Author Topic: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!  (Read 379 times)

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Offline Phmode

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Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« on: January 30, 2018, 12:20:08 pm »
So, plumbing new taps in bathroom. So far so good.

Discover pipework has no serviceman valves. Grrrr!

Shut off main to cold and isolate hot with stop-cock in airing cupboard. So far so good.

Remove rubbish tap and waste. So far so good.

Install new Bristan mixer tap and waste, bought 25 years ago for £27 instrad of £87. So far so good.

Cut old pipework to fit. So far so good.

Fit serviceman valves to hot and cold pipework. Now here's thing; why the effin' 'eck do they not put a pair of flats on the body of the serviceman valve so you can tighten one end with ease. Oh no! Too bloody easy. Seven-year-olds! I hate 'em. Use pipe grips and adjustable to tighten valves. Test valves, leave off and go to bed.

This morning, find pipe-bender in the dumping ground which my garage has become, salvage scraps of copper pipe from last job and head upstairs. So far so good.

Bend and cut pipe, fit to serviceman valves and tap tails. Reach for two adjustables. Now then, here's the other thing. With an adjustable in each hand my brain gets easily confused between 'righty tighty' in my right hand and 'righty tighty' in my left hand. Stop for sip of tea. So far so good. Pick up adjustables and my brain goes into meltdown. 'Righty tighty' has now become 'lefty loosy'. More tea needed.

Bring spaniards into view and stare at these devil's creations. Why the £¥(|< does the worm on one adjustable turn clockwise to tighten the jaws while the other one turns counter-clockwise to tighten the jaws. Isn't there some sort of universal law against this sort of thing? Some sort BS/EN/ISO Norm for this? There is for just about everything else on the planet.

So, as well as a million other things, I have now added a new set of matching adjustables in every conceivable size to my shopping list.

Is it just me?

Any road up, time to test the taps. Now obviously after 25 years in my junk pile, there was no way the glands were correctly adjusted and they peed merrily all over the place. Pick up adjustable spaniard and adjust (with great care and concentration) to fit the gland-nut. These are hightly polished chrome so I don't want to bugger the finish. Close gland-nut two flats. Slide spanner off flats and move it round two flats.

Now, here's the next bloody thing! Why on God's little green earth is it not possible to make a high-end piece of kit like a Bristan tap gland-nut so that the distance across the flats is the same for each pair of flats? This was obviously tendered out to the 9-year-olds, even 7-year-olds wouldn't do that.

The only upside to this is that I don't often use adjustables on the bike. And the new tap looks fabulous; I knew you were curious.

Rant over....for now!

Offline Philip

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2018, 01:07:22 pm »
Had similar circumstances Sunday.

No2 son who lives nearby phones to say he is at work, but central heating didn't come on at home this morning.

So went round to his house in the afternoon to have a look.

Pump wasn't running even though it had power, I had a spare one with me, so got about changing it.

Of course these things have been sitting there working away merrily for a number of years & it took quite a bit of effort & wrestling to get the pump nuts undone.
In the process of all this disturbance to pipes that have been quite happily attached for years, a couple of the 22mm glands started to weep.

Got out my metric adjustable & tightened one gland, moved it to the other gland which should have been the same size.
Adjustable wouldn't fit & was at its maximum opening.
Good job I had a larger stilson wrench, which wasn't the ideal tool but did the job.

Offline Phmode

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2018, 02:34:17 pm »
I admire you for having a spare pump with you; unless you are a plumber/heating engineer but you lose a little for not having a MUCH bigger adjustable with you  8)

Offline TomL

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2018, 06:11:19 pm »
I don't like adjustable spanners and prefer to use my Britool open enders. How smug is that?
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Offline Phmode

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 10:16:44 pm »
So your Britool open-enders have a facility to allow them to adjust to the vaguaries of different af dimensions on a nut then?

Didn't think so. How's that for smug  ::)

Offline TomL

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2018, 11:02:47 pm »
Britool imperial BS/W open enders, no problem.
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Offline Philip

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2018, 09:48:14 am »
I admire you for having a spare pump with you; unless you are a plumber/heating engineer but you lose a little for not having a MUCH bigger adjustable with you  8)

It's always a problem when you go to do a job away from home, trying to think of all eventualities & what tools to take.

No, i'm not a plumber/ heating engr but have a dread of the central heating failing at the most inconvenient time, ie Christmas eve.
So I have a complete secondhand spare boiler broken down to it's parts ( £35 off eBay ) & spare pump. ( need another pump now )

Offline gibbo

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2018, 10:34:22 am »
So, plumbing new taps in bathroom. So far so good.

Discover pipework has no serviceman valves. Grrrr!

Shut off main to cold and isolate hot with stop-cock in airing cupboard. So far so good.

Remove rubbish tap and waste. So far so good.

Install new Bristan mixer tap and waste, bought 25 years ago for £27 instrad of £87. So far so good.

Cut old pipework to fit. So far so good.

Fit serviceman valves to hot and cold pipework. Now here's thing; why the effin' 'eck do they not put a pair of flats on the body of the serviceman valve so you can tighten one end with ease. Oh no! Too bloody easy. Seven-year-olds! I hate 'em. Use pipe grips and adjustable to tighten valves. Test valves, leave off and go to bed.

This morning, find pipe-bender in the dumping ground which my garage has become, salvage scraps of copper pipe from last job and head upstairs. So far so good.

Bend and cut pipe, fit to serviceman valves and tap tails. Reach for two adjustables. Now then, here's the other thing. With an adjustable in each hand my brain gets easily confused between 'righty tighty' in my right hand and 'righty tighty' in my left hand. Stop for sip of tea. So far so good. Pick up adjustables and my brain goes into meltdown. 'Righty tighty' has now become 'lefty loosy'. More tea needed.

Bring spaniards into view and stare at these devil's creations. Why the £¥(|< does the worm on one adjustable turn clockwise to tighten the jaws while the other one turns counter-clockwise to tighten the jaws. Isn't there some sort of universal law against this sort of thing? Some sort BS/EN/ISO Norm for this? There is for just about everything else on the planet.

So, as well as a million other things, I have now added a new set of matching adjustables in every conceivable size to my shopping list.

Is it just me?

Any road up, time to test the taps. Now obviously after 25 years in my junk pile, there was no way the glands were correctly adjusted and they peed merrily all over the place. Pick up adjustable spaniard and adjust (with great care and concentration) to fit the gland-nut. These are hightly polished chrome so I don't want to bugger the finish. Close gland-nut two flats. Slide spanner off flats and move it round two flats.

Now, here's the next bloody thing! Why on God's little green earth is it not possible to make a high-end piece of kit like a Bristan tap gland-nut so that the distance across the flats is the same for each pair of flats? This was obviously tendered out to the 9-year-olds, even 7-year-olds wouldn't do that.

The only upside to this is that I don't often use adjustables on the bike. And the new tap looks fabulous; I knew you were curious.

Rant over....for now!


Well Brian, I feel your pain but if you must go out and buy cheap shitty isolating valves (a bag of 10 for tuppence) then I've no sympathy for you. The best chrome isolating valve (in my opinion) is made by Pegler. Good quality chrome, nice body to attach the adjustable to and an allen key head to turn on or off. Perfect!! But they do cost.  ;) Pays your money etc etc..........

As for Bristan, that's a bit of a mystery. It's usually good quality stuff but they do have a habit of changing specifications at the drop of a hat and very frequently to boot. It may be that your unit was changed in the middle of one of their production runs. As with all companies, mistakes are made. I've not come across that problem before and have lost count of the number of Bristan products I've fitted.

Offline Phmode

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2018, 03:05:26 pm »
Britool imperial BS/W open enders, no problem.

I think you are missing the point. I could have used an open-ender (Britool or Teng) but when the across flats distance varies on the same nut you are too tight or too loose with a fixed spaniard.

Offline Phmode

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2018, 03:13:47 pm »
Well Brian, I feel your pain but if you must go out and buy cheap shitty isolating valves (a bag of 10 for tuppence) then I've no sympathy for you. The best chrome isolating valve (in my opinion) is made by Pegler. Good quality chrome, nice body to attach the adjustable to and an allen key head to turn on or off. Perfect!! But they do cost.  ;) Pays your money etc etc..........

As for Bristan, that's a bit of a mystery. It's usually good quality stuff but they do have a habit of changing specifications at the drop of a hat and very frequently to boot. It may be that your unit was changed in the middle of one of their production runs. As with all companies, mistakes are made. I've not come across that problem before and have lost count of the number of Bristan products I've fitted.

Hm? Even I don't keep a set of Allen keys in my pocket. A cross-point/straight screwdriver certainly. If I need to turn off an isolator quickly I don't want to have to go searching for an Allen key, size unknown! So, I buy ones with a slotted head and whinge about the lack of flats  ;D

As for the Bristan change of spec, this variation was on THE SAME INDIVIDUAL GLAND NUT. One set of flats a different width from the others. You often find this on normal compression nuts but I was dismayed to find it on a Bristan unit.

Offline Blobby

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2018, 08:36:58 am »
I use push-fit fittings everywhere now. I can't be arsed with the struggling of compression fittings especially in tight areas around sinks etc...
I just replaced my boiler, apart from the initial run in copper from the boiler, the rest is in push-fit, saves so much time and hassle.

I have a nice set Bahco adjustable spanners which are brilliant, i also have some cheaper adjustable which self adjust  ::)

EDIT: of course i don't use push-fits on my gas fittings, I always use solder fittings where possible
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 08:39:03 am by Blobby »

Offline raesewell

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2018, 09:51:07 am »
Another fan of push fits here  ;)

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2018, 10:08:25 am »
Well Brian, I feel your pain but if you must go out and buy cheap shitty isolating valves (a bag of 10 for tuppence) then I've no sympathy for you. The best chrome isolating valve (in my opinion) is made by Pegler. Good quality chrome, nice body to attach the adjustable to and an allen key head to turn on or off. Perfect!! But they do cost.  ;) Pays your money etc etc..........

As for Bristan, that's a bit of a mystery. It's usually good quality stuff but they do have a habit of changing specifications at the drop of a hat and very frequently to boot. It may be that your unit was changed in the middle of one of their production runs. As with all companies, mistakes are made. I've not come across that problem before and have lost count of the number of Bristan products I've fitted.

Hm? Even I don't keep a set of Allen keys in my pocket. A cross-point/straight screwdriver certainly. If I need to turn off an isolator quickly I don't want to have to go searching for an Allen key, size unknown! So, I buy ones with a slotted head and whinge about the lack of flats  ;D

As for the Bristan change of spec, this variation was on THE SAME INDIVIDUAL GLAND NUT. One set of flats a different width from the others. You often find this on normal compression nuts but I was dismayed to find it on a Bristan unit.


I've never come across that problem before with Bristan Brian. Apologies for not quite understanding the problem in your first post.
The Pegler valve has not only the allen key aperture but a flat as well so you'd be well catered for either way.  ;)

Offline TomL

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2018, 11:42:20 pm »
I reckon Brian has come across a prototype brass fitting to suit two spanner sizes. Keep looking and you might come across a fitting to cater for three spanner sizes. Probably hand made out of Royal Enfield reject parts in a shed in Chennai.
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Offline Phmode

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Re: Adjustable spaniards and other annoying stuff!
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2018, 07:02:09 pm »
 :D ;D ;D ;D ;)