Pipe Tools – Proper Use

Side view of pipe wrench with open jaw; long handled to the right; cylinder screw on jaw neck
Pipe Wrench

When using heavy duty pipe tools like a Pipe Wrench, maintain a gap between the back of the hook jaw and the pipe. This concentrates the pressure at the jaw teeth only, allowing the teeth to dig into the pipe. This will produce maximum gripping force and aids ratcheting action. Pipe wrenches are most often used on threaded pipes so a firm stance is needed for leverage and my be need for the threads to “break free”.

If possible, always pull rather than push on the pipe wrench handle and maintain a proper stance with feet firm to hold balance. Because the jaw teeth are cut at an angle, using a pull motion only will improve the grip of the wrench on the pipe.

Pipe Wrenches are designed to turn or hold pipe; never use a Pipe Wrench to bend, raise or lift a pipe.

Be sure to select a Pipe Wrench with sufficient capacity and leverage; never use a pipe extender or “cheater bar”.

The AMPCO pipe wrench is made of specialty alloys to prevent sparks. The teeth should be inspected prior to each use and any embedded particles removed so as to maintain its spark resistant properties.

pipe cutter with long t-handle screw  through bottom piece of C-shaped neck. Single wheel cutting blade
Pipe Cutter

Pipe cutter wheels that are nicked or otherwise damaged should be replaced.

If there is not enough space to swing the single wheel pipe cutter completely around pipe, then a three or four-wheel cutter should be used.

Be certain the cutting wheel is suitable to cut the type of pipe material. A thin wheel is suitable for cutting soft carbon steel pipe, copper tubing and aluminum alloy tubing. 


Do not use a Pipe Wrench as a hammer, nor strike a Pipe Wrench with a hammer. Never place a “cheater bar” over the handle of a wrench. Inspect Pipe Wrenches periodically for worn or unsafe parts and replace them. Proper use will help prevent injuries and accidents.

Source: Hand Tools Institute and AMPCO Safety Tools