Introduction: Wrong Size Wrench? No Problem!

Picture of Wrong Size Wrench? No Problem!

I am notoriously bad at selecting the right size wrench, and sometimes it comes back to bite me. I was recently shown this trick by a buddy of mine, and it is a lifesaver!

*Note: while this is a very useful tip, I would not recommend using it in every situation. In some cases (like if you're working on your bike or car) it's better to make the trip to the store to buy the correct tool.

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Hand Tools Only Contest!

Step 1: What You Need:

Picture of What You Need:

- A wrench that's too big, but is as close to the correct size as possible

- An assortment of coins

Step 2: The Trick

Picture of The Trick

- Use a coin, or combination of coins, to fill the gap between the nut or bolt and the too-large wrench.

- Try different combinations of coins to make the wrench as snug to the nut or bolt as possible, since the better the fit is the less likely the wrench is to slip off. This is essential for removing tighter nuts and bolts.


Yonatan24 (author)2016-03-29

Ummm, Pliers? Anyone?

I think they're better than wrenches, They can grip on any sized nut (I've never used wrenches, So correct me if I'm wrong)

zacker (author)Yonatan242016-03-29

Pliers aren't really made for nuts and bolts, they are more for grabbing and holding but can also work in a pinch but you run the risk of stripping the nut or bolt because a normal plier will slip off if you cant exert more force to hold it closed than needed to loosen the fastner. That said, theres a cool looking one (pliers) on Amazon I saw, its made for loosening nuts and bolts but its costly! Its called the Knipex...

DonL68 (author)zacker2017-07-21

You mean 'rounding' the nut, correct? Stripping refers to damaged threads.

bricobart (author)zacker2016-03-29

Knipex is a brandname, over here. They have a variety of all sorts of pliers and I think I know which one you're talking about - it's like a cross-over between pliers & crescent wrench. One of these days I'm going to crack on it since it's a descent tool for all kinds of plumbry. It's worth the cost, for sure!

zacker (author)bricobart2016-03-29

yeah its the one that looks like a water pump plier or a "Channel Lock" ... (see that? what I just did there?

bricobart (author)zacker2016-03-29

Never heard about that channel lock - I had to look it up - and I even don't know how it's called in dutch. It took me a hell of an effort to learn all these specific tool names in french and I just realise that I don't know their names in english. But I got the joke, finally! ;)

zacker (author)bricobart2016-03-29

lol Sorry .. I didn't know you weren't in the US... lol

Yeah for some reason when we find something we like, we will call every other company's version of it by the original company's name... . Like, we love Super glue so every other brand of CA glue that comes out, we call Super Glue, And we love the Hook and Loop fastener Made by Velcro, so now we call every other hook and Loop fastener made by ANY company, Velcro... lol We are just weird like that I guess.

Laral (author)zacker2016-03-29

I AM in the US. I thought YOU weren't! LOL. I only heard 'hoover' used as a verb on British and Australian TV shows. I've never heard an American use that. You have?

zacker (author)Laral2016-03-30

come to think of it, I don't recall hearing any US TV shows use the term Hoovering.. I do recall hearing it once on the British 80s comedy, "The Young Ones" If I remember right, Neil The Hippie somehow was shot up and his head went through the ceiling and he was stuck there and he looked around and said "Oh wow, this floor could use a Hoovering" lol... and that's the one and only time I can remember hearing that term on TV.

P.j.N (author)zacker2016-09-25

The Young Ones. Youre awesome for even saying the young ones. Lmao. Grew up watching that with friends. Hilarious stuff

zacker (author)P.j.N2016-09-26

lol thanks. it was a great show... funny as hell.

Laral (author)zacker2016-03-30

Yeah, and I heard it in the British series 'The Syndicate' more recently.

fattG (author)Laral2016-05-08

"Hoovering' was a common term among marijuana smokers.

Steve_Lane63 (author)zacker2016-09-18

You're right. Vise-Grips is a good example. Many companies make locking pliers, it doesn't matter - we call them all Vise-Grips. Crescent is another example (they made an adjustable wrench).

bricobart (author)zacker2016-03-29

In that case, I should every liquid I like 'beer'...

zacker (author)bricobart2016-03-30

lol I never thought of that. its like how a lot of people say "I'll have a Coke" when ever they want a cola. Personally, id rather have a Pepsi or a Bud Light! lol

LeeS60 (author)zacker2016-03-29

Jello comes to mind.

studiogrynn (author)zacker2016-04-11

well played. Made a similar comment before I saw your post.

CraigC42 (author)bricobart2016-05-18

Knipex is available in Europe and US. Yes their pliers is great.

weldor (author)bricobart2016-03-29

It is a brand name here in the US as well. They are a very good line of tools too! Their thin profile allows them to fit into spots that Channel Locks are to thick for.

bricobart (author)weldor2016-03-29

Agreed! Since years I'm using the small large-small-beeked crescent wrench of the brand VIRAX btw - veeeeery useful in tiny spaces.

Was1x (author)zacker2016-03-29

Howsomever. There are several types of pliers now that rachet, the same with "channel locks" that are spring loaded and autofit, the jaws stay straight, AND some lock into place almost like "vixe grips". The Irwin company makes several.

But I found a special pliers called Vampliers (that's the company name too), that have the teeth parrellel to the head on the front. So one can get down on cap screws especially that have almost no head to grab the regular way. l tried to make one from an older pair of pliers with my Dremel (I'm not sure if that's the brand, or it's some other rotary tool) with a cutting disk. Not too great--yet.

roccitman (author)zacker2016-03-29

Wow, thanks for the tip. Those Knipex are spendy though!

zacker (author)roccitman2016-03-29

yeah for what they are... but I guess if you could use it, its worth it. Any tool that isn't used is a useless tool. lol

roccitman (author)zacker2016-03-29

Roger that! It's on my Amazon wishlist now!

KielV (author)Yonatan242016-03-29

You are wrong....great way to destroy the head of a bolt especially when a bolt is very tight. if it is tight enough to come off with a pair of pliers, it was screwed in incorrectly.

DonL68 (author)KielV2017-07-21

You mean it wasn't torqued?

ac-dc (author)KielV2016-10-09

Or one could argue that if it was too tight to come off the pliers then it was overtorqued. It depends on the particular pair of pliers and your hand and forearm strength, though I will mention that the average joe putting things together, WAY overtorques most fasteners, thinking more is better.

For example in the picture we see what looks like the base of a drill press. It is unlikely it's spec'd for more than 50 lb ft, which I can generate with just about any pair of pliers large enough to clamp down sufficiently on the fastener. Then again, rust increases break free torque when removing a fastener, but the example was not rusty.

Certainly I would grab a six point socket instead. What's the point of tools if you don't use them, and what's the point of trying to repair things if you aren't handy enough to have basic tools like sockets!

Yonatan24 (author)KielV2016-03-29

Ok, What about just buying an adjustable wrench, Which replaces all of them?

Mark 42 (author)Yonatan242016-03-29

Adjustable wrenches have improved, but if you're going to do stuff, buy a proper set of tools. Good tools are a lifetime investment. They don't have to be super expensive ones. I even have some cheap Harbor Freight wrenches which work quite well, and they are guaranteed. I prefer my Craftsman tools though. I keep the cheap ones in the car, boat, cabin, travel trailer, bicycle tool bag, etc..
But when I am working on a real project, I take the time to go get my best tools.

randall554 (author)Yonatan242016-12-18

You clearly are no tradesman or craftsman.

Yonatan24 (author)randall5542016-12-18


Steve_Lane63 (author)Yonatan242016-09-18

Pliers are very useful, and I've used them before on nuts & bolts. But, the correct tool is the right size wrench or socket.

fattG (author)Yonatan242016-05-08

Pliers ruin the nut - but if you don't care...

DavidH870 (author)2017-01-15

a metric adjustable would have done the trick while we are still in the common market other wise you would have to use an impearial one.,?

DonL68 (author)DavidH8702017-07-21

Metric adjustable. Would that be a crescent wrench?

M3G (author)DavidH8702017-01-15

It certainly would, but the right tool isn't always available.

MarianneD24 (author)M3G2017-02-19

Exactly right...the whole point of this post!

J.J.P (author)2017-07-17

I always have `Mole Grips` which work well on larger nuts.

VzBaldwin (author)2017-05-02

I Made It
I used to repair my bike on the road

But i dont have pics of that :(

M3G (author)VzBaldwin2017-05-02

Glad to hear it helped!

nik1boy (author)2017-03-26

Cool Banana's.

stessel (author)2016-12-18

Nice. I see some comments like how 'bout pliers, or go buy an adjustable. Using the right tool is always the best choice, but sometimes you are out in the Maine woods on a Sunday afternoon with a 5 mile hike and a 50 mile drive to a hardware store. A good craftsman can make a tool or part from materials available and get the job done. I still have some tools my Grandfather made. Can't even find tools like some of them today.
Cheers from "Mr. Wizard". Bangor Maine

dgracia17 (author)2016-11-13

You do realize that you will have to re-set the coins with each turn of the wrench right? They will fall out every time you remove the wrench to take another turn. Good emergency measure though.

randall554 (author)dgracia172016-12-18

Oh boy never thought of that one, you must be supper educated.

YvesMañas (author)2016-12-04

Si realmente funciona y creo que si, es muy ingenioso. Gracias

TJLee089 (author)2016-11-14

That's why God made adjustable wrenches.

50588861 (author)2016-11-06

un frigin real I dont have many tools to work with just the essentials so thx I now have extra tools.


M3G (author)505888612016-11-06

Glad I could help!

qdogg (author)2016-10-31

Pliers aren't called butcher tools for nothing, but they're ok in a pinch-- (pun intended).

About This Instructable




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