Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Ground Breaking Paper on Castle Nuts

Castle nuts are a pain. I often joke with the 1st AC as I'm tightening one that "this is the hardest part of my job." A gentleman recently emailed me looking for info on castle nut wrenches. What are they? Where can I find one? etc. Castle nut wrenches are simply a wrench which uses leverage to loosen or tighten castle nuts (which are forever loosening up on their own when you don't want them to, and won't come loose when you need them to). The wrenches are a handle of about 8" with a castle nut sized ring on one end. The ring has holes around it's circumference which fit the "nubs" on the castle nut and allow you to easily tighten it. Chapman started sending them out with their dollies a couple of years ago. The catch- those wrenches don't fit all castle nuts and don't fit Fisher type castle nuts at all. I usually use the handle part as a lever to loosen the nuts and never even attempt to use the ring part. You can also use your dolly wrench, a crescent wrench, a lifting handle, or anything else that you can fit between two nubs to use as a lever. Although it is discouraged, we've all also given up and started using the lifting bar as a "pool cue" and striking the nubs in a fit of rage to loosen the nut. The guys who come out with the remote heads often have a really cool universal wrench that fits everything. Instead of a bunch of holes, it had a series of cutout "teeth" on the inner circumference of the ring that fits everything. They will often tell you where to get one if you ask. We had one tech acquire one for us that we use on our crane.
Long have I pondered on this fascinating subject and for me, the answer seems to be using the dolly wrench as a lever. I've done it so much that for me it is now just the quickest way to do it.

10 comments:

Azurgrip said...

There's also a plumbing wrench - who's name escapes right now - a hook of sorts that works too.

azurgrip said...

I must say that I'm fascinated by the "Libra Wrench"

D said...

Yeah, yhe Libra wrench is the one we got for the crane. It is a beauty.

Azurgrip said...

Okay - where can one buy a castle nut wrench?

D said...

Ask the Libra head tech next time you see him. I've had a couple offer to sell me one and one told me where I could get one made.Other than that, I've never seen one for sale anywhere. Chapman would maybe sell you one of theirs, but, again, I'm not a big fan of Chapmans wrenches so I never asked.

azurgrip said...

I know that Skipp's Engineering makes the Libra wrench. I'll have to call them in the new year.

D said...

Yeah, I can't imagine they wouldn't hook you up with one.

drld said...

d,

I keep a castle nut wrench on my dolly almost all the time. It is made by an excellent machinist out of Montreal named Jim Charbonneau (Jim Charbonneau Enterprises Inc. (http://www.jceproducts.com/)) who makes great grip gear like bazookas, tilt plates, car mounts, dolly wheels, etc.

His stuff is of the highest build quality (except for this castle nut wrench!). It is a good idea that's not completely refined yet. It's an anodized aluminum disc, milled out to leave a raised rim, with large two gaps cut in the rim to form teeth that fit the "nubs" on most castle nuts, and a square hole in the center to take a half-inch ratchet drive. With a short riser I can adjust the length to allow me access to most situations. The problem is one of minor detail; the contact area on the teeth is flat and often slips off the nubs. This area could easily be machined to be concave to correct this. I hope that it was just a prototype. Jim threw it in to a large order placed by a former key grip of mine.

Anyway, I always get comments asking me where I got it, why doesn't everyone use this, etc. I couldn't find the item listed on his web page so maybe a phone call to him will be necessary.

I guess my story here doesn't help solve much but it does show that we all have similar issues in our work.

All the best in 2008.

D said...

Drld, thanks for the info.

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