Buying decent sockets,spanners and other hand tools..

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When buying hand tools price shouldn't be the most important factor although value for money might be.Cheap carbon steel spanners and sockets are adequate for most DIY work but don't last in a commercial enviroment where they will be subjected to heavy use.Carbon steel spanners are often thick and bulky as they would not be strong enough if made with slim handles or heads, chrome vanadium steel is stronger and if it doesn't say chrome vanadium on it,its probably because it isn't..Impact sockets are normally chrome molybdenum (and coloured black for ease of identification) this is because impact sockets must resist shattering when tightened with power or air tools.Just as important as the material used to make them is the accuracy of the driving surfaces,cheap imported spanners are often ill fitting and will damage tight fastenings,jagged metal parts will seem to attract your knuckles like magic when a spanner or socket slips and as a result prove an expensive and painfull way of saving money.Look inside sockets at the quality of the machining and casting.Avoid tools that feel light,heavy chrome plating apart from hiding casting flaws will eventually flake off and doesn't contribute to the strength of the tool it covers.Above all,look for a makers mark or trade name because after all you'd not buy a car if you didn't have a clue who made it would you? Never be afraid to ask questions,if it's Ebay,in a shop or online it should make no difference,ask about guarantees and what happens in the event of a problem.A good set of spanners or sockets should last many years if looked after properly,they should be an investment not an impulse buy.Six sided sockets are used to grip worn or rusty fixings better,they are also less likely to damage brass or alloy fixings most impact sockets are six sided for these reasons.Terms like Hi Torq,Flank Drive etc simply mean the socket or spanner is designed to grip more than just the corners of the hex making rounding off less likely.If you're unsure whats the best for you,ask.

Keep tools in a dry place,greasy spanners are far more likely to slip than clean ones.Old worn out sockets can be used as drifts and spacers,old worn out spanners should be replaced,but sometimes can be used to tap on a very worn or damaged nut as a last resort before reaching for the nut splitters or chisel,sometimes they can be cut to make stubby spanners or heated and bent to make obstruction wrenches.

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