A guide to the mysterious strap wrench

When you think of wrenches, you probably think of standard box or adjustable wrenches, with maybe an occasional pipe wrench or monkey wrench thrown in. What a lot of people don't know is that a strap wrench can be a very helpful way to get some added leverage without having to spend a lot of extra time at the gym lifting dumb bells. Strap wrenches are especially helpful when you need to move a smooth round object like a pipe. The strap can grip the outer edge of the pipe and the solid part of the wrench will give it a good bite so that you can grip and turn with ease.

There are a few types of strap wrenches, each used for very different purposes. The most common type of strap wrench is your basic plumber's strap wrench. This tool consists of a strap attached to a handle with a curved tip. The idea is that when you cinch up the strap, the curve will hug the contours of the pipe. Another type of strap wrench is an oil filter wrench. This is primarily used by auto mechanics and has a much thinner strap. Finally, the chain whip is yet another type of strap wrench. You probably won't be familiar with this style of strap wrench unless you are a cyclist; it is used to loosen and tighten sprockets on a bicycle.

Using your strap wrench

Using a basic strap wrench seems complicated, but actually is quite simple. You simply loop the strap around your pipe and then pull it through the remaining opening in your wrench. Once you have pulled it tight, you grab a "bite" by rotating the wrench down against the pipe, and you should have a secure fit. If you find that your strap wrench is still slipping, you may need to double check to make sure that you are using a strap wrench with the right kind of materials that will grab your surface. If you know you purchased the right wrench, then there are a few tricks handymen use to get a better grip on the pipe. One trick is to use rosin on the pipe and wrench; some handymen swear that this helps add a little friction when you need to move something that won't budge. You can also wet the strap, which will help it stretch just a little bit more. Other handymen recommend that you put some rough tape on the pipe; this will give a different surface for your strap wrench to grip.

Strap wrenches can be valuable tools when you need to move something that just won't budge. Take a look at Sears to find a variety of strap wrenches and other tools that will help you with any home improvement project.

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