Gee, a crescent wrench—how exciting! Astute observation, except that this isn’t your typical crescent wrench. Technically, it’s not a crescent wrench at all. “Crescent” is the name of the tool company that invented this style of adjustable open-end wrench in the early 1900s. But so many other companies have produced virtually identical tools over the years that “crescent wrench” has evolved into a generic term most people use to describe any tool of this type.
This one is called the Ratcheting Adjustable Wrench (part #92774; $19.99) from Griot’s Garage (www.griotsgarage.com), and for the most part, it’s a conventional, 8-inch-long crescent-style wrench with jaws adjustable from zero to 1 1/16-inch. It’s well-made of chrome-vanadium steel, with thick jaws that provide a solid bite on any fastener. A metric jaw-opening scale is printed on one side and standard inch increments are on the other.
But Griot’s wrench offers one important difference: It ratchets. When the small selector button on the side of the tool is in its upper position, the wrench’s lower jaw can be pushed downward. So, when the tool is turned “backward” (crescent wrenches are always supposed to be turned so the force of moving the nut or bolt is on the fixed upper jaw instead of the movable lower one), the spring-loaded lower jaw can move far enough to “skip” over the corner of the hex, then snap back into place against the hex’s next flat. This means you don’t have to take the wrench off the fastener to reposition it for the next turn, hence, its ratcheting capability. Any time you don’t want or need the ratcheting feature, just slide the selector button to its bottom position and the lower jaw then behaves just like that on any conventional crescent wrench.
For sure, this tool is not a do-all for every application involving a hexagonal nut or bolt; far from it. But it can make some jobs go a bit more easily and quickly, particularly those that prevent the use of any other type of ratcheting device—inline hex fittings on fuel, oil or coolant lines, for example. Even if your motorcycle has very few fasteners that could be more easily loosened or tightened with this wrench, you likely could find many uses for it on your car, truck, ATV or the appliances and fixtures in your home. For anyone who uses tools, this wrench can be 20 bucks well-spent.