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The forged jaws of this thumbturn pipe wrench tighten as you apply torque to the pressed steel handle — and the jaws continue to tighten as you increase the force.  The knurled thumbscrew provides a convenient way to adjust the wrench without changing your grip.

Patented back in 1875, this wrench has been around over 100 years.  While the design seems sound, you have to wonder why it isn’t more commonly used.

Currently manufactured by Footprint Tools, the wrench is available in 7″, 9″, and 10″ lengths.  It looks like the 9″ wrench runs about $20 and the 12″ wrench runs $40.

Thumbturn Pipe Wrench [Footprint Tools]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


6 Responses to Thumbturn Pipe Wrench

  1. Clark F says:

    I pointed it out in the last wrench post, but I own 2 Snap-On versions (slightly different design, but same principles) of this product. They absolutely surpass a regular pipe wrench in all aspects. And no slipping! because you apply force to it like a pliers. A regular pipe wrench will never set foot in another one of my toolboxes.

  2. Blair says:

    I too have a version of this wrench that I inherited about 30 years ago. I would imagine knowing the time line of the uncle who originally owned it, that it dates to the early 1900’s

    It is still a viable, and valued tool in my inventory, and I think he would have liked that.

  3. Julian says:

    Amazon has the 9″ on sale for less than $13 as of 4 pm central on 9/4/08. What a deal! Thanks TM for letting me know of this tool’s existence!

  4. fred says:

    We have sone European variants of these bearing the Sandvik and/or Bahco brand.
    The regular style pipe wrench (used to be called “Stillson”) like those marketd by Ridgid , Reed, Rothenberger et al – have a purposful slip action – allowing you to tighten then easily reposition the wrench in the counterclockwise direction and then start over.

    We carry pairs of these (so called normal wrenches) in many different sizes on all of our trucks – find little use to the locking kind. We do like Knipex pliers though – as a bit more modern application.

  5. Clark F.

    Yeah, after a closer look the design of the snap-on is different (somewhat similar to the Knipex too) but the principle is the same. I failed to put two and two together.

    Not that it has anything to do with performance, but I think this wrench looks cooler.

  6. Clark F says:

    Having to do with performance – mine are longer then these versions = more leverage.

    12″ for the small one, and 17″ for the intermediate, about 22″ for the “heavy duty” model, but I wasnt about to try and justify that.

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