Now that I've gotten my workspace all cleaned up and organized, I thought it might be worthwhile to talk about some of the tools in my collection. And with that in mind, I figured I'd start with a fun one -- the crank bolt wrench, sometimes known as the "peanut butter wrench."
|From top to bottom: Park 16mm, Park 14mm, Campagnolo 15mm, another Campagnolo, and T.A. 15.|
Legend has it that they got their culinary nickname because racers during multi-day races would sometimes improvise meals, and the shape of the handle made it useful for spreading peanut butter. I honestly don't know if anyone ever actually used one for that purpose, or if it's just a myth. If anyone is willing to admit that they have actually spread peanut butter with their "peanut butter wrench" I'd love to hear from them.
Oftentimes, a person only needs one of these, and 15mm is probably the most common. And that size is also useful for the axle nuts on most track bikes. But now and then you might find a crank attached with 14 mm nuts (typically on cheaper bikes with a solid bottom bracket spindle), so I like having that one available. The 16mm size is a real oddball. It is most often found on old Zeus cranks, which are seldom seen these days. I would like to have an actual Zeus wrench (for nothing but "emotional" reasons), but those are awfully rare, and they tend to sell for a premium when they come up on eBay. The Park one isn't all that common these days, either, to tell the truth. I've only encountered the 16mm crank bolts once in all the bikes I've worked on over the years, but I'm glad I have the right wrench.
|Sometimes a standard socket just won't fit in the gap.|
OK - so if someone has a full metric socket wrench set, why do they need a special crank bolt wrench? Well - the gap between the bolt head and the recess in the crank itself can be pretty narrow - and the "walls" of many sockets are often too thick to fit in the gap (and this is especially true with the 16mm size). Sometimes people will improvise by taking a standard socket and grinding it down to fit, but that's an unsatisfactory solution to a tool lover.
In my own collection, I have two of the Campagnolo wrenches. One is quite a bit older than the other. There is a difference between them visually -- the older one (the upper one in the picture above) has a "pebbly" texture in the background behind the name. I got that one from an old bike shop many years ago and it probably dates to the 1970s. The other one probably dates to the 1990s or early 2000s and has more like a "cross-hatch" pattern behind the name. I have two because sometimes I pack one of them with me on rides with my fixed-gear bikes in case I need to remove a wheel. The T.A. one is perhaps a bit superfluous, so I suppose I have it because . . . "collecting."
To go along with the crank bolt wrenches, I have a couple other items to show:
Though the regular right-hand puller above works on most cranks, I do have a Park branded one (not shown) that will work on the 23mm T.A. cranks. I don't currently have the 23.35 Stronglight puller, and so far have not needed one. It's important to mention that a lot of old Stronglight cranks have been damaged because people used the wrong puller. A 23mm puller will seem to thread in well enough to fool a person into thinking it's fully engaged - but when they start applying the pressure needed to remove the crank, the threads get stripped out. OUCH!.
And I also have this:
|It would go together something like this. It's possible I've put this together "backwards" somehow, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.|
|In practicality, though, I've found that this 7mm allen socket on a standard ⅜ inch socket driver works just as well, and requires no "assembly."|