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How to use a strap wrench

How to use a strap wrench
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The strap wrench just like the monkey wrench is one of the DIY tools for maintenance. It works by gripping the object using its straps. The grip is to prevent slipping. But before we delve into how to use a strap wrench , let us go over a little history.

If you prefer learning by video, you can watch here:

History and production

The strap wrench was invented by an American Engineer, Bryar George. This was in the year 1921. George was from Boston Massachusetts and the patent was granted to him in 1924.

In his patent acceptance speech, he told the world the specifications of the strap wrench that he invented.

According to him, the wrench was to be used in screwing up pipes with fine and finished surfaces (plated or finished with brass). The wrench would be adjustable on the body of the pipe .

The pipe also will not slip off the grip of the wrench because it will be tightly held by the wrench. The wrench would use the strap to do the holding.

One nice thing about using the strap to hold the pipe tightly is that it does not, under normal circumstances, cause damage to the surface of what it is holding. That is why the strap isn’t made of strong materials.

He also opined that he added a handle to the head. The strap is attached to the head permanently. There is also a shank on the other side of the strap which could be adjusted when secured.

How does the adjustment happen?

The shank is threaded and mounted on another collar which has internal threading. This collar is attached at the strap’s end. The threaded collar is firm and does not move in between the shank and the head. The head, shank, and the collar always maintain their space.  

The head is formed with a circular noose. The strap has to go around this nose before holding the pipe. This ensures that the grip is strong and unshaken.

The adjustable and multi-purpose strap wrench uses the tension that exists in a polyester or rubber strap to hold and turn whatever that is being tightened.

 The strap or gripping part is made of polyester or rubber . So, the probability that the gripped object will be damaged is very low. Therefore, there will be no scratches or damages.

The tool could be used in different plumbing issues. They are the next thing to go to when the plier (channel lock) or a huge crescent wrench is not available.

Whenever you are turning pipes, there is a tendency that the wrench you are using will lose grip and fall off. It is different when you are trying to turn something on the pipe with the wrench. It strongly grips it.

Other wrenches may slip away; the ones that would not slip would most likely damage the pipe you are working with.

So, it is better to use the wrench when you are turning objects with smooth surfaces. The pressure of the strap is enough to turn the pipe.

It gives you both leverage and pressure that you require to adjust the position of materials which would almost be unimaginable to move.

It is very frustrating, that moment when you have to work, say loosen or tighten something, and the tools or worse still, the right tools are not available. If you are one who likes to do things by themselves, this would probably increase your frustration.

In situations like this, you would have to halt whatever it is you are doing and go get the right equipment. Sometimes the issue does not end there. After getting the right equipment, do you know how to properly use the tool that you just got?

That is why it is important if we learn how to use strap wrench today.

Buy strap wrench on Amazon

How does it look like?

The tool has a handle that is curved, and a strap is fixed on a side of the handle. On the adjacent side, there is a slot which is close to the handle’s head.

The slot there has a use; it is through the slot that the strap passes through. It’s just like how a shoelace passes through the holes or a thread, through the eye of a needle .

When you pass the strap through the slot, you can now use it to hold or wind around the object. When you have strapped the object, the strap passes back into the slot.

When making use of this tool, you have to make sure the tool is near the place you want to turn.

You must not hold the rubber strap. The handle does the holding for you. It pinches it and keeps the strap from slipping off.

The tool has two main kinds of grips. When you are working and a type of its grip isn’t doing well, you could use the other type.

First grip

The initial grip is usually the one that is the easiest and simplest. If you want to turn an object, say pipe, to the right-hand side; you have to keep the handle at the left-hand part of the object. At the spot the rubber strap comes through the handle, keep it near the pipe.

Wind the strap round the pipe, then draw it back into the handle which has an adjacent slot. The strap should be folded across the handle’s head then the handle should be taken round towards the right-hand part of the object.

It is at this point that you would fasten strap and exert pressure in turning it.

Second grip

To get the second type of grip is harder. You have to pass the strap through that adjacent opening. If you want to turn the object to the right-hand side, you have to keep handle at the left-hand part of the object.

Create a loop using strap round the pipe then make it pass into that adjacent hole on the handle.  

You can now fold strap across the handle’s head and shift the toll’s handle to right-hand side of pipe.

You can now fasten strap and add pressure to be used to turn the object.

There are many strap wrenches available for commercial sale. It is a tool which holds an object that is being pulled using its chain or strap until the grip is firm.

Great static friction prevents the wrench from slipping off.

Some of the strap wrenches available have a handle of their own, whereas some are just straps. They have to be attached to the head of another wrench, say racket wrench.

The chain or strap of the wrench can come in many forms. In some wrenches, you find that the strap is made from polymers. These straps made from polymers are non-marring; they can withstand high friction; are highly flexible; and smooth

In older times when the polymer strap was not available yet, the wrenches came with a rubber or leather wrench.

Some others are made of spring steel bands. These ones are not as flexible as the rubber or polymer type. They are firmer and would most likely cause damage on the objects they grip unlike the rubber or polymer type.

The chain is like the chain of a bicycle , a roller chain.

What are the types of strap wrench

Chain whips

These are usually used to work on a bicycle. The tool is used for tightening and loosening threaded sprockets that are on the bicycle. The reason why it is called the chain whip is due to the fact that it possesses a small chain section which is used for gripping a sprocket.

Another way by which the sprockets can be tightened is by using rotafix method. This method does not use any tool. The rotafix method is also called frame whipping. The process of reversing the rotafix method is called reverse rotafix.

Oil-filter

How to use a strap wrench
Photocredits: Three-quarter-ten, commons.wikimedia.org

This is a type of wrench and an oil filter which is used to remove oil spills. It is a cylindrical canister, smooth, and has a knurling below. The knurling is hard to grasp, especially when oil has touched them.

The loop in the chain is usually kept around the area where the oil has spilled.

A bar is fit under the opening in the chain and turned in the counterclockwise direction. When this is done, the chain wounds round the oil area. This helps take out the oil spilled over there.

There are three types of oil-filters: the strap type, chain type, and the socket type.

Compressors (Piston ring)

Photocredits: Tibby’s Harley-Davidson, flickr.com

These are wrenches that can squeeze equally piston rings round the piston so that the piston can be slid into cylinders. The compressors actually look like oil-filters, the strap kind of oil-filters.

The difference is that instead of the chain on the head, there is a flat metal piece which circles round the piston. If peradventure there is no wrench, one can use a piston ring that is old or worn-out.

They should be cut into two and used for compressing the new piston rings when piston is being inserted.

When can you make use of the strap wrench?

Assuming you have a strap wrench, you should know when to make use of it. Because tools like this can stay in the box for a long time without being used; the toolbox owner does not know when to apply it.

Well, the tool is very useful and can save you in rainy days.

What can the tool be used to do?

First, you could use the wench to do a little fastening and loosening work in the house. It can be used for pipes, knobs, and any other stuff that has a cylindrical shape.

When you are having issues with your kitchen equipment and utensils, you can employ the use of the tool. It can be used to open the cover of jars that have got stuck and are hard to open. One thing about the tool is that is does not use your muscular energy a lot.

How to use a strap wrench

What you need to do when you want to use strap wrenches is get the object and wind the rubber strap around it.

Whether you would want to get rid of pipe totally or you just want to loosen the lid of some jar, you have to wind the strap right about the object.

The strap wrenches usually have instructions on how to tighten the straps. Follow the instruction and tighten or readjust the strap. You can tug the strap a little to be sure that it is attached tightly.

Video: How to use a strap wrench

This video explains how to use a strap wrench in plumbing.

This tug sort of helps any rumpled part of the strap to straighten and hold the object together.

Grab the handle firmly and twist. This will cause the object to turn. When the object turns, the strap may slip off. If the object is not as loose as you want them to be, you can reattach the strap and continue turning.

If this still proves hard, you can grease or lubricate the area where you will place the wrench. This should make your work very easy.

Unlike other wrenches, the strap wrench is quite easy to use. You do not need to have a user manual to use them. The guide above is more than enough to put you through.

In case you do not have this tool in your toolbox, it is important that you add it; especially if you are a DIY kind of person. The tool can help you fix objects in the house; tighten or loosen drains in the kitchen or the toilet.

As was earlier mentioned, the tool can also be used in the kitchen. In case you have a lid that has refused to open, you could use the strap to loosen such.

Finally, remember that the wrench is most suitable for working on delicate objects and surfaces. Because it provides tension without damaging the object. This is why it is perfect for the pipes.

This is a tool you would not regret to have.

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