Monday, December 6, 2010

The Perfect Wrench... If Ever One Has Cause To Use It: The Stanley 12" Adjustable

The Good: Sturdy, Works well over years, Nice gauge, Comfortable Grip
The Bad: A bit large for many projects
The Basics: Ideal for big projects, the grip on the Stanley 85-786 helps the hands not tire when they are twisting nuts and bolts with heads up to 1 ½"!

As I continue through my toolbox, I find myself finding that I am in possession of some truly amazing tools and at the same time, that I have severe overkill when it comes to others. At the bottom of my toolbox - since I abandoned my house - is a massive wrench that I have only used three times over the course of the five years I have had it. And while I initially thought that a wrench that simply does what it is supposed to would make it average and one this large might be a tougher sell than one I would use more frequently, I came to believe that this is the ultimate wrench for any bolt square or hexagonal nut up to 1 ½" in size, so long as the project one is working on has bolts that are at least two inches apart. The wrench I am writing about is the Stanley 12" 85 - 786 ergonomic handle adjustable wrench.

The Stanley 85-786 adjustable wrench is just under 12" long from the base to the tip of the head and is made of solid stainless steel. This wrench is adjustable from a closed position all the way up to 1 ½" wide. However, because this is such a large adjustable wrench, the stationary and mobile portions of the wrench's head have a ridiculously large footprint; 1 ¾". This is a lot of workspace to lose between bolts and on many projects, this wrench will be too big. But for projects with large, well-spaced bolts (like on a fence where one is securing the fence to the posts) this is actually ideal. The head is flat on the sides and is over ½" thick at the base.

Use of the Stanley 85-786 adjustable wrench is ridiculously simple. There is a dial in the head which one twists to open the wrench up so it may be slipped around nuts or bolt heads. One of the key selling points which differentiates this wrench from the average adjustable wrench is that the bottom of the "mouth" of the wrench has a gauge. Etched into the base is a ruler measuring from zero to 1 ½" in 1/16" increments. This allows those who know the size of the nuts they are tightening or loosening to simply open the head to the proper length before using the wrench to turn them. The wrench is then fitted around the nut or bolt and one turns it.

A wrench works on a simple principle of leverage, making the work easier to do because the user is further away from the work. The Stanley 85-786 works perfectly for this and it opens easily, but also tightens around bolt very easily. Every time I have used this wrench, it did not slip and the heavy steel composition of the wrench makes it unlikely that it would ever bend or loosen from continual use.

The other selling point of the Stanley 85-786 adjustable wrench is the rounded grip. The smooth steel shaft of the wrench is cast without any sharp edges and it tapers toward the head. This makes it fit much more naturally into a human's grip (which is curved, not made of straight planes) and it makes it very comfortable to use. On my fence project, I used the wrench (in conjunction with other tools) for over eight hours and my hands did not get tired. This truly makes the work very easy.

That said, this is a rather heavy tool at over a pound. But that extra mass helps the user build momentum when using it. At the base of the grip is an open loop which makes it easy to hand this heavy wrench up.

For those looking for a durable tool which will never rust, does not seem to wear out and is great for projects from toilets (with their large bolts) to fences, the Stanley 85-786 12" adjustable wrench may well be the ideal wrench.

For other Stanley tools, please check out my reviews of:
Stanley 87-367 6" Adjustable Wrench
Stanley 60-002 Phillips Head Screwdriver
Stanley 66-052 6-piece Precision Screwdriver set


For other tool reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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