Milwaukee 18″ Aluminum Pipe Wrench Review: What’s in Your Toolbox?
The Milwaukeean 18″ aluminum pipe wrench is one of the most popular tools among mechanics because it offers a wide range of uses. The tool comes with a long handle which makes it easy to hold and use. On top of its size, the tool features a large, rounded head that helps make it easier to grasp when working on tight bends or small parts.
The tool comes with a rubber grip that provides good control while working on hard surfaces. The handle is made from plastic so it won’t scratch your work surface and the flat side allows you to easily slip it into pockets or bags without having to worry about dropping it.
There are three Phillips head screws included in the package that allow you to secure the tool securely in any position.
You’ll find two different sizes of the tool in the kit. One size fits most standard sized holes and fasteners while another size fits smaller holes and fasteners.
You’ll need to choose which size is right for you based on how many fastener sizes you have available in your shop. The tool weighs only 2 ounces, making it easy to carry around and maneuver around your work area.
How to Use the Milwaukee Aluminum Pipe Wrench
It’s a good idea to always wear safety goggles when working with a pipe wrench as these tools can damage your eyes quite easily. The tool will come with some basic instructions on how to use it so be sure to read those before you get started.
The tool works by using two metal jaws that form around the pipe and use a ratcheting movement to grip it safely and securely.
The tool requires several different types of movements in order to be able to get a good grip over the pipe. The instructions that come with it should be able to help you identify the best way to get a grip on your specific pipe.
Once the jaws are around the pipe, just turn the handle clockwise to tighten them.
You’ll want to make sure the wrench is wrapped securely around the pipe before you begin turning the handle otherwise you may end up damaging the pipe further. If the pipe is especially damaged, it may be necessary to use a hammer to drive it back into shape before using the wrench.
Once you have a solid grip over the pipe, you can turn the handle as much as you’d like.
Don’t force it, though! If the pipe starts to bend or bow while you’re turning the handle, then you need to stop immediately and find another way to work with it.
Always use the pipe wrench in a direction that’s parallel with the pipe as using it at an angle can cause the jaws to slip off and send your hand towards dangerous jagged edges. Make sure the pipe you’re working on is well supported by other pipes or your own body weight before trying to tighten down on it.
You wouldn’t want it to slip out from under you and cause injury!
Maintenance and Cleaning
Once you’ve had the pipe wrench for a while, you’ll notice that the gripping surfaces get covered with grease and oil. Over time, this slipperiness can make it hard to use so you should wipe them down and reapply some fresh oil before each use.
An even better way to keep the tool working well in all conditions is to make sure you’re wearing some work gloves at all times. This will keep the oils on your hands from getting on the tool and will protect your hands from injury.
If you’re working with particularly rust-prone materials, you’ll definitely want to wipe it down with a light oil before storing it away to prevent it from rusting. A simple rag can do the job just fine, but you may need to use a stronger solvent if it’s heavily caked in grime and grease.
One thing you’ll definitely want to do is NEVER try to wash this tool in a dishwasher or with any other form of detergent. Doing so can cause the plating to come off of the metal and it can severely degrade the gripping surfaces over time.
If rusting does become a problem, you can use a light abrasive like sandpaper to take the rust off and then apply some more oil before using it again.
You should never use this tool for anything but opening or closing pipes. Trying to use it for any other purpose can result in damage to the tool and injury to yourself.
This tool has the same gripping points on each end and can be used for most pipe jobs around the house. It’s especially good for gripping irregular shapes like an old rusty drain pipe.
Just remember, it should never be used for anything other than pipes or else the plating could come off of the gripping surfaces and render it useless.
The handles are also insulated to protect against electric shock in the water.
Pros and Cons
This is a great all-purpose wrench that will work on most household pipes. It’s easy to use and even easier to find at any hardware store.
It’s not designed for large jobs so you’ll want to keep looking if you have seriously outdated or damaged pipes but for smaller jobs, this tool can’t be beat!
This is a five out of five star rating for the simple fact that it’s so easy to find and can be used for most standard household jobs. The only reason I can’t give it a perfect score is because it isn’t designed for heavy industrial work but then again, if you’re having to do that then you’re probably going to need some professional help anyway!
That just about does it for today’s episode. Don’t forget to write in next week to find out what tools you’ll need to finish up that pesky plumbing job!
Until then, remember that when disaster strikes, you can always count on the “Tool Guy” to get you out of trouble!
Life Pro Tip: Always keep an eye on your pipes and always keep your tools at the ready!
Sources & references used in this article:
- Pipe wrench (K Harvey, J Marcelle, CZ Li, JA Cemke… – US Patent App. 14 …, 2015 – Google Patents)
- Framing Square (E Mackey, KW McCutcheon – US Patent App. 16/409,392, 2019 – Google Patents)
- Replaceable wrench jaws (CG Gower – US Patent App. 12/746,161, 2010 – Google Patents)
- Adaptive Technology Catalog (C JMU – commons.lib.jmu.edu)
- Wildlife water catchment construction in Nevada (WR Brigham, C Stevenson – US Bureau of Land …, 2003 – digitalcommons.unl.edu)