Get a grip!

No matter how good and long-standing a product is, there are bound to be ways of making it even better. The common Stillson wrench is a prime example…

The baby of the FasGrip range: for 25mm nominal pipe diameters .

Plumbers and mechanical service contractors have been using “Stillson”-style pipe wrenches since 1870, but today’s Stillson-inspired wrenches are a far cry from their predecessors. One of the latest pipe wrenches to hit the Australian market is the FasGrip — a self-adjusting, heavy-duty pipe wrench distributed by Precision Specialty Tooling in Melbourne.

Whereas older Stillsons require manual jaw tightening with a twisting nut, the FasGrip has a spring-loaded, ratcheting system that automatically adjusts to fit any diameter of pipe from 25mm to 150mm. The wrench grips metal pipes at three points, and is consequently able to produce a clean and firm grip without any of the usual frustrations.

A major advantage of the system is that the wrench can be operated using one hand, freeing up the user to take hold of pipe lengths and concentrate on precision tightening rather than finicky adjustments.

The grip is released quickly and easily by pressing the release trigger to open the jaws. Whereas opening and closing functions used to waste time and effort, the FasGrip is, by contrast, slick, sure and secure. This ease of operation also allows users to wear gloves during all stages of the process, which is a tremendous advantage for those people working in industries involving harmful chemicals and fluids. In an era where increased importance is placed on workplace safety and optimal working conditions, the ability of a tool to enhance user safety must be viewed very positively.

It is also interesting to note the internationalism of the product development and components; the springs are from Germany, jaws from Taiwan and the assembly takes place in China. Much of the research and development was conducted in Asia.

FasGrip wrenches are made using high-quality materials, including a precision cast alloy handle of heat-treated alloy steel. Models designed to handle larger pipe diameters are fitted with heat-treated seamless tubing handles. All models feature heat-treated and machined alloy steel jaws.

There are eight models in the range: 8″, 10″, 12″, 14″, 18″, 24″, 36″ and 48″. All sizes up to 14″ are blister-carded, while larger models are boxed. Counter-mounted pipe displays have been created for fast demonstrations of 8″ models, and are sure to be popular with customers who like to see tools in action before committing to a purchase. These half-inch water pipe displays are designed to showcase the fast release and grip functions of the tool, the rapid changeovers between pipes of different diameters, and the overall comfort of the grip.

The manufacturers, FasMac Group, are so confident in the quality and performance of the range that all FasGrip models are warranted for the life of the tool to be free from defects in workmanship and materials. For more information visit the Precision Specialty Tooling website atwww.pretooling.com.au .

Story by John Power