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Monkey Wrench

Crescent may not call it a monkey wrench, but many of their retailers do. It’s clear their Auto Wrench — John Piccone gonna sue somebody! — evolved from the wrench Charles Moncky patented. Witness its flat toothless jaws and how the lower jaw adjusts instead of the upper. This is no pipe wrench.

Crescent designed this wrench for automotive work. They forge it from tool steel and machine it to exceed government specifications. Then they chrome plate it to protect the wrench from corrosion.

Although it’s available in 9″, 11″, 15″, and 18″ lengths, I’m recommending the 18-incher next time you need to throw a “monkey wrench” into the works. It has a jaw capacity of 4-3/8″ and runs almost $90.

Crescent Auto Wrench [Manufacturer]
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10 Responses to Crescent Wants To Be Your Monkey Wrench

  1. kif says:

    Ha, ha! Clever title!

    Automotive work? For anything more sophisticated that a Model T, I don’t see it. And $90 (granted thats the price for the big one) will buy you enough wrenches of the Snap-On truck to cover about 80% if automotive fasteners.

    I have worked in one trade and watched and talked to people in other trades, and have never seen that tool used once. (Maybe an oilfield worker would use one?) And anything more than $2 is a lot to pay for something that’s sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen junk drawer that she’ll let you have for free.

  2. Sweetalker says:

    I am in the Air Force and we use them all of the time. We use it for large hydraulic lines. The 90 degree offset gets into a lot of places a regular wrench won’t, plus the handle readily accepts “Torque Extenders,” (also known as cheater bars.) It is easier to deploy with a few Ford wrenche, as we call them, than with a dozen different size open end wrenches. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t grab one of these babies to loosen a battery cable or try to loosen a nut, but it has it’s place

  3. Netpackrat says:

    The Ford wrench is also quite common in civilian aviation, and as mentioned, is a standard tool for large hydraulic lines. The wide, smooth, flat surfaces spread the load and reduce the chance of damaging expensive fittings. It’s useful enough that it is included in the minimum list of tools that my employer requires me to carry.

  4. dirtboy36 says:

    I use one of these in plumbing. It works great, usually, for taking apart flush valves. Quick to change size and it doesn’t leave tool marks.

  5. I originally posted this because when I found this tool searching around the net, I couldn’t get the Foo Fighter’s Monkey Wrench song out of my head (the refrain was the original title). That and “Monkey Wrench” just conjures up all kinds of images when you say it.

    Its really cool to see people posting how they use this tool. I suspected they were used in in applications where you didn’t want to damage the nut or fitting, but I had never seen one in any body’s toolbox before. I’m not likely to go out and buy one for my toolbox either.

  6. Old MSgt says:

    It is not a “moncky wrench”, “monkey wrench” or variety thereof. Those are different in design.

    The wrench design in question, usually called a “Ford” wrench (because Ford supplied them for adjusting water pump packing gland nuts among other parts and they are often found with Ford script stamping) has been available for many years. The classic USAF “Ford” wrench was made by Diamond Tool until a few years ago (as I found out when trying to order more for our F-16 aircraft maintenance tool kits) and is famous in the military. They rarely bend, break, or wear out. The Crescent shown is almost identical, and they are uniquely useful for their right angle design combined with short jaw length and wide adjustment. They are not for small hardware, but are VERY nice to have in a well-equipped mechanics tool box.

  7. Bus says:

    The Charles Moncky thing is an urban or pre-urban legend. No wrench patent issued to him has ever been found. Also the Crescent wrench is not even a monkey wrench but has always been called an auto wrench by he various manufacturers and now by collectors. This is also what Crescent is calling them in their ads.

    They were included in the tool kits of numerous cars over the years including ever Ford Model “T” and “A” produced. These were low quality and probably gave the wrench a bad reputation, But there were higher quality ones made by Diamond Tools, Mossberg, Billings & Spencer, and Crescent, (they made a 9″ and 11″ back in the 1920’s). The Pierce Arrows had high quality 11″ and 14″ Billings & Spencer auto wrenches in their tool kits and Indian Motocycles has a little 5 incher.

    I have used a big Diamond on many a hitch ball nut, These Diamonds in excellent condition can still be found used for a fraction of the new Crescent price.

  8. martin says:

    This is one of the best collections of comments on Monkey wrenchs and auto wrenchs I have found. I do have in my possesion one of the diamond auto wrenchs which I obtained over fifty years ago, I finally managed to break it with a torque extender, IE cheater bar. It gave out while working on my farmall H tractor. I still have one good diamond auto wrench, and about a hundred diffferent monkey wrenchs.

  9. Dean S.Bird says:

    Good info above. My first car was a 1941 Ford – somewhat used and purchased for $35. In the trunk, under two floorboards with finger holes in them was a toolkit. I still have most of the items and have found the “Ford” logo adjustable auto wrench useful- especially for plumbing. I carry it in my toolbox. As I recall the full kit had a crank, adjustable wrench, two box wrenches, two open end wrenches, pliers, screwdriver and an interesting solid round steel rod jack with a tire iron used for a handle. (A locking clamp held the car up!) Back in the 1990’s Popular Mechanics had an article about a new wood clamp and I wrote a letter which they published indicting it was but a variation of the old Ford jack.
    Yesterday I bought a sandwich and wandered into the new pawn shop next door – went back today and bought a “Diamond Forged” “U.S.A.” “C715” wrench in near mint condition. ($20 and glad to get it!) Have just noticed a very faint “M” stamped near the top of the wrench and wonder if it could mean “Military”? Might also note that the logo is an upside down horseshoe with a diamond in the center.


    Great for working on ship.

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