Alden Wrench Set
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Buy Your Alden Wrench Sets
Summary: Unique design combines open-end
wrench with ratcheting function.
Very useful in
certain situations where there isn't enough room to swing a
conventional wrench. Hand polished 17-4PH stainless
steel. 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
Note: As of June 2011, Alden Wrench was
bought by Chicago Brand Industrial Inc. in Fremont
California and the wrenches are available again!
Tool freaks come in
all shapes and sizes. I'm sure that a close
study of "Toolies" would make for a very interesting
psychological thesis, because the affliction known as
Toolitis can manifest itself in many variations.
At the basic level, there
are, for example, the "need every tool" types, who buy
any and every tool they can find, anywhere, anytime, no
matter the quality.
This type can be identified by
the shoe boxes full of cheap, rusty, stamped metal
open-end wrenches that fill the garage. Then
there's the "tool category" types, who collect multiple
versions of tools that do the same thing.
drawer in their tool chest (it goes without saying that
any serious Toolie will have a tool chest that has more
storage than the Trump Towers has rooms) and you'll see
row upon row of different brands of box-end wrenches,
screwdrivers, hex keys and the like, all sorted by
Or how about the variation of the disease
that forces the Toolie to purchase one example of every
tool ever made, but only of the absolute best quality?
Their spouse typically doesn't understand why the
$150.00 version works so much better than the five-buck
Wal-Mart brand. Can you imagine?
Victims also usually have
two or more combinations of the affliction. For
example, one of the basic variations of the syndrome can
be combined with a tool labeling fixation, a tool
polishing fixation, or the "arrangement syndrome".
This deadly variant involves a pathological compulsion
to continuously rearrange the contents of a tool chest
to come up with the perfect layout. Of course, the
perfect arrangement can never be found, and left
untreated, this variation of the disease usually has
There are Toolies who never
use the tools in their collection, instead using only
the cheap pot metal tools they store in a ratty old
toolbox. After all, who would want to dirty a
beautiful specimen of a 1940's 15/16" Armstrong offset
affliction tends towards collecting the unique and
different. I have a mortal fear that someday I'll
be working on a project and won't have the right tool.
The corollary of this is my unquenchable desire to
discover a new type of tool that will perform a task
better than a similar tool that I already have.
That's what lead me to discover Mr. Alden's wrenches.
I don't know Ray Alden,
but I did correspond with him briefly to try and obtain
a set of Metric Alden wrenches back before they became
(somewhat) more popular.
patent application shows a date of November of 2003
(U.S. Patent number 5582082), so I'm assuming that they
are a relatively recent invention. I wasn't able
to find out much about the story behind the wrench,
other than the design was motivated by the desire to
have an open-end wrench that worked somewhat like a
Gearwrench -- that is, with a ratcheting capability.
Supposedly, the Alden wrenches were originally developed
for use in the aerospace industry to allow mechanics to
tighten nuts and bolts in very tight spaces.
Since motorcycle repair
can also mean working in tight quarters, I figured I had
to have a set of Alden wrenches someday. It's
funny how you can survive for many years without
realizing that a product like this even exists, then all
of a sudden you absolutely can't live without it!
Alden wrenches are made
17-4PH stainless steel, and the hand polishing gives
them an interesting character with a custom-made look.
Like many tools used in the aerospace
industry, the Alden wrenches do not use any type of
This eliminates the possibility of
chrome chips from getting inside of a critical airplane
assembly. 17-4PH stainless steel is also very
corrosion resistant, so the wrenches should last a long
time without getting rusty, even in harsh environments.
We frequently used 17-4PH stainless when I worked as a
machinist for a company that made products for the paper
The paper making process results in all
sorts of extremely harsh "liquor" that's very tough on
metal, thus the use of corrosion resistant steels like
17-4PH and exotic and impossible-to-cut stuff like
Chrome plating doesn't
add any functionality to a tool anyway, and if it does
flake off, the plating can't be replaced. The
Alden wrench, on the other hand, may be more easily
scratched, but it can be re-polished if desired.
But a few scratches aren't going to hurt, and will just
give the tool more character anyway.
The best part of Mr.
Alden's wrench design is the way it works. The wrenches
have a uniquely shaped head, with a spring-loaded
"under-jaw" that acts as a ratchet.
wrenches need as much as 60 degrees of swing to work,
but the Alden wrench only needs 30 degrees. The
design of the wrench also allows them to fit slight
variations in fastener sizes when the fastener head is
rusted or deformed.
The 17-4PH stainless is not as
hard as the metal used in conventional wrenches.
This allows the tool to "bite" the fastener, providing a
good grip. The head of the Alden wrench acts like
a "Monkey wrench", that is, as more force is applied,
the wrench provides a tighter grip on the fastener.
Look closely at the photo
on the left, and you will see that the lower jaw of the
Alden wrench has two notches.
The innermost notch
provides the best grip on the fastener, but the outer
notch can also be used and comes into play when the
fastener becomes loose. Either notch will give the
Alden wrench its unique ratcheting ability.
The ratcheting ability is
very useful in certain situations where a box-end wrench
can't be fitted on the fastener, and there isn't enough
room to swing a conventional open-end wrench. This
is a frequent occurrence when working on motorcycles,
and I've found the Alden wrench to be just the right
tool in certain situations and a real time saver.
The Alden wrenches can slide into places that other
tools can't, and the combination of the open end and the
ratcheting mechanism is sometimes exactly what's needed
to complete a difficult task.
The only catch is that
these wrenches are not made to carry huge loads of
torque. They should be considered as precision
tools that perform a very useful task, and are sometimes
the only tool that will fit. When this is the
case, they are worth their weight in gold.
The Alden wrenches can be
purchased separately, but for the price, it's hard to
resist the set. They are often discounted to
$25.00 or less for a set. Three Metric Alden
wrenches cover the most common sizes used on
motorcycles. Each wrench has two different sized
heads: 10mm - 12mm, 13mm - 14mm and 15mm - 17mm.
You don't have to be a
certified tool freak to get lots of use from these
unique tools. If you perform occasional or serious
work on your motorcycle, these tools are highly
Buy your Alden Wrench Sets With This Link to Amazon.com!
Brand Industrial Inc.)
Retail Price: $29.95 per set
Sizes: Metric: 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 mm. Standard:
3/8", 7/16", 1/2", 9/16", 5/8", 11/16"
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