I've assembled a set of swings, and am trying to tighten the nuts at the top. The trouble is that they are embedded deep inside a circular hole and I can't get to them with a regular spanner.

What kind of tool should I be using? I had a good look in my local hardware store and couldn't see anything useful.

Here's a (dreadful) diagram of what I mean.

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You should get yourself a socket wrench (also known as a ratchet):

Socket set

  • 3
    Note, no affiliation, but I do like Craftsman tools in this situation. I took a 20 year old wrench like this back because the quick release go stuck in the release position and they replaced it, no questions asked. – BMitch Apr 15 '13 at 14:36
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    For deep locations, there are deep sockets as well, about 4-5 the length of the ones shown. Craftsman at 1/4 the price of Snap-On, with a lifetime warranty on applicable tools... They will last a lifetime, unlike a lot of the cheap bubblegum wrapper tinfoil and zinc stuff. – Fiasco Labs Apr 15 '13 at 15:23
  • I didn't see one of these in the hardware store, but I did see a "Torque Wrench". Is that the same? – Urbycoz Apr 15 '13 at 16:07
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    @Urbycoz: every respectable hardware store will sell socket wrench kits. Ask a staff guy for ratchets and sockets and he'll be able to direct you. – whatsisname Apr 15 '13 at 17:23
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    @Urbycoz - If you do not have a "respectable hardware store" in your area then try at an automotive parts store. They sell plenty of socket wrenches. – Michael Karas Apr 15 '13 at 18:39

You want a nut driver. You can either get a fixed set of them,

Nut driver set

or if you have a socket set, you can just get a nut driver with a square head that you clip the sockets onto:

Nut driver for sockets

Or you could get a set of these, a power drill, and the socket, and use that to get it really tight. If you're going to tighten stuff instead of drill holes with a power drill, I recommend you read our blog post on the proper use of the clutch on a power drill.

Power bar set for drills

  • If you're spinning the nuts with a drill can you safely use the chromed sockets sold with hand tools; or do you need to use the black type rated for use with impact wrenches. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Apr 15 '13 at 17:20
  • @DanNeely Unless it's a hammer drill, the chromed sockets should be fine. – GalacticCowboy Apr 15 '13 at 17:30

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