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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Which do you use?

I have a good set of iron Ridgids but rarely use them. I use my cheap aluminums with cheater bars all the time.

Well, today, I broke two of them pretty bad. Had a cheater bar on the backup and the main. I knew I was gonna break them but went ahead and did it anyways :)

So, now I am wondering if I buy a set of ridgid alum, will I still be at risk using cheater bars? Or are these, or any other brand, strong enough to support a 3 foot cheater?

I'll just go back to iron if there is no strong alums out there... Don't want to waste the cash...

Please let me know what you think. I need to buy another set ASAP or I got to drag around the heavy ones all day :)
 

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Aluminum for me, had mine for years, I use hammers on them, have not had one break on me yet.
 

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All of my pipe wrenches are made by Reed, they are all aluminum, I have every size from 10" to 48" in straight wrenches, and 10" thru 24" in end wrenches, I have never bent one using a small cheater on them. I have also never hesitated to get a bigger wrench when needed, I don't believe in abusing tools.
 

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It really depends on what type of work you are doing, what size wrench you are using and what size cheater you are using. When you are doing overhead work a 48" aluminum makes a whole lot more sense than a 48" cast-iron. I don't like using cheaters but I will admit to having a 60" cast-iron wrench with a nice bow to it from using a cheater.

If you are doing small stuff (2" and smaller) I would suggest using a properly sized wrench or a compound leverage wrench rather than a cheater.

Mark

BTW: I don't consider the Chinese wrenches to be for professionals at all.
 

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I have also never hesitated to get a bigger wrench when needed, I don't believe in abusing tools.

i think this might be the larger issue. sure, a chinese aluminum wrench is going to fail way before a ridgid but they call them cheaters for a reason. i have only ridgid wrenches, i cringe at all the pittsburg/harbor freight/olympia/ect. wrenches i see. they all look like trips to the hospital, just painted a different color. get the right sized, quality tools and don't missuse them. that's the only way to ensure you don't break something or, worse yet, hurt yourself.







paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I do have a compound leverage pipe wrench but what I use the alum cheaters on is 1.25" dielectric unions. The compound is too big to fit on the lower side for most unions I turn.

I don't have any problem spending the cash on quality aluminum pipe wrenches but I don't want to if I am going to break them. I must use cheater bars for what I do and the heads must be small. Not too small but a 24" wrench will be on the big size. 14 and 18 fit pretty good. .. Space is very limited most of the time.

Some of the guys just use 12 inch steel/iron with 4 foot cheaters. Looks too small to me but I guess it works.

Breaking dielectric unions that have been leaking for a long time require a great deal of force. Couple that with needing a small head to fit and I think aluminum may be a poor choice.

From the sound of it, you guys think your well made aluminums can handle a great deal of pressure. But what do you think about my situation? Should I just go with iron and forget about it?


BTW - Hydronic heaters (boilers) are what I use these on.
 

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I don't know if you guys have it, but at apprentice school they actually ask us a question on our Inter-Provincial Red Seal exam about recommended pipe diameters versus size of pipe wreench. If I recall correctly they recommend 14" for 1/2-3/4", 18" for 1-1 1/4", 24" for 1 1/2"-2" (we're talking average guy strength there). Not sure why they would ask us that as the jaws are capable for covering a wide range of sizes. There have been times where I've had myself with 24" wrench and coworkers with 24" wrench hammering on a big pipe (no cheater).

There is something special about a Ridgid Aluminum Pipe Wrench. I've picked up others to compare but I don't know if I'm used to it, or it's just better, but a Ridgid Aluminum has really great balance to it. It's all I'll ever use/buy/own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
oh yeah. The unions are for 1.25 pipe but the nut is more like 2 or 2.5. Sometimes we need to turn 2" or 3" dielectric unions. Those are MUCH bigger and thats where the compound leverage wrench comes in. The chain vise will actually fit on those...


After looking it up a bit; it looks like ridgid offers a lifetime warranty. Guess I can put them to the test and just get a new one if it cracks under pressure...


BTW - a pipe wrench breaking is not dangerous of you are ready... which you should always be ready for a slip or break. Balance is very important. I've broke three cheap pipe wrenchs now and its pretty tame. At least it is when you are using long cheaters. Its real controlled when you are that far away and only moving them a few inches of travel...

I should post some pics or todays carnage :) The offset wrench head broke completely off and the back up (a regular pipe wrench) cracked vertically by the nut. The two wrenches started on top each other and when I got to about 12 inches of flex I started thinking "these are gonna break"... then they did...

One more thing, the Ridgids I've seen are pretty fat. I guess thats where they get their extra stength... at least one of the ways... But I need something skinny. Anybody know a strong pipe wrench that is real slim? I have been thinking of getting the grinder out but, surely, I'd be breaking them much quicker...


Damn dielectric unions... Sometimes its just easier to cut them off then to turn them...
 

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I own a pair of aluminum 12" wrenches and one 12" iron.


I never beat on the aluminum ones but I'll swing a hammer to the iron one all day long.


Aluminum is the way to go for me but I never get too crazy with anything stuck; I'll just break out the torch and heat up whatever I'm working with to make the removal that much easier.
 

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I have a set of Ridgid Aluminum Wrenches 12"-48"...never put a cheater on them, though... Awesome set of wrenches. But with the huge presence of Ridgid in the home centers, we've found their technical support slipping...

Reed makes a really good tool, comparable to the Ridgid, IMHO. Believe or not, Lenox makes a good wrench too.
 

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I like Ridgid aluminum. I have never used a cheater bar, although it is rare I ever use a pipe wrench for anything.
 

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I carried 18" and 24" straight, end and offsets in aluminum, 36" straight in aluminum and 6", 14", 18" and 24" straights in cast-iron. All of the others stayed in the shop until needed. The majority of my work was done with 18" and 24" straight aluminiums.

Mark
 

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See this is why plumber are supposed to have big forearms

they dont call me popeye for nuthin

its not the size of the wrench its the size of the popeye
 

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I own a pair of aluminum 12" wrenches and one 12" iron.


I never beat on the aluminum ones but I'll swing a hammer to the iron one all day long.


Aluminum is the way to go for me but I never get too crazy with anything stuck; I'll just break out the torch and heat up whatever I'm working with to make the removal that much easier.
I agree! Aluminum is for wrenching cast iron is for beating, and Ridgid wrenches are the only way to go!

I've never used a cheater either...
Big boys don't have to!

Back when I was working at the factory maint shop as their staff plumber I was helping their mechanic work on a big diesel generator. He was pulling the heads off a Cat V-12 engine and the scrawny lil mechanic had a 3' 3/4" drive breaker bar with a cheater on it. I took off the cheater and one armed the breaker bar but it broke...

I guess he shoulda been using a 1" drive...
Big Boyz don't need cheaters!:laughing:
 

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About three hours ago I had a 6' piece of pipe on a Ridgid 24" aluminum wrench getting an old steam line apart. I've had a 10' piece of pipe with two guys pulling on it on a 36" Ridgid aluminum before. So far so good, no broken wrenches.

As for the lifetime warranty I doubt they'll give it to you if it's obvious you had a bar on it like a big gash in the wrench right where its broken.
 

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I have a few sets of each and it depends on what im doing. usually if im up on a roof top i take my aluminums just cause of the weight to take them up.
 
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