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It is important to use wrenches and pliers properly so you do not strip a bolt or nut. These tools work great for multi-purposes, but if misused, they won't loosen or tighten. Here is a list of different tools and how to properly use them.


Fixed Wrenches

For fixed wrenches, it's important to select the appropriate size wrench for the same sized bolt or nut. Once you select the correct size, simply place the open end on the nut or bolt, and twist the wrench. One way will tighten, the other way will loosen.

Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches operate the same way, accept you can adjust the wrench to fit the nut or bolt. Simply rotate the wrench so the opening widens. When it is wide enough to slip over the nut or bolt, do so. Then, rotate the wrench so the opening clamps down on the nut or bolt. When the clamp is tight, go ahead and twist the wrench to tighten or loosen the bolt or nut.

Ratchet Wrenches

Ratchet wrenches work the same as fixed wrenches, except they have sockets, some having 11 different sizes. Like fixed wrenches, the socket must fit the nut or bolt exactly, so it doesn't strip the bolt. Just change the socket to fit the nut or bolt. Once that is done, the wrench will twist to loosen or tighten the joint.


Gripping Pliers

Gripping pliers are for just that: gripping. They can be long to grab onto objects, or even have curved jaws to reach hard places. They are simple to use: just grab the handles and squeeze, holding on to whatever object you need to grip.

Adjustable Pliers

Adjustable pliers have a joint, so you can adjust how wide the opening is. Just slide the pivot to set the opening, then squeeze the handle. These work well in many settings. If you do not have a wrench, they work well to loosen or tighten nuts and bolts.

Cutting Pliers

Cutting pliers come in different strengths to cut thin pieces of wire, or thick strips of metal. They work the same as gripping pliers, just grip the handle and squeeze. The ends are sharp though; you will want to have a firm grip on what you are cutting before applying pressure to the handle.

Locking Pliers

Locking pliers work just like adjustable pliers, except you can lock the opening in place. Just twist the release lever, and the opening will open or close. Once you get it to the appropriate width, tighten the lever. Then, you can twist the pliers to loosen or tighten what you need. Locking pliers are especially helpful if you need to hold something else in your other hand.