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In the Deck Master post, commenter Josh mentioned that he liked using the Hardwood Wrench for dealing with bowed planks. Earlier we covered the Cepco BoWrench, a lower priced competitor, but had never covered this particular tool.

Just like the BoWrench, the Hardwood Wrench rides a joist and uses it as a fulcrum to lever misbehaving boards into position. The makers claim that the Hardwood Wrench “applies much more bending power than other methods of straightening decks” (which may or may not be a shot across Cepco’s bow).

You can use the tool over a single joist or move one of the pins into a second position to accommodate double and triple joists. Besides operating in the class two lever configuration as shown above, it also works in a class one configuration, shown below — which is handy if you’re on the first few rows next to a wall or other obstruction. Once you’ve levered the board into position, it “cam locks” so you can let go of it and concentrate on fastening the board in place.

The Hardwood Wrench is made from anodized aircraft-grade aluminum and has a hardwood handle.  You’ll spend just shy of $200 before taxes and shipping to purchase one. Is it worth 4x more than the BoWrench? We’ll leave that up to you.

Hardwood Wrench [Corporate Site]
Hardwood Wrench [The Deck Store]
Hardwood Wrench [Ipe-Decking.com]

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13 Responses to The Hardwood Wrench

  1. fred says:

    Also a bit like the Stanley Board Bender.
    We do enough of this work to buy one of these to try out.
    Of couse the last “deck” we did was actually a private dock where the client insisted on Trex despite our caution that it was likely to get hot in the sun.

  2. Bill says:

    This thing is a knock off of the bo wrench. But aren’t knock offs suppose to be cheaper? This is an inferior product, a wood handle vs. all metal bo wrench and it’s more money? This thing is wood and aluminum, for that much money is should all be stainless steel and it’d still be overpriced.

    Anyone that would pay $190 for this thing vs. $50 for the bowrench is just flat stupid.

  3. Dave P says:

    Yeah, I have to say that I’m not impressed. I’m sure the cam offers more mechanical advantage than the Bowrench’s bar, but other than that I fail to see the reason for paying $150 more. They both lock, they’re both adjustable. But you could outfit a couple of guys with bowrenches for that kind of money.

    I think this tool is aimed at “Lee Valley” tool snobs and clean-shirt foremen.

  4. Bill says:

    The bowrench works on Ipe, Pressure treated, anything, so even if this has extra power, it’s not necessary.

    As Dave said, I think this is for those who tell people how much something costs like that has anything to do with the value of the product.

  5. Robert S says:

    Bill,

    If you have ever used both tools, you would know this is no knock off. The hardwood wrench locks much easier and was much easeir to use. Also, since when is aircraft grade aluminum (as they advertise it as) and hardwoods cheap materials as compaired to a steel tube stock such as the bowrench? The bowrench looks like something I could put to together in my garage with pieces of scrap in about 15 minutes.

    Yes you might be able to outfit a couple guys with cheaper tools for the price of this one, but you could probably have one less man on the job site with the hardwood wrench. So which one is really saving you money?

  6. deckman says:

    I have to agree with Robert here. My company builds docks in the Chesapeake Bay area and we make sure we have a hardwood wrench on every job site. It is hands down the best straightener on the market.

  7. Pete says:

    When you consider the fact that the bowrench is not really adjustable to other joists…you have to buy another $50 adaptor, the price is not as far off as it seems. Yes the hardwood wrench is more expensive still, but trust me, its worth it. It actually locks the board into place and you can let go of the tool…easily. Have you ever actually tried that with other straighteners? It does not really work that well.

  8. Bill says:

    Good to see the people from the company checked in to shill for their product.

    $180 for a board bended is absurd. Well its absurd unless you are impressed with expensive tools.

  9. Chris says:

    Bill: Unless you’ve got some proof to back up these accusations, I suggest you take it elsewhere.

    Seems to me like the hardware on this one is a lot sturdier (looks cast or machined), and the round (rather than square) tubing is stronger. But that’s just an educated guess. I haven’t used either one.

    Is it worth three times the price? How about you buy ’em both, use ’em both in a professional deck-building business for a couple of years, and get back to us?

    cl

  10. Robert S says:

    You both sound ridiculous. I appreciate you Chris trying to stick up for us that have a different opinion than Bill, but the fact of the matter is this, it doesnt matter what he thinks. At this point his name calling and complete lack of respect to others makes me question his motive here.

    We have all said our opinions. Some different than others. Lets leave it at that. If you want to discuss reasons why you back your opinions, thats fine, im more than happy to discuss. But at this point you have yet to address any of the positive reviews people have given. So what exactly are you trying to get at?

  11. Robert S says:

    Actually, after reading again, Bill did make a comment on the handles, even though it was sarcastic. Again, lets try to keep this professional guys…

    While you have a point that a steel handle should be stronger than a hardwood handle, the fact is they both do the job more than adequately. The handles are never the issue when it comes to these type of tools. The biggest difference and the selling point for me is how the cam system works. How the hardwood wrench actually locks and holds itself much easier than any others i have used. So what is better to have? An overkill of a hanlde vs. the tool working better and holding on its own?

  12. david sundseth says:

    We bought two bowrench tools for a large job years ago and they ended up never being used because they were such a pain to deal with and required an extra guy reefing on them. I used a hardwood wrench for the first time this past week and was blown away with how well it worked. It is also built to last whereas the bowrench is not. This tool is worth every penny of $200

  13. Eric D says:

    As a contractor, I’ve used both of these tools professionally, and I much prefer the hardwood wrench. After only two deck projects, the bowrench’s pins bent, which is what led me to buy the hardwood wrench in the first place. The price did seem a bit steep, but overall I’m definitely glad I went with it. The hardwood wrench feels more durable to me, and holds a better grip on deck joists, especially with wet pressure treated lumber. It also adjusts for use on double joists, which required the purchase of a separate add-on with the bowrench. Even working with the most stubborn ipe boards, the hardwood wrench straightened them without issue, the same kind of boards that previously bent the pins on my bowrench.

    The bowrench just seemed like something for the average Joe homeowner’s backyard project, and not a quality tool that would last several years like the hardwood wrench.

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