wrenches

nuggetman

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
today i finally got my own crescent wrench since im finally doing gigs outside of my HS... it's like a major milestone in my tech career :p

there's one thing I'm looking for that I'm wondering where I can get, it's a wrench that is almost shaped like ap lus sign, and is used for the various size bolts holding fresnel lights together (the yoke, side handles, etc)... anyone know what I'm talking about and where to get one?
 

Mayhem

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Jan 21, 2004
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Australia
You could try a bicycle shop. From memory they sell such tools. In fact I think I may have had one at one time. Either that or it was a flat bar with four bolt 'holes' cut into it and a screwdriver blade at the other end. Not sure if the sizes are the same but if you know the sizes you want you may be in luck.

A rough shot - but if no one else comes up with a suggestion, it may be worth a try.
 

bdesmond

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Mar 8, 2004
Location
Chicago, IL USA
Yeah. I forget what they're called, the term that comes to mind is lighting wrench, but, there's some technical term I think. Go hit your local theatrical supply place. They shouldn't want more than ten bucks for it.

I trust you got a real set of crescent wrenches and not those goofy ass ones they sell at Sears and other hardware establishments where the handle will snap off if you complement the wrench with a persuader.
 

dj_illusions

Active Member
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Mar 1, 2004
Location
Melbourne, Australia
is the word your looking for Mega Handle? (thanks wolf).

Sounds like what you are describing, just a small little alloy thing that can clip onto your key ring and does yoke bolts and clamp bolts.

you will find one here: http://www.toolsforstagecraft.com/n317.htm
about 3/4 of the way down the page.. along with "schmuck wrenches" man that craks me up every time :p
 

Toul

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Jul 11, 2004
Location
NC USA
It's all about the 8-inch adjustable wrench. They're small enough to fit in a pocket, big enough to do the job, and rugged enough to work forever.

We have a half-dozen black-handled ones that we use constantly. They tend to walk away from the shop, though, so we only have two or three left.

It seems like tape measures and 8-inch adjustable wrenches are the most likely to disappear from our shop.

We have one of those lighting wrench things, too. I find it kind of cumbersome to use. I much prefer the adjustable, because it can accomodate anything.

But the best thing to do with a freshman in the theatre is ask him to bring you an adjustable wrench. When he brings it, shake your head and say, "No, no, no! This is metric! I need an English one!" and send him back.

Does it make me cruel to think about it, even though I've never done it?
 

Mayhem

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My favourites were the left-handed screwdriver and the striped safety paint :D
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
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Illinois
Nope, the (+) or cross shaped wrenches are called Jesus Wrenches and there is a long posting about them and where to still get them on last year’s stagecraft as I remember it. Altman I believe still makes it as well I’m sure Tools for stagecraft might sell it.

That of note, such wrenches were developed for the metal knobs on fixtures long since banished to a somewhat rare occurrence. They had sizes for all common square head and hex bolts in addition to the knobs that would get hot and often need the leverage of the wrench to get undone.

This said, there is better designs on the market now that would be on Tool’s and other websites. Such speed wrenches involve ratcheting sockets which speed tightening etc. Otherwise a ratcheting box wrench in the ½" and 9/16" size in addition to the 3/4" size work wonders.

Ah’ I do remember my first C-Wrench, 8" chrome Craftsman as at least in length that required as it should be for all. As for brand, the Craftsman name to some degree as long as not in power tools still is of use. Dropped that wrench in the pocket between the outer wall of the theater and the inner wall of the audience by accident. I later got it back during the once a year someone repelling down to retrieve such things, but probably gave it away since replaced.

That second wrench of the same type at least I still have.
My primary wrench is a Klien Black Oxide, Insulated handle 8" Crescent Wrench. Just seems easier to have something black with me when also in black. Also I like the added at lest minimum insulation and comfort of the handle above normal wrenches. Can never tell when some Leko will have a short to the pipe that the wrench might connect with. Prefer my hands not close to such things thus the insulated version.

Black oxide on the other hand is both good and bad. If you have sweaty palms as one person I know, the porousness of the coating will tend to rust the wrench before a chrome one.

On any wrench - Craftsman at times and Klien being good brands, Stanley being questionable, make sure the jaws are parallel to each other before you purchase the tool. Close the jaws lightly and observe them in the light to see if the light coming thru the crack in the jaws is symmetrical and parallel. If not your tool is out of alignment which makes it harder to not strip bolts in that you cannot both insert or seat a bolt without adjustment of the wrench when it’s not going to be either too tight or too loose, and given this detail it’s adjustment wheel is also probably not that good on overall quality control in not stripping under load.

Hope such details are of help in choosing a tool. You do get what you pay for often and this tool choice will live with you a long time. Another thing to buy at the time of the purchase or from Tools From Stagecraft is a tool lanyard. Such things are often required much less if I had one at college, I will not have dropped it down the hole given the all too common worn away hole in the rear pocket a later pouch solved.
 

soundman

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Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
Im still on my first one a stanly with a comfy ruber grip. Think I caught it on sale for 4 or 5 bucks cheep enough that when/if I loose or break it I wont be too upset as long as I can find one to finish out the day.
 

Mayhem

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Ship said:
Black oxide on the other hand is both good and bad. If you have sweaty palms as one person I know, the porousness of the coating will tend to rust the wrench before a chrome one.
A little steel wool and then a solution of 50% mineral turps and 50% machine or air tool oil works wonders in keeping black oxide and steel tools and surfaces in good condition.

Remove any rust with the steel wool and then wipe on the solution with a rag.

I use it on my black oxide wrenches, hammers, gardening tools, machine beds and tables (lathe, drill press etc)
 

sallyj

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Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
ship said:
Nope, the (+) or cross shaped wrenches are called Jesus Wrenches. Altman I believe still makes it as well I’m sure Tools for stagecraft might sell it.
I think that Altman has had a corner on the market for so long that they are sometimes referred to as Altman Wrenches.

As for good brands, Crescent set the standard in adjustable wrenches. They still make an excellent, albeit expensive product.

I still have my first wrench, an 8 inch Fuller. My dad got it for me back in '85 and it still has the original lanyard that I put on it shortly after I got to college. It is showing some wear around the jaws, but they are still parallel.

One thing I have run across - some ME's are requiring 6" wrenches so the students don't tighten the clamps down so much. I still use my 8".
Congratulations on your tool purchase. Use it in good health! :D

SJM
 

nuggetman

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
bdesmond said:
I trust you got a real set of crescent wrenches and not those goofy ass ones they sell at Sears and other hardware establishments where the handle will snap off if you complement the wrench with a persuader.
actually, i did buy it at sears (since i get an employee discount), but it's an actual crescent 8" wrench, not the $20 craftsman they tried to talk me in to for it's "lifetime warranty" - it's a hunk of steel, it shouldnt break

dj_illusions said:
is the word your looking for Mega Handle? (thanks wolf).
actually, that wasn't it, but the item was on the page you linked. it was the altman wrench
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
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Illinois
Craftsman, Crescent (I believe), Klien, Ace Hardware, Huskey, Snap On, and many other brands offer a lifetime warranty on their tools. Of the above, Crescent, Craftsman, Klien and Snap On would all have very good tools which should not break and should work well when used properly. If not they can be returned. Sears tools you return to any Sears, Ace tools you return to any Ace Hardware, Huskey tools you return to any Home Depot - assuming that either of the latter stores still offer that model number of tool, otherwise it's more complex. Klien and Crescent if they offer the warranty would allow you to return the tool to any dealer selling that model of tool - does not matter the company or store bought from. This is often the case with other brands of tool, one might save the packaging in a envelope for the day it's necessary to replace the tool, or go to the website and just print up the return policy to have on hand when you go to return the tool. Sears normally is the best with returns however be it Klien or Craftsman. I have even had a Klien keystone tipped 10" screw driver they took back and since they did not have that style, they replaced it with a round shank type. Not sure if I trust their Champion line but it probably has a similar warranty and over all the stores are flexible with returns given so many of their Craftsman line gets constant replacement.

Stanley, Tool Shop and other brands of tool might or might not have this return policy. This can or cannot be a factor in the cost of the tool verses how soon you have to replace it, much less how well it does the job without breaking. These cheap tools could also be a solution if you are constantly mis-placing your tools.

The most important factors for me are still first if the jaws are parallel and don't slip out of a setting because such things will strip the bolts you are working on, and second while a 6" wrench will not for the most part allow for over torquing, will the jaws open large enough to adjust a 1/2" bolt. Torque is a experience thing not a wrench length thing. Once you learn how much torque you can or should apply to something it can be a constant thing with all similar length tools and similar bolts. 1/4 turn past finger tight being the norm on most things. With the advent of wide jaw 6" wrenches which will open up past 3/4", if someone wants to use such a wrench I personally could care less as long as they apply the proper torque necessary. At least they don't have a 10" wrench.
 

mbenonis

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Sep 1, 2003
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Chicago, IL
ship said:
Nope, the (+) or cross shaped wrenches are called Jesus Wrenches and there is a long posting about them and where to still get them on last year’s stagecraft as I remember it. Altman I believe still makes it as well I’m sure Tools for stagecraft might sell it.
Are you referring to one of these?



ship said:
That of note, such wrenches were developed for the metal knobs on fixtures long since banished to a somewhat rare occurrence. They had sizes for all common square head and hex bolts in addition to the knobs that would get hot and often need the leverage of the wrench to get undone.
Really? I know we have to use a Tool (we just call the Altman Wrench a "Tool") to hang or adjust any instrument in our theatre. We have all Source Four's, Strand Fresnels, and a couple of other random instruments.
 

RandyBraunm

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Jul 1, 2004
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Heh, my first wrench is still one I got from HS... Me and a friend of mine each received an adjustable 8'' from the school. The names of the wrench were Taiwan and China ^.^ I have China. Not exactly sure what brand they are, but I can assure you, it was probably something cheap. Poor China is lost right now though, so I need to go buy a real wrench =(
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
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Illinois
mbenonis1 said:
Really? I know we have to use a Tool (we just call the Altman Wrench a "Tool") to hang or adjust any instrument in our theatre. We have all Source Four's, Strand Fresnels, and a couple of other random instruments.
I'm not sure of the necessity of having a specific wrench to adjust the fixtures over a crescent wrench, but look at it this way, since it's a cross shaped item without any working parts, much less a blade, some time in the future should it show up in your carry on luggage you can assert that it's a religious item and not a blunt club meant to take over a plane with.

By the way, I recently read somewhere that it was not only Utility Knives/Matt Knives that were the weapon of choice during 9/11, it was also Leathermans such as we use.

Do the knob moving catches for a handle even fit a more modern knob? I know they were designed for the cast aluminum knobs of the older styles of fixture but would assume they won't fit a more modern hand knob. After that, such all in one tools never impressed me much and though I have a road box full of tools, I am yet to find the interest in buying one.
 

techieman33

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Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Location
topeka, ks
i guess i'm really late on this but in my opinion, a crescent wrench is the only way to go, the altman and mega wrenches are to bulky, and cumbersome to use, just a pain in the ass, i just carry my 6" crescent. Granted i own both a mega wrench and an altman,both were given to me as gifts by a former TD, but i just don't like them, they are just toys, and very fragile toys at that. I've seen a lot of them broken.
 

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