Which Stage Tool? - Poll

Which Stage Tool Do You Prefer?

  • Altman Stage Wrench ($15 MSRP)

    Votes: 8 6.9%
  • Adjustable Wrench a.k.a. C-Wrench, Crescent Wrench ($15-35 MSRP)

    Votes: 82 70.7%
  • Standard Stage Tool ($40 MSRP)

    Votes: 3 2.6%
  • Ultimate Focus Tool ($75 MSRP)

    Votes: 15 12.9%
  • Other- Please describe, link photo, $___ MSRP, and Why

    Votes: 8 6.9%

  • Total voters
    116

Dondaley

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2011
Location
Cleveland, OH
I know I'm resurrecting a rather dormant thread (sort of a franken-thread, if you will), but I came across this thread and thought I'd chip in my two cents.
At my high school (at least when I was there) the choice of wrench for lights was standard c-wrench or an Altman wrench, a couple of the guys preferred the Altman wrench, but I preferred the standard c-wrench. I found the Altman wrench to be sort of an interesting curiosity, but not as practical as the c-wrench.

Now, at my college (we actually just finished a run of Hair in a brand new black box yesterday), the choice of wrench for lights is between different crescent wrenches all fitting the same description.
 

Kelite

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2005
Location
Fort Wayne IN, USA
Now, at my college (we actually just finished a run of Hair in a brand new black box yesterday), the choice of wrench for lights is between different crescent wrenches all fitting the same description.

Ah, 'tis tough to beat a conventional C-wrench. No doubt about it-

(Franken-thread, heh- it's catchy!)
 

erosing

The Royal Renaissance Man
Joined
Jul 6, 2005
Location
Wisconsin
I've been trying to reorganize things for the last hour and I was thinking about this thread, so I piled them up and am here to finally contribute to it (even though it's kind of dead).

photo.JPG

1 - Crescent 8" Sliding adjustable wrench: bulky, heavy, slide gets in the way or adjusted easily. It does stay locked in position fairly well though when actually using it though. Not recommended. Was a gift.

2. Crescent 8" Adjustable Ratchet: big, heavy, will open to 1.023" and is 0.83" deep and 60 teeth. Good tool over all considering that it compacts a socket set down to one tool. However, I've only used it a few times, mostly when I had very little clearance to use an adjustable wrench. Recommended for the stagehand that has everything else already, it's a nice addition for that one or two times you need it and don't have a socket set with you. Was also a gift. I do keep it in my full electrics kit because I didn't want to add the weight of a socket set (not that I would have room for one anyways).

3. Allen 8 in 1 fancy_named_something wrench: 5/16" to 3/4" capacity. Light, ugly, but decent handle material. Bought this with the intent of not needing to carry around a small set of combo wrenches, never used it past a few tests in the shop. Works okay, and it was on clearance for $7. It is aluminum though, so I don't know how well it will hold up over time, don't think I'll use it enough to find out. Not really recommended, but at the same time, I'm not not recommending it either.

4. Craftsman 5/8"+3/4" 12 point ratcheting box wrench: Feels good in the hand, allows for a good amount of torque, flip to reverse, pretty hard to break. No good lanyard attachment point however and cannot handle a pan bolt. The other downside is I find people over-tighten with it until they get used to it. This is my go to wrench, I love it for hangs because it is faster, it's cheap, and it's simple. I carry it (2 actually) most of the time. Recommended by far.

5. Stanley 8" adjustable wrench: Light, durable, opens to about a 1/16" short of 1", opening and closing it feels better/easier than everything else in this category that I've tried. This is my oldest wrench, and my favorite adjustable. However, I learned that the factory hole does not actually go through metal the end of the wrench is open, not closed. I drilled through the handle into an closed cutout in the actual wrench so that I had the ability to secure the wrench and not just the handle. Highly recommended, if you can still find it, I haven't seen it readily available at a brick and mortar in some time now, feel bad for not picking more up. The 6" is easy to find still though.

6. Ultimate Flat Focus Tool: I agree with just about everything that has already been said by Gafftaper. Highly recommended, it even comes with a special tool at the end (for after work only).

7. Light speed wrench: Fast, good weight and balance. Preferred tool for hanging booms. Recommended.

8+9. 8" and 6" Crescent adjustable wrenches: Both are light, efficient, and provide good lanyard point. However, I wish the drive was larger, like my stanley, to make adjusting blind easier. I'm not a fan of the coated handle though on the 6", yes it might give more grip, but I just don't like the texture. Recommended because it's readily available, a decent tool, and a standard.

10. Mega-combo wrench: I've tried to use it, and I always end up giving up because it's too small to be comfortable. I like that it allows easy blind work, given the layout, but it needs to be longer (yet shorter and lighter than the mongo).

11. Altman wrench: Standard, great when you have an older inventory, but I wish it was deeper, and had a bit more weight/strength to it. My copy had a lot of sharp edges from the mold so I've taken files to it a number of times over the years, still isn't smooth enough yet.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I guess I should add another $.02

I recently had to spend a couple of hundred of left-over/end-of-year state funding and being a good state employee, opted to buy some toys. In this case a GamChek 3 in 1 stage pin tester and an Ultimate ratcheting focus tool.

The GamChek is useful, especially for testing cables and lamps.

The Ultimate tool as actually VERY useful and is a well designed tool for the lighting technician.

Things I like:

- Very well designed. Nice size and weight, has knurled edges and feels nice and balanced in the hand. Slips in and out of the back pocket without catching an edge.

- The ratchet is great. It has 3/4", 3/8" square and f _ _ k-me-nut (large) in the ratchet, plus assorted other unit handle slots, a 2nd pan bolt slot, as well as other things I don't what they are for. The ratchet direction flip "button" is easy to find and use. One thing I like is the fact that you can only engage the ratchet from one side and once you learn how the tool feels, it's easier and faster to remember which way the ratchet is set - On or Off, unlike a double sided tool.

- I actually used the lamp tester the other day, when I had a lamp that might have been blown. I un-plugged, tested, saw it was good and had the deck elec. check console patch (it was patch).

- The metal used in the ratchet is steel (possibly the square bolt slot is aluminum), and I would never spend this much on a tool made of aluminum, when my prior experiences with aluminum tools (Altman and Bash wrenches) is the aluminum strips when used on steel bolts.

Dislike:

- It's thick and will not fit between the top of a Source 4 zoom or Par and the yoke, when the unit is pointed 180 degrees to the clamp. This has been discussed in other threads and the only tool that works in this situation is a c-wrench, so no huge problem. I've actually gotten better at learning to tighten the yoke bolt first, then tilt the unit.

- Price. $100 is more then I've ever spent on a tool, excepting a good volt/ohm meter or amp tool. At first use, and knowing the lamp checker is duplicated by a Gam Lamp Check, but given that the Gam Lamp Checker is $45 alone, thus the additional price is not so bad.

- I would never buy or use the baby brother,, non-ratcheting version ($75), as it's all aluminum. StageJunk states that you can damage that tool if the tool "is not properly seated" which is nonsense. Using aluminum tools on steel bolts eventually ruins the tool, thus the $75 on the non-ratcheting Ultimate is a complete waste of money, IMO. Perhaps others have had positive experiences.
 
Last edited:

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
I debated whether to dig this up or not, and for that matter which thread to choose, but I felt like this was better than starting a whole new thread just to point this out. The Mega Combo Wrench now comes in a bunch of colors. So I thought I'd throw that out there for anybody who hadn't seen that yet.


New Colors! Mega-Combo Wrench
 

DaveySimps

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2007
Location
Macomb, MI
Thanks for posting. I did not know this. Looks like it might be time to place an order for some crew gifts.

~Dave
 

bsulliv

Member
Joined
May 11, 2010
Location
Portland
I am a "C" wrench kinda guy. I was recently talking with the Apollo rep and he told me about a new wrench that they were going to be putting out this year, may be the best of both worlds.

Apollo Design | Apollo Wrench
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Location
Michigan
Just a tip here:

The UFT fits the Craftsman General Purpose Knife Holder like a glove. It's perfect. I'm certain it will last much longer than the thin nylon sheath it comes with at the trade shows.
Craftsman -General Purpose Knife Holder
 

Cooperhodges

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2012
Location
Southwest Michigan
In a lot of the productions I have been involved with, I've found that the Altman wrench is good for leverage, however tends to get in the way in smaller spaces (i.e. near a ceiling, on truss, ect.). I've used this tool and had some great success: Mega-Combo Wrench

You can't actually buy this from the website above, but dealers (online and otherwise) sell them for around 10-20 dollars. Great value- works amazing with the ETC Source Four models. It's size is the clincher for me, because most of my lighting work involves trussing, making this tool is absolutely invaluable in those situations.
 

hobbsies

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Location
San Diego
6" wrenches don't expand enough to fit around cheeseburgers which is a major issue as an electrician IMO. You need an 8" wrench and enforce the 1/4 turn past hand tight rule.
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Location
Michigan
6" wrenches don't expand enough to fit around cheeseburgers which is a major issue as an electrician IMO. You need an 8" wrench and enforce the 1/4 turn past hand tight rule.
My 6" wrench opens to 15/16", cheeseborough nuts are 7/8". In general ive found its only the bargain 6" wrenches that only open to 3/4". (Or the very old ones, but I'm assuming yours isn't)

My 6" wrench of choice is actually the Channellock 6WCB. The jaw opens to about 1 5/16", big enough to handle CO2 tanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: hobbsies

hobbsies

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Location
San Diego
My 6" wrench opens to 15/16", cheeseborough nuts are 7/8". In general ive found its only the bargain 6" wrenches that only open to 3/4". (Or the very old ones, but I'm assuming yours isn't)

My 6" wrench of choice is actually the Channellock 6WCB. The jaw opens to about 1 5/16", big enough to handle CO2 tanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free
Interesting, I have yet to see a 6" wrench open wider than 3/4". One possibility that I would propose is that college lighting professors tell their students to get 8" wrenches so that noob freshmen don't buy a 6" wrench from ace that can't open wider than 3/4".
 

techieman33

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Location
topeka, ks
There are several 6" wrenches on the market that open wider than an inch, they're just more expensive. And a lot of people will just buy the cheapest one they can find. I hate cheap wrenches, they always have problems.
 

Users who are viewing this thread