When I peeled back the carefully folded Christmas wrapping and unleashed the Craftsman Dog Bone 8 in 1 wrench I instantly thought… bow-wow, that’s pretty drool. I mean, wow, that’s pretty cool. Little did I know how versatile that tool would be in my go-to tool bucket. Plus, it makes your pit-bull look even meaner when walking down the street with a steel constructed chew toy.
If your socket set looks anything like the photo below, you are not alone. In the time I’ve spent separating this chaotic mess over the years I could have written War and Peace, twice. If I could read tea leaves, or in this case sockets, I could have foretold the coming of the Dog Bone 8 in 1. Better yet, I could have had the idea and sold it Craftsman. I’d be finding my beach by now. But since I couldn’t see the Dog Bone through the wrenches, I simply sit here today praising the simplicity and elegance of this finely crafted Craftsman.
When Craftsman released this handy many-in-one they got it right. With both SAE 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, and 13/16 inch and metric 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 mm options, this wrench will handle 90 percent of your nut turning needs. This is the wrong article for the other 10. Here’s a quick video from the folks at Ace to help you get a grip on the concept:
The best part is that it’s grab and go. When you aren’t sure about the size of the nut you are going to crack, the Dog Bone options are at your fingertips. With just a spin of the dual-headed wheel, your socket spins like the free wheel of a .357 and yes, you will feel lucky punk. Another great feature is the 8-pound magnet. Whether you use it for storing the Dog Bone, so it’s exactly where you left it, or as an arm extension to reach a not-so-conveniently located dropped screw, (like you’ve never done that), it proves a useful feature.
Using the Dog Bone is as easy as finding the right size socket, sliding the wrench down on the nut, righty to tighty or lefty to loosey, tilt the wrench up and over and turn again. In cases where you are reaching directly head on to the nut you can loose torque, but by sliding a screwdriver through the opposite head, you can regain some of that torque advantage.
So, what are the disadvantages? The obvious is that if you are a serious gear head your options are limited. The brilliance of the spinning head is, in itself, a limiting option since the size of the tool is hard to get into tight spaces. The magnet is so powerful that if not placed in the convenient tool pocket of my bucket, but in the main compartment, any and all loose metal objects are quickly gathered creating a menagerie of metal. But that will only happen once. OK, twice. Fine, seriously no more than thirty times.
Unintended advantages abound too. I always have one of my Dog Bones in my truck console. Why? Well, the obvious is for the 8-1 socket wrench, but on occasion, such as a long road trip, I admittedly have handed it to my kids. The design itself will give you 10 minutes of peace. Who needs a DVD player? Ever thought about what would happen if you crashed into a large body of water and needed to break a window? And clearly, the 8-1 provides an advantage for self-defense. Though, never take a wrench to a gunfight.
As with anything Craftsman, the Dog Bone 8-1 comes with a lifetime guarantee. Though with its steel construction, Craftsman’s risk to reward ratio is small. The ease of the Internet can have the mailman delivering the Dog Bone to your doorstep, and the irony of that is not lost on me. Sears is the main supplier of Craftsman tools, but now Ace is also the place if you are looking for a brick and mortar store. Also available on Amazon. Prices hover right around $24.