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It’s easy to forget that the adjustment part of adjustable wrenches don’t require much force; All that’s required is that you adjust the wrench’s jaws to fit the bolt — not crush it.  Thankfully some manufacturers haven’t forgotten this simple fact, and have come out with some cool alternatives to the standard thumb-wheel adjuster.  To adjust the RapidSlide, for example, you simply move the slide-button mechanism back and forth.

It looks like this would be a bit easier to accomplish one-handed, especially if you end up having to adjust the wrench a lot.  There’s nothing worse than cranking and cranking to get the wrench down (or up) to size.  You can actually run the RapidSlide from fully closed to fully open with a single motion.

Our only obvious concern with the RapidSlide is the durability of the mechanism.  Will it hold up to constant shop use?  Crescent added a “debris shield,” but it seems like grit, oil, and metal shavings could easily get in the sliding mechanism.

At any rate, they’re not too expensive if you’d like to try one out.  Street pricing for the 8″ version (pictured) starts around $13, and you can find them at most big-box retailers as well as via various online distributors.  (Read: They’re easy to find.)

8″ RapidSlide Adjustable Wrench [Crescent]
Street Pricing [Froogle]

 

7 Responses to Finds: Crescent RapidSlide Adjustable Wrenches

  1. Myself says:

    SuhWEET. Much better idea than the battery-powered gizmo! If this mechanism can hold its setting without wiggling loose, I’ll be extremely happy. Thirteen bucks isn’t bad, I think this just went on my winter commercial holiday list. 🙂

    As for crud in the mechanism, I hope it disassembles for cleaning. Anything that can’t be cleaned gets sent back to the manufacturer if it starts having dirt problems. 🙂

  2. Eli says:

    Restoration hardware was hawking these for a while by a different manufacturer, but they dropped it before I could get one. I bet the Crescent version is better. On the subject of cleaning wrenches, I’ve rescued several ratchets that had stopped ratcheting by soaking them in WD. Works for combo locks too, although my wife was totally unappreciative when I offered her up keg cup full of ‘locktail’

  3. Myself says:

    The ratchets, I just take apart. I have some tiny needle-nose that do just fine with snap rings, and that’s usually all it takes to get into a ratchet head. A few drops of 3-in-1 before reassembly does the trick.

    For locks, most of the stubborn ones I encounter are frozen thermally, not chemically. Winter’s a great excuse to carry a propane torch! For the rest, yes, saturating them with penetrating oil is a great help. Sometimes it just takes percussive maintenance to free a stubborn mechanism. But in those cases, it’s always just age and neglect that’ve taken their toll on the innards, not crud specifically.

    I don’t imagine this wrench mechanism wearing out too quickly, just that crud might jam it up and interfere with its travel. If that’s the case, I hope it’s openable!

  4. John says:

    I had one of these a few years back by another maker and the mechanism does go bad from getting dirty and use; I don’t think the rapid slide can torque as good as the Black & Decker wrench. Also, if you are a lefty like I am the slide is upside down and useless to adjust for someone like me. The Autowrench is more user friendly and no mattrer what way you hold the wrench the switch is right there for you, righty or lefty, tightening or loosening. Alot of tool manufacturers forget about us lefty people and make tools for the right hannded population. Thanks Black & Decker for thinking about us lefty people and shame on you Crescent for not doing a better job.

  5. Johnny says:

    I have two. They break quite easily.

  6. Arby Schuman says:

    I’ve been using this type of wrench since it first became available in 1976. It was first offered under the Manufacturers name “Quali-Kraft” by Brookstone. Someone stole mine around 1990. When I went to Brookstone, they told me that they no longer carried them. I begged and cajoled and finally got someone at Brookstone to tell me where they came from. It was made (and probably designed) by a guy in Wisconsin. I developed a phone relationship with him and bought several different versions including a gold plated one. It’s been a long time (20 years) since I spoke with him. At that time he told me that production had been halted due to rising costs in Japan (where it was made). He had negotiated with a former MIG plant in Russia to have them made again. He was successful but, a large shipment of Russian made wrenches were held up in Customs and subsequently disappeared. He was quite old at that time and I assume he is no longer with us and that either his wife or relatives sold the patent to Cooper/Crecent. I’ve used the original Quali-Kraft for at least 35 years with no problems and even have used them as a hammer. They are easy to adjust, open and clean. When you adjust to closely fit a bolt head and apply torque, the head will lock up until you release torque.
    Arby

  7. Jeff says:

    Everything old is new again… I stumbled across this page while looking for an example of an adjustable wrench with a slider mechanism — only the one I’m looking for is a bit older. U.S. Patent 1,397,214 was issued on November 15, 1921 to Titus S. Hose for an adjustable wrench with a spring-loaded slider to hold the adjustable jaw in position. Titus was the Secretary of the Henry Cheney Hammer Company and they did make adjustable wrenches, but I haven’t found one that matches this patent.

    I wonder if that guy in Wisconsin knew about Titus’ patent…

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