Roger Bisby tries out two innovative tools from Chicago Brand including the Alden Wrench.
The Alden Wrench set is designed to make it easy to remove nuts and bolts where you have a limited arc. A typical example would be steel cabinets housing electrical equipment but it could also be steel framing, carrier trays or locking nuts for studs on pipe carriers. I have seen this kind of thing from Wera and they are popular among mechanical services trades.
The idea is that you engage the open ended spanner on the nut and with a 30 degree swing it grabs the next side of the nut to pull it around.
With a device such as this you have to accept that slippage may occur if the spanner doesn’t quite grip so it is best used on nuts that have been loosened slightly. If you do use the spanner to crack it open taken care that any slippage won’t cause you injury to your hand. I mention this because a few months ago I was doing a job similar to this on a plumbing fitting and working blind. The adjustable spanner, not this one, slipped and my hand was punctured by a rusty 4inch wire nail that was poking through the underside to the floor. It went in and didn’t bleed which is not a good wound to have.
That small warning aside this is a great little set with six metric sizes. Although they are designed in America they are, despite Mr Trumps best endeavours, not yet made in Chicago but I am sure he is on the case.
The second tool I looked at is by contrast still proudly made in America by Spring Tools from Spokane which as you know is the capital of Spokane County W.A. So now I have placed them on the map, what do they do? This is basically a set of spring loaded centre punches, nail punches and a tiny wood chisel for cutting in face plates and hinges. I used to own a spring loaded centre punch years ago and lost it, who knows where, and I kept meaning to track down another one. To some extent these tools are now partly redundant due to brad nailers and the like but if you like your carpentry tools and do precision work you will love this set. They are well made and those springs pack a punch of up to 3,500psi depending on how hard you pull them out. Just position the punch and pull the back out and let it go.