Wrenches, Pliers and Clamps Wrenches, Pliers and Clamps

Most common Mistakes:

Using extra-leverage items to tighten clamps. At some point in any project, you will be attaching, dismantling or assembling what you have been measuring and sawing. These operations can be done in a variety of ways.

Pry bar Most people need a pry bar around the house. This demolition tool is useful where pulling nails, ripping wood, and prying molding from walls needs to be done. A pry bar offers more leverage than a hammer.

Another special item useful around the house is a com-a-long. This device has a cable and a ratcheting handle used to pull things together. It is useful for anything from making framing sections square and plumb to pulling a car out of a ditch.

Wrenches and Pliers

A wide variety of wrenches or pliers are not necessary for woodworking, but some of the more common ones have their place around the house.

Adjustable Wrench An adjustable open-end wrench will fit any size nut within its opening capacity. The best choice for the homeowner is one that opens to 5/16".

The box or socket wrenches are used for removing nuts and bolts and are fitted to the size of the fastener.

Allen wrench. These are useful for recessed screws and setscrews.

Pipe wrenches. Pipe wrenches are necessary to tighten (or loosen) plumbing pipes. Use two wrenches (especially when working on existing pipe) - one to keep the pipe in place, the other to turn the pipe or fitting out.

Locking wrench. This wrench works like a clamp for holding pipes and other objects in place.

C-clamp Strap wrench. Primarily for chrome-plated fittings, this wrench prevents marring the chrome-plated finish.

Slip joint pliers. These pliers have jaws that lock into normal and wide opening positions, for use in holding.

Lineman's pliers. These are useful in electrical work. They have side cutters for heavy-duty wire cutting and splicing.

Channel lock pliers. These pliers, with multi-position pivots, adjust for openings up to 2".

Bar Clamp Long-nosed pliers. Sometimes called "needle-nosed pliers," these get into hard-to-reach places and are used to shape wire and thin metal.

End-cutting nippers. Use these to snip wire, small nails and brads.

Tip on Wrenching and Plying:

Make sure the jaws of the wrench or pliers are snug in position before you manipulate the handle, to avoid slippage or scraped knuckles.


Clamps are for holding objects together while they are being worked on, or while various adhesives are drying.

Handscrew C-clamp. This clamp is the most common. So named because of its shape, it has a swivel head that makes the clamp self-aligning for odd-shaped pieces.

Bar clamp. This is useful for clamping extra-wide work.

Vise. The vise is a workbench tool and should be firmly secured before being used. It is used for holding work being sawed, bored, glued or formed in some way.

Handscrew. This has hardwood jaws which move in opposite directions due to the threading of the screws. The smooth wood and broad jaws protect the surface of the work being clamped. This is used for cabinet and furniture work.

Spring clamps. These clamps are for smaller bonding uses. They are also used when slow removal of pressure is needed.

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