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Flaring Tool

Although flare connections are very reliable, people don’t use ’em as often as they could because creating them requires special equipment. Fortunately, you really don’t have to make a huge investment in tools — General Tools manufactures an inexpensive flaring tool to get you started making solid flare connections. Their flaring tool makes smooth 45° flares in soft copper, aluminum, brass, and other common, thin-walled tubing.

The hardened and plated steel bars of the flaring tool come with seven hole sizes marked: 3/16”, 1/4”, 5/16”, 3/8”, 7/16”, 1/2”, and 5/8”. Loosening the wing nuts allows the bars to spread for inserting and removing tubing. Twisting the sliding T-handle on the heavy-duty screw drives the freewheeling 45° plated cone into the tubing, flaring it to match the profile of the hole in the bars. Why is one bar much longer than it needs to be? It’s designed for mounting in a vice.

Expect to pay around $20 for General Tools’ standard flaring tool.

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7 Responses to Add A Bit Of Flare To Your Connections

  1. Fred says:

    Maybe this tool would be useful if you were working on some really old car but ISO / double and other more complicated flares and connectors are now more common on hydraulic lines on heavy equipmnet etc. Back in the day (1960’s vintage cars) – sets by Imperial Eastman (or Old Forge if you wanted to spend less) were the thing for working on brake and fuel lines
    For run of the mill plumbing – and tubing applications – compression (flareless) connectors do the trick for most new work.
    Otherwise maybe a Mastercool flare set might fit your needs (if not your pocketbook)

    http://www.tooldiscounter.com/ItemDisplay.cfm?lookup=MAS71475

  2. I have to admit I’m not the most knowledgeable about flare fittings, but from my experience with plumbing compressing fittings and the compression fittings I used to use on gas calibration systems, plumbing compression fittings leave something to be desired.

    The fittings we used to use had a two piece ferrule, you didn’t have to tighten them much more than hand tight and they were gas tight. I was surprised when I first took apart a faucet supply line and found the single piece ferrule. I’ve been plagued by the crappy single piece ferrule that seems to be common in plumbing since then. It seems like you have to tighten the fitting to almost the breaking point to get them to hold water. My father in law has had the same experience so I know it’s not just me.

    Maybe the problem is just the difference between hard and soft tubing or maybe it’s to save money. I just thought when I first came across flare fittings, why aren’t these more common?

  3. Fred says:

    There may well be lots of junk out there – but I have had very good luck with the Hoke Brand (you probably will not find these at Lowes or Home Depot) – which have great interchangeablility.
    We also take the time to use 2 opposing solid and/or ratcheting flare-nut wrenches to hold the body while the compression coupling is made up.
    Your certainly have to pay attention to the tubing material – but Hoke makes connectors that work on stainless steel – so hardness is not the issue – if you chose the right tubing for the right connector. The other issue is tubing prep -out of round or bent (at the end) tubing can produce a leaky connection.

    Here’s a link to Hoke’s info on compatibility:

    http://www.hoke.com/products/fittings/gyrolok/pdf/79307_1205_lo.pdf

  4. Sam says:

    Great tool. When we replaced our ailing electric HW heater with a propane one and when the gas guy came to hook it into our supply he used his handy flare tool. He said that he has seen fewer long term problems with a flared fittings vs. compression in his job.

    Needless to say when we were installing a stacked washer/dryer combo in the second level of our house I got the gas dryer, picked up the exact flare tool above and did the job myself.

    Very easy, and a great solid, no worries connection.

  5. Fred says:

    What Sam is talking about is making up gas connections. Compression connections are more commonly use for liquid lines – not gas. I satnd by what I said earlier – but would never use (and in my locality it is illegal) a straight through compression connector for natural gas. Nor do we use tubing for gas runs (also illegal here.) We use black iron threaded pipe with pipe dope – up to a gas-rated union to make hard connections to water heaters and furnaces. We still install a capped drip leg ahead of the appliance – to help catch any debris or condensed liquids. For gas dryers and stoves and when the ability to move the appliance is needed – we install a gas cock and then a length of approved flex tubing that has factory made terminations making sure that our pipe nipple layout prevents the flex from being unduly stressed.

  6. Jack Daniels says:

    So i have been looking every where and maybe someone can help me out. My old man had this flaring tool that I loved, worked great for single and double flares. Turns out though that someone loved it more then me and it went with them F…ER! Anyway, it was more of a ‘plier’ design, with red handles… by opening the handles it took the tension off the two ‘anvils’ which rotated for the different dimensions of tubing… then closing the handle would tighten the anvil clamping the tube… a horse shoe arm would then slide over and lock down with several dies for different flares. it was very nice, locked like a set of vise grips, so very quick and easy when doing multiple flares, just open and close. so if anyone knows of such a thing, please share the info. chezoom57@aol.com

  7. Andrew says:

    the yellow jacket deluxe flare tool sounds like what you described very nice flares, hvac professor/plumber had one around $125 to 150 going price

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