DIY Network

Wrench Basics

There's a basic wrench for every job. Here's a short lesson on some of the most common types of wrenches found around a home or workshop.

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open ended wrenches are often used by plumbers

Open-ended wrenches are often used by plumbers and metal workers to remove bolts.

Boxed wrenches are good for removing rusty nuts. The ring on the end of a boxed wrench makes full contact with the nut, thereby making the nut easier to turn.

Socket-tube wrenches are excellent for reaching a nut in a confined space. The socket tube fits into a hole, and a screwdriver is inserted through the top of the tube to turn the bolt.

Strap wrenches are used to disconnect chrome pipe work without damaging its surface.

Basin wrenches have pivoting jaws that can be tightened or loosened to hard-to-reach fittings. The handle on a basin wrench adjusts for more or less torque.

Spud wrenches are used on large nuts, such as toilet nuts and sink nuts.

Chain wrenches and pipe wrenches are used for gripping pipes.