making flush cuts. The diagonal cutting pliers are used for cutting small, light materials, such as wire, cotter pins, and similar materials. These pliers are not to be used to hold or grip objects.

Lineman’s Pliers

The lineman’s pliers have serrated jaws, a rod-gripping section, side cutters, a wire cropper, a fixed pivot, and parallel handles. The flat, serrated jaws are used to bend sheet metal and twist electrical wire. The rodgripping section is used to hold rods and bend small rods. The side cutters are located just above the pivot point, where maximum pressure may be applied.

They are ground at an angle, permitting sharp flush cuts on electrical wire. A pair of croppers is located above the pivot. They are used to shear larger wire. Lineman’s pliers used around electrical circuits have insulated sleeves over the handles to reduce the possibility of electrical shock.

Parallel Jaw Pliers

The parallel jaw pliers are constructed so that the jaws remain parallel to each other throughout the entire distance of travel. They have two jaws two jaws, a pivot pin, curved handles, and tension springs. The tension springs are contained within the curved handles and will open the jaws when the handles are released. These pliers are used to grip objects that have flat surfaces.

Long Nose Pliers (Needle Nose Pliers)

Long nose pliers--also known as needle nose pliers. The pointed nose makes them useful for work in tight places where other pliers cannot reach. The jaws and cutting blades meet evenly.

Flat Nose Pliers

The flat nose pliers have flat serrated jaws, a fixed pivot, and curved handles that may have insulated sleeves. These pliers are used to bend light sheet metal and wire.

Round Nose Pliers

The round nose pliers are used to make loops in soft wire. It has jaws that are smooth and round, a fixed pivot, and curved handles, which may have insulated sleeves.

Straight-Lip Flat-Jaw Tongs

The straight-lip flat-jaw tongs have two straight jaws, a fixed pivot point, and long, straight handles. These tongs are used to hold bearings and bearing inserts while they are set in place.

End Cutting Pliers

The end cutting pliers are used to cut wire flush to the working surface. They are designed to keep hands and fingers safely away from the wire ends.

Wire Strippers (Multipurpose)

Wire strippers are used to strip insulation from electrical cord. When closed around wire, only the insulation is cut. The wire core remains undamaged.

Vise Grip (Locking) Pliers

A vise grip is a type of locking pliers. One side of the handle has an adjusting screw used to set the size of the jaws. Some models also include a lever on the opposite side of the bolt to unlock the pliers by pushing the handles apart.

Tongue and Groove (Channel Lock) Pliers

Tongue and groove pliers, also known as channel lock pliers, are shown in. They have multiple size adjustments that make them good for gripping and applying limited torque to round, square, flat, and hexagonal objects. Their jaws may be straight, smooth, or curved. They are used mostly in plumbing and electrical.

Wire-Twister Pliers or Safety Wire Pliers

Wire-twister pliers or safety wire pliers are three-way pliers: they hold, twist, and cut. Safety wiring is the most positive and satisfactory method of safety tying. It is a method of wiring two or more units. The tendency of one unit to loosen is counteracted by the tightening of the wire.

To operate, grasp the wire between the two diagonal jaws, and the thumb will bring the locking sleeve into place. A pull on the knob twirls the twister, making uniform twists in the wire. The spiral rod may be pushed back into the twister without unlocking it, and another pull on the knob will give a tighter twist to the wire. A squeeze on the handle unlocks the twister, and the wire can be cut to the desired length with the side cutter. The spiral of the twister should be lubricated occasionally. Examples of safety wiring nuts, bolts, and screws are illustrated in Figure1. The Examples 1, 2, and 5 illustrate the proper method of safety wiring bolts, screws, square head plugs, and similar parts that are wired in pairs. In Examples 6 and 7, a single-threaded component wired to a housing or lug is shown. In Example 3, several components are wired in series. The proper method of wiring castellated nuts and studs is shown in Example 4. Note that there is no loop around the nut.

Figure 1 — Safety wire methods.

Using Pliers

Using Slip-Joint Pliers


The following procedure for bending the ends of a cotter pin after installation is not the only use of slip-joint pliers.

Use slip-joint pliers as follows:

  1. With the cotter pin installed, push the rounded head of the cotter pin with the thumb of one hand. Grasp the long section of the cotter pin with the pliers (Figure 2), and bend it back flat against the metal surface or nut.
  2. Grasp the other section of the cotter pin and bend it back flat against the metal surface or nut (Figure 3).
  3. Adjust the pliers to obtain a wide jaw opening (Figure 4).

Too much pressure can break the cotter pin or spring the plier jaws.

  1. Place the plier jaws around both bent ends of the cotter pin (Figure 5) and apply pressure on the handles, bending the cotter pin ends flush.

Figure 2 — Grasp the long section of the cotter pin.

Figure 3 — Grasp the other section of the cotter pin.

Figure 4 — Adjust the pliers

Figure 5 — Bend both ends of the cotter pins flush.


Using Diagonal Cutting Pliers


Wear eye protection. Keep fingers away from the jaws and cutting edges.



Diagonal cutting pliers are to be used only for cutting.



The following procedure for the removal of a cotter pin is not the only use of diagonal cutting pliers.

Use the diagonal cutting pliers as follows:

  1. Position the cutters so the rounded end of the cotter pin is between the cutting jaws (Figure 6).
  2. Close the cutting jaws by applying pressure to the handles. Closing the jaws will shear off the end of the cotter pin.

Figure 6 — Using a diagonal cutting pliers.

Using Lineman’s Side Cutting Pliers


The following procedure for twisting wires is not the only use of lineman’s side cutting pliers.

Use the lineman side cutting pliers as follows:

  1. Using one hand, hold the wires to be twisted just above the point where the twist is to begin (Figure 7).
  2. Grasp the ends of the wires firmly on the serrated jaws and twist the pliers (Figure 8).
  3. Continue twisting the pliers until the wire has been twisted to the desired length.
  4. Open the plier jaws and place the ends of the twisted wires between the cutting edges. Trim the ends of the wire (Figure 9).

Figure 7 — Hold the wires to be twisted

Figure 8 — Twist the pliers.

Figure 9 — Trim the ends of the wire.

Using Vise Grip Pliers

Use vise grip pliers as follows:

  1. Place the jaws on the object to be held.
  2. Turn the adjusting screw until the pliers grip the object.
  3. Lock the pliers by squeezing the handles together.
  4. To remove the pliers, squeeze the release lever.

Care of Pliers and Tongs

Misuse of pliers can cause injury. Here are some guidelines to remember when working with pliers:


- To Table of Contents -


A hammer is a tool used to deliver an impact to an object. Hammers are mostly used to drive nails, fit parts, or break up objects. There are many types of hammers designed for specific uses, which vary in shape and structure. Most hammers include a handle and a head, with most of the weight in the head. The strongest, safest hammers have heads made of tough alloy (two or more metals) or drop-forged steel. The two main types of hammers are claw and ball peen.

Types and Uses

Claw Hammer

The parts of a claw hammer are shown above. Use the flat head to drive nails, wedges, and dowels. Use the two-pronged claw to remove nails from wood.

Bell-faced Hammer

The bell-faced hammer has a slightly rounded (convex) face. It takes some practice to become skilled with this hammer, but it can help you drive a nail head flush to the wood without marring the surface of the wood.

Finish Hammer

The finish hammer is a claw hammer used for cabinet making, finishing, and general carpentry. It has a lightweight head with a smooth face that keeps it from marring the surface of the wood. It has a curved claw for removing nails from wood.

Framing Hammer

The framing hammer is a claw hammer with an oversized head used in framing carpentry. The larger, heavier head improves the user’s accuracy and decreases the number of blows required to fully drive the nail into the wood. This hammer may leave slight indentations in the surface of the wood, but that is not important in rough carpentry. The claw on a framing hammer is straighter than on a regular claw hammer; it is used to pry apart nailed boards.

Framing hammers often have a milled or waffle face, as shown below, which helps prevent the hammer from slipping off the nail head if the nail is not struck precisely.

Ball Peen Hammer

The parts of a ball peen hammer are shown above. A ball peen hammer is used on metal for tasks, such as riveting, center punching, and bending or shaping soft metal. The head of this hammer is soft and will dent if used to pound nails.

Roofing Hammer

The roofing hammer is used to drive roofing nails. It has several special features, including a cutting blade for trimming shingles. A roofing gauge on the hammer is used to ensure proper shingle spacing.


The sledgehammer is used for projects that need great force, such as breaking up concrete or driving heavy spikes or stakes. A sledgehammer head is made of a high-carbon steel, weighs between 2 and 20 pounds, and has a handle 14 to 36 inches long. The shape of a sledgehammer head depends on the job for which it will be used.

Jeweler’s Hammer

The jeweler’s hammer has a lightweight head weighing between 1 ¾ and 2 ounces. It is used to drive pins and shafts from precision instruments.

Tack Hammer

The tack hammer is used to drive small nails and tacks, as in furniture upholstery. The tack hammer has a magnetic face that can hold small tacks, as well as a regular face for driving tacks.

Drywall Hammer

The drywall hammer is used to set nails in drywall. It has a blade that can be used for both scoring drywall and cutting small holes. There is a notch in the blade for removing exposed nails.

Masonry Hammer

The masonry hammer is used for setting or splitting bricks and for chipping excess mortar from bricks. The striking surface is small, square, and blunt for breaking or setting bricks. The sharp surface is curved and chisel-like for scoring brick.

Napping Hammer

The napping hammer) has a high carbon steel head with two tapered faces and weighs about 3 pounds. It is used for chipping stone surfaces or for forming stones during road construction or similar stone work.

Riveting Hammer

The riveting hammer has a round face on one end of the head. It is used for peening rivet heads. The other end has a tapered chisel that is used for upsetting rivets.

Sawmaker’s Hammer

The sawmaker’s hammer has a tapered blunt face on one end of the head and a tapered chisel face on the other end. It is used for setting the teeth on saws when a setting tool is unavailable.

Tile Hammer

The tile hammer is very similar to a masonry hammer, although it may be smaller. It has a sharp surface for scoring tile and a striking surface for breaking tile.

Setting Hammer

The setting hammer has a square, flat face on one end of the head and a sloping, beveled edge on the other end. It is used in sheet metal work for leveling and bending edges and for setting double seams.

Soft-Faced Hammer

Soft-faced hammers are capable of delivering heavy blows to machined, highly polished, or soft surfaces without damaging the surface.

Lead or Copper Hammer

Lead or copper hammers are usually used for aligning steel surfaces. Copper hammers range in head weight from 8 ounces up to 3 pounds. Working surfaces of lead and copper hammers may be filed to restore even faces. Molds are available for repouring lead hammers.

Inserted Soft-Faced Hammer

Inserted soft-faced hammers provide the user with a dual-purpose hammer. Any two faces may be assembled on a single handle holder.

The following tables (Tables 1 and 2) will assist you in selecting the proper face hardness for the task you are attempting.

Table 1 — Hardness Color Codes

Faces and handle holders are available in 1-, 1 1/2-, 2-, 2 1/2- and 3-inch diameters.

Table 2 — Conversion Chart for Face Selection

Trimmer’s Hammer

The trimmer’s hammer has a round, flat face on one end of the head and a tapered chisel face on the other end. A claw is attached on the end of the handle and is used for pulling tacks. It is used for installing tacks and brads.

Welder’s Hammer

The welder’s hammer has one or two tapered chisel faces. The welder’s hammers, having only one tapered face, will have a replaceable brush attached. The hammer face is used for chipping welds, while the brush is used for cleaning welds and brushing away the slag chipped from the weld.

Dead Blow Hammers

The dead blow hammer is a shot-filled, rubber-encased, single-piece hammer. It features a wrap-around grip and a flanged butt. Four basic types of dead blow hammers are currently in use: the standard head, slim-line head, sledge, and ball peen. Some advantages of the dead blow hammers are greater striking power and the elimination of broken heads and splintered handles.

Carpenter’s Mallet

The carpenter’s mallet has a cylindrical wooden head often bound with thin metal bands for support. It is used for driving dowels, small stakes, and wooden-handled chisels and for forming and shaping sheet metal.

Tinner’s Mallet

The tinner’s mallet has a cylindrical wooden head that is from 1 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter and from 3 to 6 inches in length. It is used to form and shape sheet metal.

Rubber Mallet

The rubber mallet is used to drive chisels or to hammer joints together. There are various shapes and sizes for accomplishing specific tasks.

Rawhide Mallet

The rawhide mallet is used for projects that need significant pressure and whose final appearance would be marred by impact marks.

Railroad Track Maul

The railroad track maul has a flat-faced, tapered head that weighs about 10 pounds. It is used for driving railroad track spikes.

Wooden Maul

The wooden maul has a cylindrical head that is about 8 inches in diameter and about 10 inches long. It is used to drive wooden pickets, posts, and stakes.

Using Hammers

Using a Claw Hammer

Follow these steps to use a claw hammer properly when you drive a nail:

  1. Hold the nail straight, at a 90-degree angle to the surface you are nailing.
  2. Grip the handle of the hammer, holding the end of the handle even with the lower edge of your palm.
  3. Start with the face of the hammer resting on the nail.
  4. Pull the hammer back and tap the nail lightly a few times to start it.
  5. Move your fingers away from the nail, and then hit the nail firmly with the center of the hammer face. Hold the hammer level with the head of the nail and strike the face squarely. Deliver the blow through your wrist, your elbow, and your shoulder.

Follow these steps to pull a nail with a hammer claw:

  1. Slip the claw of the hammer under the nail head. Pull until the handle is nearly straight up and the nail is partly drawn out of the wood.
  2. Pull the nail straight up out of the wood.

Using a Ball Peen Hammer

Using a ball peen hammer is similar to using a claw hammer. Follow these steps:

  1. Grip the handle. Keep the end of the handle flush with the lower edge of your palm and the face of the hammer parallel to the work.
  2. Use the face for hammering. Use the ball peen for rounding off (peening) rivets and similar jobs.

Care of Hammers

Use the following guidelines when working with hammers:

Replacing the Handle

Removing the Old Hammer Handle

  1. If the handle is split or broken, remove it from the head.
  2. If the handle is too tight to pull loose from the head, proceed as follows:

Installing the New Handle

  1. Obtain a new handle and wedges.
  2. Insert the handle in the head.

Wear eye protection and watch the fingers.

  1. Seat the handle in the head with a rubber mallet 10.
  2. Drive the wooden wedge in the handle face with the hammer (Figure 11).

Figure 10 — Seat the handle.

Figure 11 — Drive the wooden wedge in the handle.

  1. Place the hammer in a vise. Using a handsaw, remove the projecting end of the wedge.
  2. Remove the excess portion of the wedge using a wood rasp (Figure 12).
  3. Select the metal wedge and drive it into the wooden wedge with the hammer (Figure 13).

Figure 12 — Remove excess portion of the wedge.

Figure 13 — Drive metal wedge into wooden handle.

  1. Remove the excess portion of the wedge using a bench grinder (Figure 14). Check the handle. If it is tight, the task is complete. If the handle is loose, repeat the procedure.

Figure 14 — Remove excess portion of metal wedge.


- To Table of Contents -


A screwdriver is a device used to insert and tighten screws or to loosen and remove screws. A screwdriver has a head or tip that connects with a screw, a mechanism to apply torque by rotating that tip, and a way to position and support the screwdriver. A typical manual screwdriver is made up of a roughly cylindrical handle, with a shaft fixed to the handle, including a tip shaped to fit a particular type of screw. The handle and shaft support and position the screwdriver, and apply torque when rotated. The blade is made of tempered steel so it will resist wear, bending, and breaking.

There are many different types of screwdrivers, identified by the type of screws they fit. Some of the more common types of screwdrivers are flat head, Phillips® head, clutch drive, TORX, Robertson, and Allen (hex).

Types and Uses

Flat (Slot) Head Screwdriver

The flat head screwdriver is used to drive and remove standard slotted screws. It can have a round or square shank and ranges in size from 1/6 to 1/4 inch. The tip of this screwdriver is flared at the shoulder of the blade so that it is wider than the driver bar.

Phillips® Head Screwdriver

The Phillips® head screwdriver is used to tighten and loosen Phillips® head screws. It is the most common type of crosshead screwdriver and ranges in size from 0 to 4, 0 being the smallest.

Clutch Drive Screwdriver

The clutch drive screwdriver is used to tighten and loosen clutch head screws, which are shaped like an hourglass. The clutch drive screw has extra holding power, especially for use in cars and appliances.

Offset Screwdrivers

Offset screwdrivers are used to drive or remove screws that cannot be lined up straight with common screwdrivers, or that are located in tight corners. Some offset screwdrivers are made with two blades, one of a different size at each end. Others are ratchet-type offset, which are reversible for working in tight spots and allow the screw to be driven without having to remove the tip from the screw head. A double-tip offset screwdriver has four blades.

TORX Screwdriver

The TORX screwdriver is used to tighten and loosen six-point star head screws. TORX head screws are used in cars, appliances, and lawn and garden equipment.

Ratchet Screwdrivers

Ratchet screwdrivers are used to drive or remove small screws rapidly. The spiral ratchet screwdriver automatically drives or removes screws. It can be adjusted to turn left or right, or can be locked to act as a common screwdriver. Some spiral ratchets have a spring in the handle that automatically returns the handle for the next stroke.

Spiral ratchet screwdriver

Another style of ratchet screwdriver has a knurled collar for rotating the blade with your fingers. The spiral type has separate blades that are inserted in the chuck. The common ratchet screwdriver has one integral blade.

Screwdriver Bits

Screwdriver bit set.

A screwdriver bit is a screwdriver blade with a square, hex, or notched shank so that it can be used with other tools.

Jeweler’s Screwdrivers

Jeweler’s screwdrivers  are made for driving and removing small screws. They usually have knurled handles and a swivel-end finger rest plate. The tips range from 0.025 to 0.1406 inch wide. Some jeweler’s screwdrivers have removable blades.

Flexible Screwdrivers

 A flexible screwdriver has a spring steel blade that bends, allowing the user to get around flanges, shoulders, and other parts to drive and remove screws.

Radio and Pocket Screwdrivers

A radio screwdriver has a round blade that is 1 1/2 inches long. Its use is restricted to very small screws generally used in the construction of radio chassis. The pocket screwdriver is also small, with a square blade that is 1 3/4 inches long. Both screwdrivers have pocket clips.

Screw Starter or Gimlet

A screw starter or gimlet has a threaded tip. It is used to make a pilot hole in wood for wood screws.

Robertson Screwdriver

The Robertson screwdriver has a square drive that yields high torque power. It is useful to reach screws sunk below the surface of the material.

Allen (Hex) Screwdriver

The Allen (hex) screwdriver set contains several sizes that are attached to and fold into a metal carrying case. It is also known as a hex key or hex wrench and is used on screws with hexagonal slots. It is useful for recessed socket head screws.

Using a Screwdriver

Use a screwdriver correctly so you do not damage the screwdriver or strip the screw head. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose the right type of blade for the screw head. Different types of screw heads are shown in Figure 15.
  2. Make sure the screwdriver fits the screw correctly, as shown in Figure 16. Examples of what size screwdriver to use with various sizes of screws is listed in Table 3.

Figure 15 — Types of screw heads.

Figure 16 — Using the correct size of screwdriver.

Table 3 Size of Screwdrivers to Use for Different Screw Sizes

  1. Position the shank perpendicular (at a right angle) to your work.
  2. Apply firm, steady pressure to the screw head and turn: clockwise to tighten (right is tight); counterclockwise to loosen (left is loose).


Care of Screwdrivers

When using a screwdriver, you must follow many guidelines for your own safety and that of others, as well as for maintaining your tool. Use the following guidelines when working with screwdrivers:


- To Table of Contents -


A wrench is a tool used to provide a mechanical advantage when torque is applied to hold and turn bolts, nuts, screws, and pipes. Wrenches are forged from steel alloy to prevent breakage. Wrenches are divided into two categories: nonadjustable and adjustable. Nonadjustable wrenches are made to work on a particular size of bolt, nut, screw, or pipe. Adjustable wrenches are made to tighten or loosen a particular size of bolt, nut, screw, or pipe.

Types and Uses

 Open-End Wrench

All open-end wrenches have open jaws on one or both ends of the wrench. Most jaw openings are offset from the shank portion of the wrench by 15 degrees. The wrench length is determined by the size of the jaw opening.

Open-end wrench

The open-end wrench grips on two sides of the nut or bolt head, with an opening that can access fasteners that a closed, or box, wrench might not reach. It has openings of different sizes on each end. The opening should fit the nut or bolt exactly to prevent mutilating the edges of the fastener. They can come in sets.

Engineer’s wrench

The engineer’s single open-end wrench has a long, smooth shank providing the user with a better gripping surface. It is used to reach behind or below blind surfaces.

The engineer’s double open-end wrench has openings of different sizes on each end. This type of an arrangement permits a smaller number of wrenches to complete a set. The engineer’s double open-end wrench is also used to reach behind or below blind surfaces.

Construction wrench

The construction wrench combines the open-end jaw with a long, tapered shank providing a wrench/alignment punch combination. The construction wrench is used in the building trades and on heavy objects that require alignment before fastening.

S-shape wrench

The S-Shape wrench has a 22 1/2-degree offset. It is used to reach around obstructing objects.

Ignition wrench

Ignition wrenches have the same-size jaw opening on both ends. However, one end of the wrench is offset by 15 degrees, and the other end is offset by 60 degrees. Ignition wrenches are smaller in size because they are used to remove components of automotive ignition systems.

Box End Wrench

Box end wrench

A box end wrench surrounds the nut, bolt head, or stud on all sides. It is available with both 6- and 12-point openings. The 12-point opening is more common because it may be used on both square and hexagonal bolt heads. Some models have ratcheting capability. Box wrench openings are offset from the shank by 15 degrees to give more room for your knuckles or to give clearance over obstructions. A box wrench should be used whenever possible because it provides the best protection to both the user and the equipment. The major disadvantage of the box wrench is that enough clearance must be above and around the bolt head to place the wrench over the bolt head. The length of the box wrench depends upon the size of the opening.

Half-moon wrench

The half-moon wrench has different-size openings at each end and has a curved shank. The half-moon wrench is used when it is necessary to reach around objects in tight spaces.

Split-box end wrench

The split-box wrench is used on pipe unions or couplings where you want the protection of a box wrench, but need to slide the wrench around a pipe.

Structural-tapered handle wrench

The structural-tapered handle wrench combines a box wrench opening with a tapered shank to produce a box wrench/alignment pin combination. It is usually used on heavy structural construction (bridge girders, building beams, etc.).

Ratchet-box end wrench

Ratchet-box end wrenches are either reversible or nonreversible. The ratchet-box end wrench does not have to be lifted up and repositioned each time the shank has reached its maximum travel between two obstructions. The ratchet-box wrench provides an easy means of removing and/or installing nuts or bolts that are not under strain. These wrenches should not be used to torque down or to free nuts or bolts.

Combination Wrench

Combination wrench

The combination wrench  has a box wrench and an open-end wrench on opposite sides of the same tool. The two ends are usually the same size.

Allen Wrench

Allen wrench.

The Allen wrench is also known as a hex key wrench. It is a short, L-shaped tool designed to turn bolts or screws with hexagonal heads. Allen wrenches usually come in sets of different-size wrenches.

Pipe Wrenches

There are four basic types of pipe wrenches: the stillson wrench, the spud wrench, the strap wrench, and the chain wrench. They are all used to connect or break pipe joints or to turn cylindrical parts.

Pipe wrench

The pipe wrench is also known as a stillson wrench. It has jaws that bite into the surface of pipe to hold it for turning, and should not be used on plated pipes because it can mar the surface. It is used to screw pipes into elbows or other threaded items.

Spud wrench.

The spud wrench is meant to work on a piece of piping found on older toilets and sinks, which is called a “spud”. This wrench is used to tighten and loosen the collar, bolts, and other hardware holding the spud to the toilet or sink. The narrow jaws of the spud wrench are useful in tight spaces.

Strap pipe wrench

Strap pipe wrenches have a leather or canvas strap that is attached to the handle. The strap is looped around the pipe and back through the handle to grip the pipe. The strap pipe wrench will not scratch the surface of the pipe.

Chain pipe wrench

Chain pipe wrenches have a section of bicycle-type chain permanently attached to the handle. The upper section of the head has teeth that mate with the links of the chain. The chain is wrapped around the pipe and pulled over the head section of the wrench to grip the pipe. Chain pipe wrenches will scratch the surface of the pipe.

Adjustable Wrench

Adjustable wrench

The adjustable wrench has an adjustable end opening that comes in locking and non-locking styles. The locking style can secure the jaws in the desired position, so when properly adjusted, it will not slip. The nonlocking style requires frequent readjustment and is prone to slipping. The adjustable wrench is used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts, but never on a fastener that has been rounded off. Make sure the movable jaw is located on the side where the rotation will be done.

Socket Wrenches


The socket wrench consists of a round metal sleeve with a square opening in one end for insertion of a handle, and a 6- or 12-point wrench opening in the other. They are available in both common (short) and deep (long) lengths. The length of the socket does not determine its size. Socket wrenches usually come in sets. The square or drive end may vary in size from 1/4 to 1 inch. In socket sets, the drive end determines the size; for example, a 1/4-inch drive set may contain nine sockets ranging in size from 3/16 through 1/2 inch. In 3/8-inch drive, the smallest socket would be 3/8 inch. This overlap in size allows better control by the user and prevents breakage of either the socket or the equipment from using the wrong-size handle. A universal joint socket and spark plug socket are examples of specially designed sockets. The universal joint socket is used when it is necessary to reach around an object. The spark plug socket has a rubber insert. This insert protects the ceramic insulator during removal and/or installation of the spark plug. All sockets must be used with some type of handle. Sockets are used to remove and/or install common-size nuts or bolts.

Socket Wrench Handles, Extensions, and Adapters

Ratchet handles (Figure 17) may have either a straight head or a flex head. Both types have a selection lever on the top of the head to determine the direction of drive. The flex head is used to go around objects. Both types are used with socket wrenches for rapid removal of nuts or bolts.

Figure 17 — Typical socket set.

The speed handle (Figure 17) has a brace-type shaft with a revolving grip on the top. It is used for rapid removal and/or installation of nuts or bolts, which are out in the open and have little or no torque.

A hinged handle (Figure 17) has a hinged adapter on one end that may be rotated in 90-degree steps. The hinged handle is used when additional leverage or torque is needed to loosen nuts or bolts.

The socket wrench adapter (Figure 17) is used to change the drive size between the socket and the handle. It usually increases or decreases the fractional size by one (1/4 to 3/8 inch). The socket wrench adapter is used to increase or decrease the drive end of a particular handle, allowing it to be used with two different socket sets.

Extensions (Figure 17) are either rigid or flexible. They range from 2 to 17 inches in length. Extensions may be used with any socket handle combination to gain clearance above nut or bolt.

Spin-type screwdriver

The spin-type screwdriver  grip handle has a plastic or wood handle. It is used to remove and/or install small nuts and bolts.

Sliding T-bar handle.

The sliding T-bar handle has a single head that may be adjusted along a bar handle. It has two spring-loaded balls, one for keeping the bar in the head and the other for keeping the socket on the head. The sliding T-bar is used for increased leverage or for working around other objects.

Ratcheting adapter

The ratcheting adapter  converts a non-ratcheting handle into a ratchet drive. It is used for quick removal of nuts or bolts.

Special-Purpose Socket Wrenches

Four-way socket wrench

The four-way socket wrench  has four non-removable sockets attached to four arms. Each of the sockets is a different size. The four-way socket wrench is usually used to remove and/ or install the wheel stud nuts of a vehicle. The handle construction provides extra leverage for loosening and tightening the stud nuts.

90-degree offset handle socket wrench

The 90-degree offset handle socket wrench has a fixed socket at the end of a bent handle. It is used for removing and/or installing a nut or bolt that may not be reached with a box or combination wrench.

T-handle socket wrench

The T-handle socket wrench has a fixed T-handle above a fixed socket wrench. The T-handle socket wrench has many uses. One of the more common uses is for shutting off or turning on water or gas lines. The T handle permits the operator to apply the turning force required to operate the valve.

Screwdriver-type socket wrench

The screwdriver-type socket wrench has a socket fixed on the bottom of a screwdriver handle. They are used to remove and/or install small nuts and bolts.

Stud removers may be either the cam-operated type or the wedge type. They are used to remove studs from their seats for replacement. A single stud remover can be adjusted to remove different-size studs.

The cam-operated stud removers use a concentric cam to get a grip on the stud. The cam is tightened on the stud through mechanical linkage between the drive shank and the cam.

Cam-operated type stud remover

Wedge-type stud remover.

Wedge-type stud removers are made of a socket housing and two metal wedges. The socket is placed over the stud to be removed and the wedges are driven into the socket to hold the stud. The socket housing is now turned with a handle to remove the stud.

Crowfoot Wrench

Crowfoot wrench.

The crowfoot wrench is an open-end wrench head that is turned with a socket handle. It is used to remove and/or install nuts or bolts. It is also used where an obstruction can prevent the use of a regular socket.

Plug Wrenches

There are three basic types of plug wrenches: the bar-type, the multiple plug wrench, and the socket-type. Plug wrenches are used to remove and/or install drain plugs.

Bar-type plug wrench

Bar-type plug wrenches may be either square or hexagonal and are about 2 inches long. A combination wrench or socket must be used to turn the plug.

Multiple plug wrench.

The multiple plug wrench combines several plug ends on a common handle.

Socket-type plug wrench

Socket-type plug wrenches are usually combined in sets with an assortment of handles. The set will contain several sizes.

Torque Wrenches

Typical torque wrenches

Torque wrenches are designed to measure the specific degree of tightness of nuts or bolts. Torque wrenches are considered precision instruments and therefore must be calibrated at regular intervals. Three types of torque wrenches are available: deflecting beam, dial-indicating, and micrometer-setting. Torque wrenches are used for a final tightening of nuts or bolts. Torque wrenches are normally calibrated in a right-hand direction only. If a unit is required to perform torquing operations in a lefthand direction, they must request that the supporting calibration facility calibrate the torque wrench in both directions.

A deflecting beam torque wrench has a rod that runs parallel to the handle and the drive element. The rod moves across the scale to the right or left as torque is applied.

A dial-indicating torque wrench has a head that contains the drive element and a dial for reading the exact amount of torque. The micrometer-setting torque wrench indicates the torque value by sound.

Torque Multipliers

Torque multipliers.

Torque multipliers are geared devices attached to the torque wrench to increase the force of torque. The preferred ratio of the torque multiplier is 4 to 1. To use a torque multiplier, select one with an output capacity above the required torque. The torque multiplier is used for tightening nuts and bolts requiring 200 or more foot pounds of torque. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s operating manual to avoid personnel injury and damage to the equipment.


A special feature of these types of torque wrenches is that it is possible to loosen as well as tighten nuts and bolts.

Spanner Wrenches

Two basic types of spanner wrenches are the hook-type and the pin-type. Hook-type spanner wrenches are either fixed or adjustable and are normally used to tighten fire hoses or similar couplings that have a protruding lip. Pin-type spanner wrenches have pins protruding from the handle that fit into holes in the coupling or plate to be tightened or loosened. Spanner wrenches are special-purpose wrenches and are to be used only for their intended purpose.

Three kinds of hook-type wrenches include the hose coupling pin, for tightening and loosening hose couplings, the fixed hook for tightening or loosening couplings with protruding rims or edges, and the adjustable hook-type.

The adjustable hook-type is similar to the fixed hook-type. However, it may be adjusted around objects and fastened before use.

There are two basic pin-type wrenches. The fixed-pin face has been designed to fit a particular pattern and is nonadjustable. The fixed-pin face is used to remove protective cover plates. The adjustable-pin face has two arms joined at a common point. The other end of the arms contains pins that may be engaged in the holes of a cover plate for removal.

Using Wrenches

Using a Box Wrench

Follow these steps to use a nonadjustable wrench:

  1. Select the size of wrench that fits the nut or bolt.
  2. Place the wrench on the nut or bolt (Figure 18). Swing the wrench clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen for a right-hand-threaded nut or bolt. Reverse the above for a left-hand threaded nut or bolt.

Figure 18 — Place the correct size of wrench on the nut or bolt.

  1. If there is insufficient room to swing the wrench in a full circle, lift it completely off the nut when it comes to the limit of the swing, and place it in a new position, permitting another swing. A swing through of a 15-degree arc is usually sufficient to continuously loosen or tighten a nut or bolt. 4. After the nut is tight, give it a final tightening.

 Using a Socket Wrench

Follow these steps to use a socket wrench:

  1. Select the size of socket that fits the nut or bolt to be turned and push it onto the handle that is best suited to the job (Figure 19).

Figure 19 — Using the correct size of socket with a ratchet.

  1. If there is room to swing, use the ratchet handle (The handle may be made to ratchet in one direction for tightening work and in the other direction for loosening work).
  2. Swing the handle back and forth to turn the nut in the desired direction (The socket need not be raised from the nut at the end of each swing).
  3. To loosen a tight nut, or to set up a nut, swing the hinged handle at right angles to the socket to provide the most leverage (Figure 20). At the point where the nut turns easily, swing the handle to a vertical position and twist rapidly between your fingers in the same manner as a screwdriver.

Figure 20 — Using the correct size of socket with a hinged handle

Using an Adjustable Open-End Wrench

Follow these steps to use an adjustable wrench:

  1. Set the jaw to the correct size for the nut or bolt.
  2. Make sure the wrench jaws are fully tightened on the nut or bolt (Figure 21).

Figure 21 — Using an adjustable open-end wrench.

  1. Pull the wrench toward you as much as you can. If you must push the wrench, keep your hand open to avoid pinching it.
  2. Pull so that the force is on the fixed side of the jaw.
  3. Make sure there is enough room for your fingers as you turn the wrench.

Using an Adjustable Strap Pipe Wrench

Follow these steps to use an adjustable strap pipe wrench:

  1. Loop the strap around the pipe in the opposite direction to that in which the pipe is to be rotated (Figure 22).

Figure 22 — Using a strap wrench.

  1. Slip the end of the strap through the shackle and draw it up tightly.
  2. Pull the handle to turn the pipe in the desired direction until the desired tightness is obtained.

The jaw at the end of the shackle will seat against the strap and, as the handle is pulled, the strap will tighten and turn the pipe.

Using the Torque Wrench

Follow these steps to use a torque wrench:

  1. Select the proper size of socket wrench and attach it to torque wrench square drive.
  2. Place the socket wrench on the work (23) and pull the torque wrench handle in the desired direction to tighten the work.

Figure 23 — Using a torque wrench.


The tightening torque will be indicated on the dial or scale, depending on the type of the torque wrench used.

  1. Remove the wrench when the torque on the dial or scale is reached.

Using the Torque Multiplier


The following procedure is not the only application for the torque multiplier.

Follow these steps to use a torque multiplier (Figure 24) to tighten a nut:

  1. Install the applicable socket onto the nut to be tightened.
  2. Install the torque multiplier body on top of the socket.

Figure 24 — Using a torque multiplier.


Different reaction adapters are required for various operations. Be careful to use the correct reaction torque adapter. Failure to do so will render the torque wrench useless and can damage the equipment.

  1. Install a reaction arm to the torque multiplier.
  2. Install the torque wrench onto the square drive bar and reaction torque adapter.

Do not use impact wrench of any kind to operate this wrench.

  1. Apply firm, steady pressure to the nut and turn: clockwise to tighten (right is tight); counterclockwise to loosen (left is loose).
  2. Continue to turn the torque wrench until desired torque is reached.

Normally, torque will build up in the wrench until breakaway torque is reached.

  1. After obtaining the desired torque, remove the wrench, adapter, and socket.
  2. To loosen a nut, repeat steps 1 through 6.
  3. Remove the wrench, adapter, drive bar, and socket.

Using a Spanner Wrench

Figure 25 — Using a spanner wrench.

Follow these steps to use a spanner wrench (Figure 25):

  1. Insert the pins or lugs into the pin holes of the part.
  2. Keep the pin face of the wrench flush against the surface and turn the wrench.
  3. Exert enough force against the wrench so that the pins do not pop out of the holes.
  4. Make certain that the pins fit the holes and the force is applied with the handle perpendicular to the work.
  5. Remove the wrench when desired tightness is obtained.

Care of Wrenches

When using a wrench, you must follow many guidelines for your own safety and that of others, as well as for maintaining your tool. Use the following guidelines when working with wrenches:

- To Table of Contents -


Bars are steel tools used to lift and move heavy objects and to pry where leverage is needed. They can also be used to remove nails and spikes, and to loosen hard soil for digging. The most commonly used types of bars are the wrecking bar, chisel (Wonder) bar, flat bar, and cat’s paw. These bars range from 12 to 72 inches in length, depending upon their design and the purpose for which they are used. The bars should be used in a position where the weight of the user’s body is exerted downward on the long section of the lever. When possible, use a block or other object as a fulcrum behind the bar, near the spot where the bar’s point is wedged under the object to be moved.

Types and Uses

Wrecking Bar

The wrecking bar is used for demolition, pulling nails, ripping wood, and other similar tasks. The length of the wrecking bar gives it better leverage for pulling larger and longer nails.

Chisel (Wonder) Bar

The chisel bar gets you into tight spots for prying, although it is not designed for heavy-duty prying. It is useful for removing nails with exposed heads and for prying paneling or molding without marring the surface. You can drive it into wood to split and rip apart the pieces.

Flat Bar

The flat bar is a small pry bar. It is usually 2 inches wide and 15 inches long, with a nail slot at the end to pull nails out from tightly enclosed areas.

Cat’s Paw

The cat’s pawis used to pull nails when the nail heads are buried beneath the wood’s surface. Hammer the forked chisel head into the wood surrounding the nail head until the nail head is positioned between the notches, and then pull it from below the wood surface.

Using a Pry Bar

Follow these steps when you use a pry bar:

  1. Use the angled prying end (Figure 26) to force apart pieces of wood.
  2. Use the heavy claw end (Figure 27) to pull large nails and spikes.

Figure 26 — Using the angled prying end.

Figure 27 — Using the heavy claw end.

Care of Bars

When using a bar, you must follow many guidelines for your own safety and that of others, as well as for maintaining your tool. Use the following guidelines when working with bars:

- To Table of Contents -

Review Questions

1. Pliers are made of what type of material?

A. Brass
B. Hardened steel
C. Soft metal
D. Titanium

2. What type of pliers has jaws offset by about 15 degrees to give knuckle clearance?

A. Diagonal
B. Flat nose
C. Lineman’s
D. Parallel jaw

3. What type of pliers is useful for working in tight places?

A. Lineman’s
B. Long nose
C. Tongue and groove
D. Vise grip

4. When a vise grip pliers is used, what action locks the handles together?

A. Squeezing the handles
B. Pulling the handle towards you as much as you can
C. Turning the adjusting screw until the pliers grip the object
D. Twisting the handles in a clockwise motion

5. If pliers become cracked, broken, or sprung or have nicked cutting edges, what action should you take?

A. File the nicked cutting edges for a smooth cut
B. Reassemble the pliers
C. Discard the pliers
D. Weld the broken pieces together

6. What tool delivers an impact to an object?

A. Bar
B. Hammer
C. Pliers
D. Screwdriver

7. What type of hammer is used for projects that need great force?

 A. Ball peen
B. Jeweler’s
C. Rubber mallet
D. Sledgehammer

8. What type of hammer has a lightweight head?

A. Ball peen
B. Jeweler’s
C. Rubber mallet
D. Sledgehammer

9. What type of hammer is used for setting or splitting bricks or for chipping excess mortar?

A. Drywall
B. Napping
C. Masonry
D. Tile

10. What type of hammer has a sharp surface for scoring tile?

A. Drywall
B. Masonry
C. Napping
D. Tile

11. When working with a hammer, you should wear what personal protective equipment?

A. Eye protection
B. Fire-retardant coveralls
C. Hardhat
D. Steel-toe boots

12. When selecting a hammer for a job, what characteristics should you consider?

A. Color and weight of the job
B. Grip and length of the handle
C. Length and size of the handle
D. Size and weight for the job

13. The flat head screwdriver shank can range in size between what two measurements, in inches?

A. 1/6 to 1/4
B. 1/4 to 1/2
C. 1/2 to 3/4
D. 3/4 to 1 40

14. The most common Phillips® screwdriver has what maximum numbered size?

A. 2
B. 4
C. 6
D. 8

15. What type of screwdriver will tighten and loosen six-point star head screws?

A. Allen
B. Jeweler’s
C. Ratchet
D. Torx

16. What type of screwdriver will tighten and loosen hexagonal slot head screws?

A. Allen
B. Jeweler’s
C. Ratchet
D. Torx

17. If a screwdriver is exposed to excessive heat, the blade will undergo what change?

A. Increase in rust
B. Melting
C. Reduction of hardness
D. Tempering of the tip

18. On a screwdriver, what action, if any, can be done to restore a worn straightedge?

 A. File the blade tip
B. Heat the tip and reshape it
C. Remove the handle and use the other end
D. Nothing; the screwdriver has to be replaced

19. Most open-end wrench jaw openings are offset from the shank portion by how many degrees?

A. 10
B. 15
C. 20
D. 25

20. On box end wrenches, what type of opening is the most common?

A. 6-degree offset
B. 6-point
C. 12-degree offset
D. 12-point

21. The basic types of pipe wrenches include the stillson wrench, spud wrench, and what other type of wrench?

A. Half-moon
B. Metric
C. Monkey
D. Strap

22. The straps on strap pipe wrenches are usually made from which of the following materials?

A. Braided steel and canvas
B. Canvas and leather
C. Leather and rubber
D. Rubber and braided steel

23. What type of wrench has an adjustable open-end opening that comes in locking and nonlocking styles?

A. Allen
B. Combination
C. Adjustable
D. Engineer’s

24. What tool is used when it is necessary to reach around an object?

A. Universal joint socket
B. Plumb bob
C. Micrometer
D. Bevel protractor

25. Which of the following tools is used to change the drive size between a socket and a handle?

A. Ratcheting adapter
B. Socket wrench adapter
C. Sliding T-bar
D. Hinged handle

26. Socket wrench extensions usually range from 2 inches to what maximum length, in inches?

A. 10
B. 13
C. 17
D. 36

27. Which of the following tools is used for increased leverage or for working around other objects?

A. Ratcheting adapter
B. Sliding T-bar handle
C. Crowfoot wrench
D. Wedge-type stud remover


- To Table of Contents -

Answers to Exercises

1. A
2. A
3. B
4. A
5. C
6. B
7. D
8. B
9. C
10. D
11. A
12. D
13. A
14. B
15. D
16. A
17. C
18. A
19. B
20. D
21. D
22. B
23. C
24. A
25. B
26. C
27. B
28. D
29. C
30. D
31. C
32. A
33. D
34. B


- To Table of Contents -

Copyright © David L. Heiserman
All Rights Reserved