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Quality small metric spanners

Best UK source ?

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SillyOldDuffer31/07/2020 12:11:02
6681 forum posts
1501 photos
Posted by Barrie Lever on 31/07/2020 09:06:22:

The same would apply to just about anything, all specifications and requirements have been meet, then you start coming down to select tactile features outside of the specification to make a final purchase decision.

I really don't know why some people do not understand this simple critical point ?


Most people do understand the simple critical point Barry! Remember my argument is words like 'quality' are meaningless without a specification. Blindly buying expensive, or by brand name, or by nationality, or on the recommendations of your instructor in 1958 are all bad. And you agree me. You said, my bold, once 'all specifications and requirements have been met, then you start coming down to select tactile features...'

We agree the engineering characteristics are Mandatory Requirements, whilst everything else is Desirable. What an engineer mustn't do is select tools on hearsay, or because they're tactile, fashionable, pretty, well advertised or because the long dead man who started the company was a genius.

Here's the problem; someone getting started in the hobby who asks the 'what lathe' question is still liable to be told to get an Imperial Myford Super 7. This means buying second-hand with all the risk that entails. And going Imperial in 2020 is poor advice unless the owner is going to build or repair from imperial plans. Otherwise metric is a much better bet. So today, given there is more choice, it pays to engage brain and work out which machine meets your requirements. I'm suggesting size, budget, technical features, availability, purchase risk etc are all likely to outweigh notions of quality. And most Model Engineers absolutely don't need top-quality equipment.

I would hope the danger of emotion leading to bad decisions would be well-known to professional engineers, but it's not. Research in the 1970's showed experienced Grizzled Grey engineers preferentially bought inferior kit from an exhibition stand featuring an attractive young woman in a Bikini. And 'Not Invented Here' remains a major problem when companies merge, because engineers stay loyal to 'their' old team, even when the new guys obviously have much better ideas. Unfortunately people are wired to seek pleasure and form tribal groups. Beware of emotion - it's the devil whispering in your ear!

It doesn't matter if hobby tools are bought as toys, or for pride of ownership, bragging rights, sentimental reasons or to make matching sets provided the purchaser is open and honest about why he bought them. Then the reader can judge if the reason suits him, or not! Barry's delight in quality might appeal more than SOD-style utility or vice versa. Go with whatever makes you happy, not me. I suspect most cheerfully mix inexpensive and better tools as the fancy takes us.

Several posts in this thread give good reasons for selecting a particular spanner. All worth thinking about, even though they won't pull everybody's chain.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 31/07/2020 12:11:38

Oily Rag31/07/2020 12:42:13
264 forum posts
118 photos


As I mentioned in a previous posting, I had the dubious pleasure of working in a certain country for 9 years as a 'Localisation Engineer'. My job was to keep the locals on the righteous path to quality as they took over our design of a vehicle and produced it for their market. Some of the instances of their approach to quality can be gauged by what we came across. Pistons that broke in testing after 5,000km because they were full of slag and debris and the copper 'seeding' of the casting metal had not fully dissolved due to the main furnace not running at optimum temperature. The debris consisted of bits of tungsten carbide and something akin to EN16 swarf (chipped inserts and previous debris no doubt out of lathe swarf).

Then we had the first batch of pre-production engines which, during the acceptance test bed running, burnt all the exhaust valves out. This was a puzzle as the engines had in pre-production phase performed acceptably. I contacted the valve supplier to ask if they had changed anything - only to be told that they had not got the contract for the production engines because another company had under bid them on the production quote. Then they let the cat out of the bag with the statement that the quote that had won the contract had been lower than they could buy the metal stock for! Sure enough the valves were poor quality material well below the 21/4N specification (21% Chrome/ 4% Nickel) at 10/2N! The Buying department were complicit in this fraud and blandly exclaimed that the parts in question 'were to drawing' - they were completely oblivious to the fact that the material specification was part of the drawing.

The other problem we found was that whenever we introduced a process which could be construed as our 'IP' it did not take long for the suppliers to embrace our 'IP' and to apply it to other customers products.

Finally,we also had problems with our test procedures which the host company took and amended to their needs - this in many cases, in fact in all cases, substantially destroyed the objectives of the test procedures. An example of this was that the vehicles were required to perform tests in a sequence - such as a cycle that covered test track running at V.Max for 5km followed by decelerating down to walking pace in first gear for 1 km, then stopping and reversing for 50 metres, stopping and accelerating through the gears to 100kph, stopping and then repeating the V.Max to end of cycle. This was to be repeated for 1000 cycles. We found that the host company had lumped all the reversing cycles into one continuous cycle, all the 100kph into one continuous cycle and all the V.Max into one cycle! They just did not understand the need for the intermediate parts like the accels and stops.

This is one of the reasons why I fight shy of anything made in that country!

Former Member31/07/2020 13:26:22

[This posting has been removed]

Ady120/11/2020 17:27:47
4138 forum posts
576 photos

I got lucky with a bargain set of these 4 in 1 ratchets from Britool, so 3 spanners do from 8-19mm

They are surprisingly small too, not at all bulky

So they're great bla-bla-bla whatever, but the big surprise is there wasn't a single nut on my imperial-nuts acorn shaper they couldn't grab properly and undo, and this is a really small set to carry about

These are well worth grabbing if the price is right

Steviegtr20/11/2020 17:54:46
1779 forum posts
235 photos

Just be careful where you buy them. Lots of counterfeit tools out there.


Maurice Taylor20/11/2020 18:21:11
166 forum posts
30 photos

Hi,Can’t see how 6 ends fit 12 sizes.


Ady120/11/2020 18:50:40
4138 forum posts
576 photos

4 on each, each end has 2 sizes

a ratchet reversing switch on each end so you can change direction

Edited By Ady1 on 20/11/2020 18:52:34

Pete.20/11/2020 19:48:33
321 forum posts
47 photos

I recently picked up these snap on combination spanners, they go down to 6mm with the dual 80 ratchet mechanism in all, not cheap though, £270 for the 10mm to 19mm set, £60 for the 4 add on set 6 to 9mm

Combination spanners

Nigel McBurney 120/11/2020 20:32:18
777 forum posts
3 photos

Barrie Where did get the info that IBM made their mainframe screws,all the mainframes that I was involved with were purchased from screw suppliiers ,I know I was there from 1967, Getting back to spanners I have owned a set of metric combination spanners,which have the silent ratchets,came in a box as a gift with no manufacturers marks.They have proved very usefull. Most of my BA spanners are 1950s King Dick ex WD I also have a set of BA ring spanners by Gordon tools circa 1960,purchased via works apprentice tool club 50% discount, so most of spanners purchased at that time,were Gordon, boss did not mind if the tools he got for us apprentices were used at home for our motor cycles,still got all of them ,the Gordon tools stood up well to week end use,they were as good as the most poular brand at the time ie KIng Dick,later when I got a Spanish Bultaco I bought Elora ring ,O/E and sockets and have lasted well , The first far east spanners and tools that came inti this country were rubbish ,nowadays ,even the cheap spanners and sockets bought from stalls on autojumble will stand to amateur use,and are relatively cheap so it does not matter if a tool needs to be modified (butchered).

Henry Artist24/11/2020 07:51:17
120 forum posts
46 photos

I have a couple of sets of Bergen metric small spanners, both open ended and combination which have served me well for years. I seem to end up using a lot of M2 and M3 fasteners in my model engineering.

I also use Expo nutrunners - they look like a screwdriver but fit over a nut.

pgk pgk24/11/2020 09:27:28
2024 forum posts
290 photos

Each to their own

If I was a professional mechanic working in a busy garage then I'd hope to own a durable, comfortable set of tools. But as a poor (in the sense of ability) hobbyist I stick with cheap. Inevitably you end up needing two of each size and it's easier to have sets in barn, house and shed than plod across the yard in the rain to get the one good set.

In my previous life I owned some superb quality surgical tools but suiffered severe 'pain in the psyche' when my staff fumbled a £1K item to the floor...not, sadly, that uncommon when covered in slimy gore..


peak424/11/2020 12:44:49
1325 forum posts
147 photos
Posted by Ady1 on 20/11/2020 17:27:47:

I got lucky with a bargain set of these 4 in 1 ratchets from Britool, so 3 spanners do from 8-19mm


These are well worth grabbing if the price is right

Is this the link, or did you find an even better deal? (£45.95)


Ady124/11/2020 13:04:24
4138 forum posts
576 photos

I got a lucky grab bag on the bay for less than that but if you're after a set and you will use them a lot that's not a bad price

The entire set only weighs 0.536kg, which is about one pound

edit: checked on a set of scales and got 0.49 kg

Edited By Ady1 on 24/11/2020 13:25:35

Howard Lewis25/11/2020 13:11:51
4143 forum posts
3 photos

Ultimately, we come back to "Fitness for purpose" and "Buy cheap, buy twice"

Years ago, because of budget constraints, I bought a really cheap socket set. the most used socket soon wore out.

Compare with my late father's pre WW2 Britool set, still very useable over 80 years on, but much more costly.

A spanner that "feels" right, comfortable, and does the job well will be selected for work more often than a similar tool. A cheap tool, rarely used may suffice, whereas one in regular use needs to be comfortable to use, durable and correctly sized.

A loose fitting open ender on a stiff fastener is short cut to the First Aid box!

A quality tool will outlive a cheapie, and withstand all manner of abuse.

For my use, now, Facom, Snap On etc would be an expensive overkill. But there is still no use for tools made out of metallic plasticene!


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