How to Use a Pipe Wrench: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

How to Use a Pipe Wrench

Are you wondering how to use a pipe wrench? Whether you’ve just recently moved out from your parent’s house or just plain oblivious of anything that relates to home repair, we understand where you’re coming from. In fact, that is exactly the reason why we came up with this guide.

However, before we share with you the basic guidelines to using a pipe wrench, allow us to first introduce to you this extremely versatile piece of metal. A pipe wrench is among the many tools that are used to repair, adjust, and assemble stuff. Basically, it is used to either loosen or tighten soft iron pipes and other fittings with a rounded surface such as rods and bolts.

A pipe wrench can either be made of an aluminum or steel material. Generally speaking, it has three basic components, namely: the handle, jaws, and nut. The handle is where the upper and lower jaws are connected, while the nut is the part of the pipe wrench used to adjust the height of the upper jaw.

What is a Pipe Wrench Used For

Like most handyman tools, a pipe wrench also comes in many different kinds, where the most common are the straight, offset, and end pipe wrench. Where it is used depends on which type of pipe wrench you are planning on using.

  • Straight Pipe Wrench

If you are planning to build your very own arsenal of home repair and improvement tools, then you should consider investing in a straight pipe wrench. This is the most popular among all pipe wrenches because it offers the most use. It comes in a variety of sizes that range from nine to 60 inches.

  • Offset Wrench

An offset wrench is yet another type of pipe wrench that is loved by many. This is because it is specially designed to fit into tight spaces, allowing you to loosen and tighten joints even at hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, they can also be used to turn objects that are set up at an awkward angle or when a pipe is parallel to another object such as a wall.

It is intelligently designed with a narrow head and a hook jaw that is positioned parallel to the handle of the wrench. This unique design is what gives it the ability to reach into bolts and nuts in areas where there is little to no room to swing the handle of the wrench.

  • End Pipe Wrench

For those who need to loosen or tighten parts of a pipe that is placed very near to a wall, opt for an end pipe wrench. It is also used to adjust pipe joints in tight spaces. This is made possible because of its clever design where both the heel of the wrench and the hook jaw are at a slight angle to the handle.

How to Use a Pipe Wrench

  • Choose the correct wrench type and size

In order to ensure your safety and avoid damaging your wrench or the object you wish to work on, choose the appropriate wrench type and size. These factors will depend on the object you are trying to loosen or tighten.

  • Attach it to the pipe properly

Once you are certain which type and size of pipe wrench to use, then it is time to put it to work. Start by attaching the jaws on the pipe. Regardless of the size of your wrench, it is strongly advised to leave about half an inch of gap between the hook jaw and the pipe itself. In this way, you get to enjoy the best gripping action.

This very important gap provides just enough room for the hardened jaws to pivot and increase their grip on the object without damaging the teeth and the object itself. This can also eliminate the risk of slippage. As a fortunate result, you will be safe from any form of wrench-related injury.

  • Start pulling

If you have already secured the wrench’s grip on to the pipe, then you can now start pulling it. Pulling a wrench handle instead of pushing it ensures that you don’t bark a knuckle when the wrench accidentally slips off. However, if you absolutely need to push a wrench, then you can do it by using the heel of your hand.

Safety Tips and Reminders When Using a Pipe Wrench

  • Do not add leverage with pipe

Many times over, we have seen people attach a longer piece of pipe over a wrench handle to gain more leverage. Yet, what they fail to realize is that this action puts them at risk of getting injured. Additionally, it can also cause the wrench handle to bend, the head to get jacked up, and damage the wrench head.

For joints that are very hard to loosen, consider applying a good amount of penetrating oil, wait a few minutes, and try loosening it again.

  • Do not hit the wrench with a hammer

Obviously, this will most definitely damage your wrench. Conversely, you also risk your safety and the safety of those around you.

  • Refrain from using any damaged wrench

Similar to any tools, you have to discontinue using your wrench when you notice that it has incurred some form of damage. Any pipe wrench with a bent handle or jaws that are wider than it is supposed to be should not be used anymore to avoid an accident from happening.

  • Buy a quality wrench

If you really want your pipe wrench to last a very long time, it is not enough that you take very good care of it, especially when you know that what you bought is something that is not of the highest quality. Make sure that you only buy pipe wrenches from trusted brands so as to get the most out of your money.

Final Words

Now that you know how to use a pipe wrench, you can now start tinkering with various home repair projects in your house. Just be sure to follow the guidelines that we have shared with you in this article, and you are good to go! We are more than confident that this is just the beginning and that you are on your way to becoming the best home repair guy in the neighborhood. Good luck!

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