Trimo Monkey Wrench

Tool Restoration

12-19-1911 Patent

Back in mid-December I posted about some Trimont wrenches I cleaned up.  They were pretty simple cleanups and turned out nice - and it seems I really like these old wrenches, then again - that's probably a surprise no one! A little before that, December 9, 2023, I went to The Tool Box and picked up Trimo monkey wrench for $4.00!  Let's get into it!

Monkey vs. Pipe Wrenches

It wasn't until the past year that I came to understand that a Monkey wrench isn't the same as a pipe wrench!  In my defense, there's a couple reasons I didn't know (this is my excuse anyway):  1 - Monkey wrenches and pipe wrenches look the same to the untrained eye, and 2- the names are often used interchangeably. 

However, there are two main differences between them: 
  • The monkey wrench has a smooth, flat jaw, while the pipe wrench has serrated teeth on its jaw. 
  • Pipe wrenches have a stationary lower jaw and movable upper jaw, while monkey wrenches have a stationary upper jaw and movable lower jaw.
Now we know, and my wrench here turns out to be a Monkey wrench, technically my first!

Rust Removal

Like I said earlier, this piece is a $4.00 purchase from a second hand tool store so, while it was in good condition - it wasn't in perfect condition.  

The patina was pretty heavy on this wrench

So - into a little pool of Evapo-Rust for about 24 hours!

Monuments are anchors in time. Epochs pass, weather erodes, people lose interest. This cannot be helped. But patina itself is worth appreciating. Patina is the value that age puts on an object. It’s what makes an antique antique. It is experience, maturity, the soft sheen of time. Patina wasn’t present at the spanking-new creation. It comes from a life lived.  --- John Yemma, On Thanksgiving: the memorial that time forgot, November 2, 2006

After all, one man's patina is another man's dirt, sweat, grime and rust!

Wire Brushing and Dremel

That Evapo-Rust worked like a charm!  After cleaning, I took the two main parts to the bench grinder with the wire wheel, which really made the wrench sing! 

The I used a couple wire brushes on the Dremel tool and brought the whole tool to a brushed finish.  I think the two phases (bench grinder and Dremel) took maybe a total of about 15 to 20 minutes!


After the wrench came out of the Evapo-Rust bath, it was clear that black was the original color of the wrench.  And, as you know if you've been around 173 for a little while, red is the signature color around here.  But this time I decided to go with the tool's original look.

So I applied two coats of Rustoleum Satin Black.  Instead of taping off different parts of the wrench body, I just sprayed the whole thing.  I had a plan.  But, because I got all excited about my plan, I didn't take the right progress pictures so we'll come back to that in a couple minutes!

Old tools have stories; I feel connected with their history through the handles polished over years of use, the patina of wear, and an owner’s or maker’s name stamped onto the tool. ― Garrett Hack, Classic Hand Tools

The Moveable Jaw

Now we come to the moveable jaw.  I'm not a fan of painting this jaw because it's the piece that goes through the adjustment nut.  That's a recipe for just boogering up the threads of the nut and ugly-fying the teeth on the jaw.  What's a man to do?  Cold bluing of course!  I cold blued the entire jaw to start, then sanded it off the high spots that I wanted to shine.

Which brings us to the master plan!

Fancying  The Wrench Body

While not at all an original idea, my master plan was to have the body of the wrench and the lettering in the handle be bare metal.

So, after the paint dried, I sanded off the paint on the key areas, leaving the wrench looking like this!

Its Natural Habitat

With that done, I needed to decide where the wrench would reside.  I considered putting it with some of my small wrenches on the tool board in the workshop annex (he says wryly!), but it just looked too "fancy" to hang with those boring old guys.

So I decided this, my first monkey wrench, had earned a spot on the pegboard over the primary workbench!  And here's my "new" Trimo in its natural habitat!

Hey, thanks for stopping by and, because this is the first post of 2024 - Happy New Year!
Next Post Previous Post