Think outside of the "Big" BOX

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Project by Thewoodman2000 posted 05-08-2014 08:28 PM 2659 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I had a bathroom faucet in my home and the handle had started to break on the inside. Only a matter of time until it gives out. Some of that great pot metal they love to use.

As we all know to replace something you need to get the old one out of the way first. This is the original faucet to this master bathroom. I dread the part of taking out old stuff like this because most of the time the “years” lock it into place. But to my surprise not a big deal. Even the nut holding the drain pipe to the sink came off pretty easy!!! So now I am thinking boy this was easy!

All I have to do to finish is put in the new one. I know I have all the tools because I just took out the old faucet. Everything is going as smooth as butter until I need to tighten up the New plastic nut with the rubber washer to the sink. THE NUT WAS LARGER THEN MY WRENCH!!! I did my best to tighten the nut by hand but to no luck the water just leaked out around the rubber washer. If only I was CHUCK NORRIS I could look at it and it would tighten on its own. I like most everyone else start thinking “go to one of the big box stores to buy a larger wrench”. But it’s now 9:30pm and I just want to get this done so that we can use the sink again. I don’t want to go and buy a wrench that might sit in a tool box for years before I will need it again. Don’t get me wrong I like tools but… My largest wrench adjusts out to 1 3/8” but I need 1 ¾”. What am I going to do now?

“Wood” wood pops into my head I know I can make one out of wood. Next thought it needs to be strong enough to take a little pressure. Oak, Maple… I think I could have a problem with the grain of the wrench so Baltic Birch Plywood comes to mind. So out comes some 5/8” thick drawer box material. 75 seconds later on the band saw and this is what I have. Now I know I could have spent more time laying it out and sanding it smooth but it was 9:30pm at night. Do what you got to do to get done. Immediately go to the pipe put on my new “wooden wrench” and tighten the nut. Turn on the water and now NO more leaks.

Now I feel like I am the king of my castle! I fixed the faucet myself and did it using a wooden wrench. As soon as I turned the wrench on that nut and saw that there was no more leaks I had to show off my new wrench. First to my kids to try to help them think about how to accomplish something when they don’t have the typical tools to do the job. I try to explain that they sometimes need to “think outside of the box”. I now they got what I was trying to say but the question back was what if we don’t have any wood to use? That was not the point but they made me laugh. Next it was time to show my Wife and her Mom. I built up the story the best I could and then presented my fix to the problem. Thinking I was the knight in shining armor. I had just slayed the dragon with my new wooden wrench!!! But I think I built the story up to much because they did laugh at me and my wrench. But I am sure it’s because I had now started to laugh myself. We had a good chuckle out of it!!! And that was the point of showing them the wrench anyway. But as always my Wife was proud of me for being able to take care of our home.

So you ask what is the morel of this story? I would say it’s to think outside of the box (and the big box stores) use what you have. That’s how the wiser generations did it to survive. Maybe someday I will be wiser still and find out how to fix the original faucet and not just go buy a new one of those. Don’t know can you weld or glue pot metal?

5/8” thick Baltic Birch Plywood cut out on the bandsaw to make a wooden wrench. Not pretty but it did the job!!!

Thanks for looking.

What kinds of tools have you made to overcome a problem? Let me know I am not the only one to make a funny looking wooden wrench.

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

16 comments so far

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


602 posts in 4070 days

#1 posted 05-08-2014 09:46 PM

How do I say this, and still remain “manly”........... not too much man-love….


I am going to drag THE BOSS in here to read the story.

I know right now what she will say:

”You guys are such “GUYS”.

”You are all the same”.

Well, by God, if I am lumped in with you, then it is an honor and a privilege.

What a great story

And so greatly told.

Many Many thanks.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30631 posts in 3501 days

#2 posted 05-08-2014 10:51 PM

Great job. Way to be creative in solving your problems.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Oldtool's profile


3272 posts in 3353 days

#3 posted 05-08-2014 11:06 PM

Nice wrench, great story. The creativity of woodworkers is their strong point, solving problems like this to get through most projects.
Now that you’ve accomplished making the lowly sink wrench more attractive by using wood, maybe you can make it adjustable as an option.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4195 days

#4 posted 05-08-2014 11:33 PM

Very Nice Indeed! Thank For Posting!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View nonickswood's profile


567 posts in 3550 days

#5 posted 05-09-2014 12:39 AM

Now that is a Great! story and great addition to your tool box, if you add a couple pieces of surgical tubing it could also so be a wonderful slingshot.

-- Nick, Virginia,

View MilFlyer's profile


948 posts in 2835 days

#6 posted 05-09-2014 04:33 AM

ROFL. Awesome!

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4211 days

#7 posted 05-09-2014 12:31 PM

Necessity is the mother of all inventions.
Good job.
And if you drop it in the water it will float, this is a big +

-- Bert

View drbyte's profile


848 posts in 5225 days

#8 posted 05-09-2014 12:44 PM

Great solution! Now you can make a nice slingshot too!

-- Dennis, WV

View Benboy's profile


105 posts in 3424 days

#9 posted 05-09-2014 01:53 PM

great story. hand that story and that wrench down to future generations.

-- If I can't make it, I probably don't need it.

View Thewoodman2000's profile


822 posts in 3133 days

#10 posted 05-09-2014 02:27 PM

I just want to thank everybody for their nice comments and the LOL jokes. And I will move this “tool” to the tool box for safe keeping. Not going to sand it or clean it up at all. Just going to put it in as a reminder to make due with what you have.

Again thanks!!!

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

View Nickdarr's profile


76 posts in 3194 days

#11 posted 05-09-2014 03:43 PM

Great story and innovative fix. Best part, as mentioned, it will float and it will never rust.

-- Darren... Hmmmm, I got nothin.

View leafherder's profile


1985 posts in 3115 days

#12 posted 05-09-2014 06:50 PM

Great story, great do-it-yourself thinking, great use of renewable resources.


1.) I just got home from a meeting where the instructor told a story about how women solve problems by talking about them but men solve problems by doing something about them.

2.) Wednesday night I was in a silver jewelry making craft at the local art center – learning how to set gemstones in a ring. The teacher said to use something hard enough to bend the metal but not sharp enough to scratch the metal. I used a wood stylus that I made myself – worked great.

Keep thinking outside the box!

-- Leafherder

View Ocelot's profile (online now)


3249 posts in 3801 days

#13 posted 05-09-2014 07:12 PM

My wife called my cell one day when I was out in the shop – asked if I knew where the nutcracker was. I told her “no”. Then I picked up a scrap of cherry and made one. Boy, was I proud of it! (It probably took an hour) In the house, I learned that she had in mind to crack brazilnuts. I was thinking pecans. Brazilnuts are way harder. My cherry nutcracker broke on the first nut. OK, now it was personal. Back to the ship. Now with a red oak nutcracker we tried again (2nd one didn’t take as long as the first). That one lasted about 5-6 nuts. <sigh>

I’m glad your wrench worked and you got to be the hero!


-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View oldnovice's profile


7709 posts in 4530 days

#14 posted 05-09-2014 07:31 PM

Bert said it all in post #7, ”necessity is the mother of all inventions!”

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View Thewoodman2000's profile


822 posts in 3133 days

#15 posted 05-09-2014 07:37 PM

Again I am really liking the comments and the thoughts that have gone into them!!!
This is the best wood site out on the web!!!

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

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