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Hand Tool Definitions

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Hand Tool Definitions

A hammer framing hammeris a tool meant to deliver blows to an object. The most common uses are for driving nails, fitting parts, and breaking up objects. Hammers are often designed for a specific purpose, and vary widely in their shape and structure. Usual features are a handle and a head, with most of the weight in the head. he hammer is a basic tool of many professions, and can also be used as a weapon and is perhaps the oldest human tool.

Common types of hammers:

Framing hammer and or claw hammer. framing hammer
Upholstery hammer. upholstry hammer
Sledgehammer. sledge hammer
Ball-peen hammer, or mechanic's hammer. ball peen hammer
Cross-peen hammer, or Warrington hammer. cross peen
Mallets, ( rubber hammer and dead blow hammer). mallet
Splitting maul. splitting maul
Stonemason's hammer. stone masson hammer
Geologist's hammer or rock pick. rock pick

Lump hammer, or club hammer. lump hammer

Gavel, used by judges. gavel 

Tinner's Hammer. tinners hammer



Pliers channel lockare hand tools, designed primarily for gripping objects by using leverage. Pliers are designed for numerous purposes and require different jaw configurations to grip, turn, pull, or crimp a variety of things. They are a tool common to many dexterous trades and occupations. Many types of pliers also include jaws for cutting.

Common types of pliers:
Combination pliers or lineman's pliers. linesman

Flat-nose pliers, flat nosealso known as "duckbill," after their resemblance to a duck's bill. With long, narrow, flat jaws, they are stronger than long-nose (needle-nose) pliers, but less able to reach into really confined spaces.


Round-nose pliers sometimes called snub-nosed pliers. round nose

Long-nose or needle-nose pliers,needle nose which have long, narrow jaws for gripping in confined spaces.

Locking pliers, locking pliersalso called "Vise Grips" or "mole grips"


Tongue and Groove pliers, channel lockalso called Channellock pliers after a common manufacture.


Wire-stripping pliers wire strippers- cuts and removes insulation on electrical wire while leaving the wire intact.


Fencing tools - pliers fencingthat include a hammer, wire cutter and nail puller on one tool.


Retaining-ring retaining ringis used for fixing or loosening retaining

Nail-pulling pliers nail pulling- an adaptation of the end nipper used for cutting wire; the jaws may be asymmetric, allowing the nail to be pulled out with a rocking motion on the surface in which it is imbedded.



The screwdriver screw drivrers is a device specifically designed to insert and tighten, or to loosen and remove, screws. The screwdriver comprises a head or tip which engages with a screw, a mechanism to apply torque by rotating the tip, and some way to position and support the screwdriver. A typical hand screwdriver comprises an approximately cylindrical handle of a size and shape to be held by a human hand, and an axial shaft fixed to the handle, the tip of which is shaped to fit a particular type of screw. The handle and shaft allow the screwdriver to be positioned and supported and, when rotated, to apply torque. Screwdrivers are made in a variety of shapes, and the tip can be rotated manually or by an electric or other motor.

A screw has a head screw headswith a contour such that an appropriate screwdriver tip can be engaged in it in such a way that the application of sufficient torque to the screwdriver will cause the screw to rotate.

Common types of screwdrivers:

Slotted or Flat head slotted screwwhich is the first type of screwdriver type invented.
Phillips head or posidrive was invented in the early 1930s, by Henry Phillips. To be used by Automobile manufacturing assembly lines. They needed screws that could take greater torque and could provide tighter fastenings.

TORX screws torx headare commonly found on automobiles, hard disk drives, computer systems and consumer electronics, but are also becoming increasingly popular in construction. By design, TORX head screws resist cam-out better than Phillips head or slot head screws. Where Phillips heads were designed to cause the driver to cam out, to prevent over-tightening, TORX heads were designed to prevent it. The reason for this was the development of better torque-limiting automatic screwdrivers for use in factories. Rather than relying on the tool slipping out of the screw head when a torque level is reached, and thereby risking damage to the driver tip, screw head and work piece, the drivers were designed to achieve a desired torque consistently.

A hex key, hex keyalso known as an Allen, Alum, hex-head, or zeta key or wrench, is a tool used to drive screws and bolts that have a hexagonal socket in the head. The tool can be manufactured very cheaply, and is often included with products requiring end-user assembly. Either end of the tool can be used to take advantage of reach or torque.

A Robertson screwdriver robertson head(also called a square drive screwdriver) is a type of screwdriver with a square-shaped tip with a slight taper (in the same way that flatheads, Phillips, hex, and Torx have flat, ×-shaped, hexagonal, and hexagram tips, respectively). Robertson screws are used mainly in Canada, but are growing in popularity around the world, as they are one of the most reliable screwdrivers.


A wrench wrenches is a tool used to provide a mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn bolts, nuts or other hard-to-turn items. Quality wrenches are typically made from chromium-vanadium alloy tool steels and are often drop-forged. They are frequently chrome-plated to resist corrosion. The most common shapes are called open-ended spanner and ring spanner.


Common wrench types:

Open-end wrench, open end wrenchor open-ended spanner is a one-piece wrench with a U-shaped opening that grips two opposite faces of the bolt or nut. This wrench is often double-ended, with a different-sized opening at each end. The ends are generally oriented at an angle of around 15 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the handle. This allows a greater range of movement in enclosed spaces by flipping the wrench over.

Ring spanner, box spanneror box-end wrench: a one-piece wrench with an enclosed opening that grips the faces of the bolt or nut. The recess is generally a six-point or twelve-point opening for use with nuts or bolt heads with a hexagonal shape. The twelve-point fits onto the fastening at twice as many angles, an advantage where swing is limited. Eight-point wrenches are also made for square-shaped nuts and bolt heads. Ring spanners are often double-ended and usually with offset handles to improve access to the nut or bolt (as illustrated).

Combination wrench combination wrenchor Combination spanner: a double-ended tool with one end being like an open-end wrench or open-ended spanner, and the other end being like a box-end wrench or ring spanner. Both ends generally fit the same size of bolt.

Flare-nut wrench, flare nutor tube wrench, or line wrench: used for gripping the nuts on the ends of tubes. It is similar to a box-end wrench but, instead of encircling the nut completely, it has a narrow opening just wide enough to allow the wrench to fit over the tube. This allows for maximum contact on plumbing nuts, which are typically softer metals and therefore more prone to damage from open-ended wrenches.

Adjustable end wrench, adjustable wrenchor Adjustable spanner, or Shifting spanner (commonly known as a shifter or as an AJ among UK theatre techs): an open-ended wrench with adjustable (usually smooth) jaws, also sometimes called by the original patent holder's brand name as a Crescent® Wrench.

Monkey wrench: monkey wrenchan old type of adjustable end wrench with a straight handle and smooth jaws. These are also known in the UK as gas grips.

Pipe wrench: pipe wrenchan adjustable-end wrench with self-tightening properties and hard serrated jaws that securely grip soft iron pipe and pipe fittings.

Socket wrench:socket wrench set a hollow cylinder that fits over one end of a nut or bolt head. It may include a handle, but is usually used with various drive tools. It generally has either a six-point or twelve-point recess, may be shallow or deep, and may have a built-in universal joint. The drive handles generally used are:

Break-over (or hinged) handle: breaker barThis handle is also known as a jointed nut spinner or flex head nut spinner, and often as a breaker bar in the United States. It is a long non-ratcheting bar. Breaker bars are often used to free stuck bolts and nuts. The additional length of a breaker bar allows the same amount of applied force to generate significantly more torque than a standard length ratchet wrench.

Ratchet handle ratchet handle(contains a one-way mechanism which allows the socket to be turned without removing it from the nut or bolt simply by cycling the handle backwards and forwards).
Speed handle (sometimes called a crank handle or speed brace).
Screwdrivers handle (for use of the socket as a nutdriver).


Sockets socketsare often sold as a set containing a collection of sockets of various sizes and associated drive tools; usually including, as a minimum, extensions, a ratchet driver, and a universal joint. Sockets are also used with various power tools.


Crowfoot socket wrench: crow foota type of socket designed to fit some of the same drive handles as the regular socket but non-cylindrical in shape. The ends are the same as those found on the open-end, box-end, or the flare-nut wrenches. These sockets use for use where space restrictions preclude the use of a regular socket. Their principal use is with torque wrenches.

Saltus wrench: saltus wrenchsimilar in concept to a socket wrench. A Saltus wrench features a socket permanently affixed to a handle. Sockets are not interchangeable as with a socket wrench. The socket often rotates around the handle to allow the user to access a fastener from a variety of angles. Commonly a Saltus wrench is part of a double-ended wrench, with an open-end type head on the opposite side from the socket head.

A mole wrench, mole wrenchalso known as a mole grip, is not a wrench but a type of self-locking pliers.
A box spanner (UK) is a tube with 6-sided sockets on both ends. It is turned with a short length of rod (tommy bar or T bar) inserted through two holes in the middle of the tube.

Slogging/flogging Spanner: slogging spannerA spanner (both open and ring types are available) with a block end to the handle specifically designed for use with a hammer. Typically used to release large nuts and bolts where the shock of the impact is useful in breaking rust or paint.