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Scott Cam, the builder from Backyard Blitz, looked at shifters and spanners. Shifters and spanners are made in many different shapes and sizes to deal with specific jobs, but the basic requirement is that the spanner must fit the nut snugly. Scott stressed the importance of always buying the best quality tools you can afford.
The most common type of spanner is the open-ended or 'C' spanner. They engage the nut from the side and grip on two faces only. Open-ended spanners are usually double ended with a different size at each end. Ring spanners engage the nut from the top and have completely enclosed heads. They are also double ended with a different size at each end. Combination spanners are a combination of an open-ended and a ring spanner.
Rather than carry around a spanner set containing about 40 different sized spanners, Scott recommended buying shifting spanners in three sizes - small, medium and large. Adjustable spanners will deal with a whole range of nut sizes.
Stilsons are pipe wrenches with pivoted adjustable jaws for gripping pipes. Perfect for undoing the flush pipe at the back of the cistern or the trap under the sink.
These spanners have ring-type heads with a square hole at the back designed to lock into different kinds of handle. Socket sets are available with a ratchet handle, accessories and 30 or 40 different sized sockets.
These adjustable pliers can be used if you need to undo something round without a hex head. (Tip: protect chrome or other shiny surfaces with a rag before using multigrips.)
Shifting spanners - from $15
Stilson spanners - from $30 each
Socket sets - from $60
Multigrips - about $55
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