When beer o’clock rolls around, and I’m sitting and sipping a cold one with a friend or two, the conversation eventually hits the topic of tools. What’s new, which brand is best, what have you bought lately, and so forth. While there may be debates on which tool color rules, there’s one tool that tops everyone’s wish list: The pipe wrench. Well, maybe it’s not exactly at the TOP of the list, but hey – everybody needs a good pipe wrench! Milwaukee recently introduced an innovative new pipe wrench that likely has its rivals muttering “Why didn’t WE think of that?!” They sent one to HomeFixated’s East Coast HQ so we could try it out. Throw on your favorite “Done me wrong” song, and come sneak a peek at the Milwaukee Cheater pipe wrench.
So what’s so fancy schmancy about the Milwaukee Cheater? It starts out with a well-designed, robust 10” pipe wrench. The jaws are hardened for strength and durability, and feature an overbite for maximum gripping surface. The rounded handle is very comfortable to hold, with no edges to dig into your hands. There’s a handy scale built into the jaw, to save some time when you’re getting ready to go after that pipe. A rotating steel handle loop lets you add a tether, or provides an easy way to hang the tool on a hook or nail.
But wait – there’s more! The Milwaukee Cheater (48-22-7314) comes with two interchangeable threaded extensions, which fit perfectly into that nice rounded handle. The shorter extension brings the tool’s length to 18”, giving you a bit more oomph when you need it. For the most stubborn jobs, the longer extension gives you a full 24” of “persuasion.” That’s a lot of leverage, and should help you tame all but the most obstinate joints you come across. Check out this wrenching video from Milwaukee:
Out Of Gas? The Milwaukee Cheater To The Rescue!
I’m not a plumber, but I have some basic skills, and a fairly authentic-looking plumber’s crack. I can sweat copper pipe, and put together a passable system of drain and vent pipes. I can even assemble an assortment of black pipe lengths, to add or relocate a gas appliance, thanks to some schooling from a master plumber friend.
I got a chance to put the Milwaukee Cheater to work recently in a dark, dank basement (is there any other kind? If so, I wish I could work in one occasionally!) The house is well over 100 years old, and had been converted over the years from a single-family home to a duplex, then several decades ago back to a single-family home. There had been two gas services, and only one was still in use, so the homeowner wanted the surplus pipe to go away. The pipe was 1-¼” steel pipe, with an outside dimension of 1-5/8”.
Being a manly man, I decided to first try the 10” Milwaukee Cheater without any extensions. No go – the pipe had been in place for a very long time, and seemed very happy right where it was. I screwed in the longer extension, giving me a 24” wrench, and resumed my efforts.
The sharp teeth bit right in, and there was no slippage at all. It took every bit of my Clydesdale-class weight to persuade the pipe to break loose, but it did. Once it had made a full turn, it was resigned to its fate, and I removed the extension to make it easier to do the rest of the loosening.
Who Says Cheaters Never Win?!
The Milwaukee Cheater is a really slick concept, and it works great. The relatively small size of the wrench lets you get into the tight spots, and with the extensions, you should be able to bust pretty much any pipe loose. The extensions are very beefy, and the ability to carry one wrench that can grow from 10” to 24” saves space – and weight – in the plumbing toolbox. The longest piece is 17” long, so when they’re broken down, they’ll fit in a relatively small toolbox.
The only improvement I can think of would be to allow both extensions to be used together, giving you a 34” wrench. Talk about cheating – that might even qualify it for the Russian Olympic Wrenching team! The tool is rock solid, and should last a lifetime. Apparently Milwaukee thinks so, too, because that’s how long they guarantee all their pipe wrenches. If you’ve got some wrenching to do, I recommend you get a Cheater for your crew.
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