How to properly use the "crescent" wrench.

I describe the correct way (yes, there is a correct way) to use this wrench.
This video is part of the heating and cooling series of training videos made to accompany my websites: and to pass on what I have learned in many years of service and repair. If you have suggestions or comments they are welcome.
If you are a homeowner looking to repair your own appliance, understand that the voltages can be lethal, the fuels are highly flammable and high pressures are used. Know your limits.


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49 thoughts on “How to properly use the "crescent" wrench.

  1. Says 'proper use'… turns the nut using the wrong orientation of the head. The wrench should face right for tighten, left for loosen, to put the shortest lever arm on the mobile jaw.

  2. Quite correct,one should always position the wrench onto the bolt so that the hook (upper jaw) takes the load and tighten it snuggly,then pull on the wrench towards you, a quarter turn at a time..this prevents the wrench slipping,rounding hexagons and causing accidents..Personally I dont like adjustables of any brand,I prefer to use ring spanners or sockets..Little history lesson here,adjustables were invented in Sweden in 1892,by Bahco,amd were OK back then as there werent any standardized sizes of bolts like today,the bolts on your Swedish farm machinery were made by the factory that made the machinery to start with,and many bolts were square uniform sizes,and people dressing the bolt heads with files to tidy up worn sides because there were no replacement bolts thereby altering the sizes even further necessitated such a tool…Nowadays things are different,standardised sizes,and easy availability..but adjustables still remain with us..Proper procedure is to use a ring spanner,to unlock the bolt,proper balanced stance,pulling spanner towards you,then a open end for speedy removal of the unlocked bolt..adjustables are costlier and more time consuming to manufacture than ring spanners.


  3. what about wrenches without the "hex" cutout? Meaning, both edges are straight and for a 90 degree angle with the base…does the same philosophy hold true?

  4. My grandpa and great grandpa both worked at crescent tool co in Jamestown NY and made crescent wrenches so whenever I pick up a old crescent wrench I wonder if my grandpa made it

  5. When I use this wrench, the wrench rounds out! The bolts stay nice & crisp on the corners. Am I using the wrench incorrectly or do I have the wrong bolts?

  6. Stationary jaw always goes where the pressure is being applied when turning..clockwise turn, solid jaw on the right, counterclockwise turn, solid jaw on the left with adjustable jaw on the right

  7. From the time I took my first machine shop class I was always told to "use an adjustable wrench in the direction of the movable jaw" and if I was caught using it incorrectly, I received a stern warning the first time and a rap on the knuckles with the wrench the second time. So I learned early to use an adjustable wrench the proper way.

  8. I want to buy a wrench and Im wondering if a six inch crescent wrench is enough for basic home use??? or is it the bigger the better???

  9. I think you are wrong about the force being on the 'weakest part' of the wrench. The way you show has the force at the greatest distance from out on the movable jaw – the weakest point on the wrench. That's just my opinion, as well as the opinion of my high school shop teachers (3 of them).
    Again, just an opinion. I don't want to start one of those nasty internet hate festivals.

  10. my grandfather used to yell at me calling these tools crescent wrenches
    evidently they were originally called shifting wrench and the company that made them were called the crescent company
    cheers for the vid

  11. Auto-mechanic dorks can sit down and shut up. Tradesmen don't fiddle in a garage all day. We work on scaffolding, ladders, in trenches, basements, in crawl space. That's why we use these tools. Its not feasible for us to have a snap-on gangbox everywhere we go.

  12. Grayfurnace man forgot to tell you that when you're LOOSENING a tight nut/bolt, the wrench head should be turned over so that the stress is still on the head. FYI: If you plan on using a "Crescent" wrench to loosen an extremely tight fastener make sure you have your first aid kit handy. You'll probably need it.

  13. When you're tightening the bolt in the video you are applying the greater stress on the farthest end of the sliding jaw. If the wrench was turned the other way (the wrong way according to you), the major stress is applied to the inner end of the sliding jaw, which is correct.
    Any of these wrenches that I have seen which are broken have broken at the inner end of the sliding jaw due to too much force at the outer end of that jaw.
    The sliding jaw is the weakest part of the wrench.
    I have asked how the operator uses this type of tool and they have, without exception, been using it the way you did.
    The major force should always be applied to the inner end of the sliding jaw, tightening or loosening.
    Your advice on backing off the sliding jaw and re-adjusting the jaw to fit the hex is sound.

  14. Quick pic to show how to use a crescent wrench (important to ensure contact on 3 sides of the nut or bolt head):

  15. why would you need any of them other than the outside two? sure one of the middle ones would be nice but 6 different ones?

  16. Thanks bro…very good information! Been trying to find something like this for some time and I just happened on your video!

  17. Crescent is the name of the company not the name of an adjustable open end wrench
    Example your 4 inch is an Omega not a Crescent.

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