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Plumbers know the difference between a Stillson and a Monkey wrench!

You might think that there's no difference! Or so insignificant that it's a rather minor, even silly piece of information to know! But in fact you may be wrong!Often described by their size, i.e. 18" wrenches are known as '18s' - the previously common term 'Stillson' or 'set of Stillsons' is being replaced in everyday speech by the term 'monkey wrench', although this is actually, not technically correct ! The term 'monkey wrench' refers to a now rarely used type of adjustable wrench that was designed for use with nuts rather than with round pipes.So, could still be the cause of error, confusion and possible incorrect applications leading to mishaps or accidents. Approved City & Guilds NVQ Plumbing training courses are careful to impart the right information on the correct type and use of tools for particular applications. Even weekend or short DIY courses will ensure that the right tool for the right job is taught.Thus, it really is important to discover that the pipe wrench - or Stillson wrench - is an adjustable tool used for turning soft iron pipes and fittings with a rounded surface. The design of the adjustable jaw allows it to rock in the frame, so any forward pressure on the handle tends to pull the jaws tighter together. Teeth angled in the direction of turn dig into the soft pipe.They are not intended for use on hard hex nuts because they would ruin the head. However, when a hex nut becomes rounded beyond use with standard wrenches, the pipe wrench is sometimes used to break the bolt or nut free. It's very probably for this reason that the confusion may have arisen.Getting the term right is important when buying the tool you require! Pipe wrenches are usually sold in the following sizes (by length of handle): 10, 14, 18, 24, 36, and 48 inches, although smaller and larger sizes are available as well. They are usually made of either steel or aluminium. Teeth, and jaw kits (which also contain adjustment rings and springs) can be bought to repair broken wrenches, as this is cheaper than buying a new wrench.There are a number of similar looking tools that a plumber will use, say when shaping lead for roof weatherings, but each one performs their own particular function, so it's good discipline to get into the habit of only using the right tool for the job each time.