How does one write a blog post that talks about adjustable wrenches? I’m not sure, but I’m going to give it a try. I get so excited about tools these days that it’s difficult to contain myself. I figure that sharing is where it’s at, if for nothing else than to get my thoughts out there in the open.
Okay, I’ve got a story for you. A while back, I began going through my tools in an effort to clean things up. Way back in the day, before I moved out of my parent’s house, I stored all my sockets and wrenches, among other things, in a five gallon bucket. It was a mess. Now, for all the tool lovers out there, I know I just made you cringe. The mere thought of me sticking my hand in that bucket in search of a screwdriver and having my finger punctured by a single steel wire from one of my wired brushes makes me want to somehow erase the entire memory from my mind. Luckily, as the years passed, I matured and began separating what I had into different toolboxes and plastic bins. Even today though, I’m still a mess. It’s atrocious and I’m embarrassed whenever I think of what I’ve done to myself. Imagine it as sort of like storing all your kitchen appliances in a wheelbarrow that’s kept in the corner of the dining room. You know – the blender, toaster and all your knives. It’s really not good.
So, in an effort to rid myself of this dark side, I recently purchased some wrenches and a beautiful socket set. I already used the sockets and I’m happy to report that everything went splendidly. Since I know you’re just dying to read about those tools, feel free to click through to that post.
A few evenings ago, I picked up some adjustable wrenches. I already have two, one of which is half way broken, but am storing them in the truck to deal with unforeseen circumstances. Since those are now spoken for, I had to replace them for my “at home” collection. Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with having more than one of the same tool, especially when you get to drool over them while shopping.
After peeking around for a while. I decided to go with the Tekton brand. I already have two of their wrench sets and am hearing more and more about their popularity. In the case of my most recent purchase, I went with two wrenches – a 12″ and a 15″.
As I was deciding on which brand to purchase, I stumbled across a few themes. It seems as though other tool owners and shoppers concern themselves with three things. I’ll cover them below, in order of most important to least important.
Country of Origin – This is absolutely huge. I never knew folks cared so much about where their tools were made. Let’s just say that if I were to launch a company that made tools, I’d have MADE IN USA stamped all over each and every piece that left the warehouse. This is, by far, what everyone out there in interland talks about. They say the Chinese tools are garbage. Tools from Taiwan are getting better, tools from any European country are very much sought after and tools made in the USA are the cat’s meow. While I understand production cost is a huge deal for toolmakers, from what I’ve read, consumers are willing to pay more for localized pieces of chrome. That’s just the way it is. Even Craftsman went over to Asia, but now has a USA line. I guess offering both is a good idea.
Fit and Finish – I couldn’t believe how many people talked about the play between the moveable slide jaw of an adjustable wrench and the remainder of the steel. That little “wiggle” needs to be kept to a minimum to keep consumers happy. If you don’t know or don’t care about things like this, by all means, grab yourself a lower end wrench. But for all those collectors out there, which I fear I’m quickly turning into, a tight fit is what matters.
Strength – Surprisingly, while this is an important topic, it didn’t even come close to the previous two. I guess everyone knows that high quality steel can be produced globally now that it’s just not as much of a concern as it used to be. For some though, there was serious discussion on the topic.
I”m sort of a middle of the road guy at this point. These Tekton adjustable wrenches were made in China. The reason I didn’t care too much about this is because their prices reflected their country of origin. I took a gamble that I’d be okay, since I really don’t use these sorts of wrenches all too often. Their tolerances are tight and their function is smooth. For the price of $19.99 for the 15″ wrench and just $10.42 for the 12″ one, I’m happy.
You know what’s weird? I don’t think I’ve ever owned a brand new adjustable wrench. It’s odd to hold a clean one in my hand.
I know the first time I use these on the lawnmower or something, they’ll get all dirty. I’ll just have to be sure to clean them up afterwards and to rub a nice coating of Fluid Film on them to stave off the rust. That’s a hint – Fluid Film works on tools too! Oh yeah, it also works as a battery terminal protectant. Thanks for reading!