A is for Allen wrench
Allen wrenches (also known as hex wrenches or hex keys) are hexagonally shaped tools that fit into screws and bolts with hexagonally shaped holes. The advantage of a hex hole vs. a slot or Phillips head is that the six sides give more surface area for the tool to grip, while the hole prevents the tool from falling out. This makes hex-head screws and bolts ideal for applications where you really need to tighten it down hard, with fine threads that give lots of gripping surface area. The Torx wrench is a further refinement of this concept, with a hex-star shaped tool. I have some of those, too.
Sets of Allen wrenches can be loose, individual keys or they can be fold-out as part of a set. They can have long handles, L-shaped or T-shaped handles. They can be metric or imperial, since the size of the hex hole can be set in fractions of an inch or in millimeters, depending on the source. Using the wrong size Allen wrench won't move the screw - it'll either strip the hex hole into a round hole or it will strip your Allen wrench smooth, depending on which has the harder steel.
A machinist needs Allen wrenches a lot more than woodworkers do, since hex bolts are rarely used to hold together wooden furniture.1 So why would a woodworker have Allen wrenches? Many power tools use hex bolts for blade adjustment, blade replacement, adapter and fitting connections, etc.
More information on types of holes, with advantages and disadvantages, can be found here.
1. IKEA furniture is held together almost exclusively with hex bolts, but IKEA furniture isn't made of wood - it's made of sawdust, glue and lies.
For my other posts about woodworking tools, follow this link.
link to read another blog in the A to Z Blogging Challenge!
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