There are wrenches that are used to get into tight spaces that are just flat pieces of metal with a hexagonal hole cut out of them. Often they come with things like table saws and are used to move the arbor nut and change the blade.

Is there are a name for this type of wrench?

  • Are you thinking of open ended, ring, or combination versions, or doesn't it matter? The rings are much stronger when just stamped, and they're what I've had with power tools, but the clearance isn't so much of an issue in that use.
    – Chris H
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 8:12
  • Tyler, you're asking about the type of wrench and not the particular manufacturing process, right?
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 15:37

5 Answers 5


While I agree that when applied to bicycle maintenance these are called "cone wrenches", in general they're simply "thin open-end wrenches" or "tight-clearance wrenches".

  • 3
    Indeed. McMaster calls them "Tight Clearance Wrenches" Snap-On seems to call them "Flat Wrenches". Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 1:28

These are often used in bicycle maintenance, because two nuts are often used to lock the bike axles.

The tool is called a cone wrench, and good ones are not cheap. enter image description here

For example, this is a $75 set. Cheap sets are $20 and will round out upon application of torque

  • 7
    To expand on this - on a bicycle wheel, a "cone" is a fancy axle nut that has a sloped bakk bearing surface on one side (like a cone), and normally two thin flats (instead of the common six) and a flat/ridged outer side intended to tighten against a locknut. These cone spanners are often the only tool that will get to the cone nut's flats, while a regular spanner is fine for the outside locknut. I've never needed one larger than 19mm and 13-16mm are most common.
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 7:04
  • 1
    Pedal spanners are similarly made (and in fact may be the 15mm version sold singly). For bike use there are are also stamped things with multiple holes of different szies, specially design so theone you want is always in an awkward place. In some ways these are closer to the stamped ring spanners I think the OP refers to.
    – Chris H
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 8:08
  • Cone wrenches are for cones, they're a su Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 17:03

If it is the method of manufacture that you want to specify, then it is 'stamped' tools, as opposed to 'forged' or 'drop forged', or 'cast' or 'die cast'.

Generally stamped tools are cheaper. They have sharper edges which are less comfortable to use, and the jaws of the spanner are more prone to straightening out or rounding.

Stamped tools are cut like a cookie from a flat sheet of metal. Cast tools have molten metal poured into a mould of the correct shape. Forging means getting a piece of solid metal and hammering / pressing it into a mould of the final shape.

  • No one calls these "stamped wrenches". That may be a good descriptor for the manufacturing process, but I don't think that's what's being asked.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 15:34
  • 2
    @isherwood I do. A google search shows various uses of "stamped wrenches" too.
    – cde
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 4:08
  • 1
    Well, if it's on the internet.... :P
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 17:01

I agree with cheap that was my first thought.

They are usually open end wrenches 🔧 with the open end In some cases they are combination one end open one end closed with 6+ sides

In the case of a skill saw those are a bit thicker but still cheap I have the proper sized combination wrench attached to my power saws in my shop with a magnet. Yes even if they were all 3/4 I would have a wrench on each one just easier having a heavy tool for me even routers I pack wrenches in their boxes.

  • I would agree my snap on thin wrenches were not cheap but they are forged.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 3:32
  • Google says 'thin wrenches' are called tappit wrenches. I'd say if it's forged, it's a tappit wrench. If it's a stamp... then it's just called 'garbage'. - If it's "cut out of steel flats" then it's a stamp.
    – Mazura
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 3:38
  • 3
    @Mazura tappet I assume. Small, thin forged ones are sometimes called ignition spanners (UK term)
    – Chris H
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 8:14
  • 3
    Tappet is specifically a component in engines where the clearance between a lobed camshaft and a valve rocker is adjusted. Not only are these thin locknuts between two components, but some types need to be adjusted on a running engine. Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 13:09

Disposable Wrenches


Disposable Wrenches

They often come included with flat-pack furniture and cheap tools. They're admittedly hard to find because they're meant to be used once and discarded. Buy a small desk from Ikea and you should get one, or just pop into the service desk there and let em know you're missing one and they will help you out.

They're common at hoarder estate sales as well.

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