Eternal BA tool search

Hi all,
You know when you're searching for an uncommon tool and eventually you buy a decent one, but it doesn't quite do everything you need, so you
keep looking and sometime buy another? Then the whole cycle repeats itself until you have several similar tools?
Well it keeps happening to me with BA spanners and sockets. I bought a set of open-ended BA spanners when I was working on a vacuum pump a couple of years ago. Then a bit later I was working on a scientific balance which had some delicate brass BA locknuts. So I ended up with two sets of open-ended BA spanners.
Then I needed to tighten terminals on several motors. The open-ended spanners don't fit very well, so I ordered some BA box spanners. Unfortunately the set was incomplete when it arrived, so I called the old guy at the tool company. He apologised and said that someone else's set had contained a faulty spanner, so he replaced it with one from another set, then forgot about it. The replacement didn't turn up, so I called the guy again and he said the manufacturer was in difficulty and hadn't supplied him. A few months went by and I called the company again, but didn't get the knowledgeable old guy. It turned out that he had passed away. Poor chap.
So I bought some new old stock BA sockets on eBay. Only I screwed up. They were advertised as "BA sockets, 1/4" hex drive". I assumed it meant "BA hex sockets, 1/4" square drive", but no, they are actually hex drive. My fault. They're quite a nice set, though, and they were cheap. They come with a handle which looks like an Allen key, but I was hoping to be able to use a screwdriver-type ratchet handle with them. What do you call a screwdriver-type ratchet handle which fits 1/4" hex drive sockets, I wonder, and where might one find such a tool?
Ah, the joy of hunting for tools (it is quite fun, actually).
Best wishes,
Chris
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Chris I have a cheap ratchet screwdriver, the type with a fat handle that contains the spare bits; it's 1/4" drive so if you can find one, you could cut a piece of a 1/4" Allen key to use as an adapter. This one was free with 5 litres of oil but the same type of thing turns up in the pound stores and places like Wilko, Lidl and Aldi. Alternatively, Halfords used to sell BA box spanners, I have a set I bought for working on valve audio gear which is full of BA fasteners. Martin
--
martin<dot here>whybrow<at here>ntlworld<dot here>com



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Martin Whybrow wrote:

Thanks for the suggestion. I might check out our local Aldi and if there's a cheap screwdriver give it a go. I don't want to spend too much in case the wobble in the two joints proves a problem, but I suspect this might be the only way to do it. I don't think I've ever seen a screwdriver handle (actually the ratchet isn't essential) which ends in a male 1/4" fitting.
Best wishes,
Chris
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On Wed, 26 Apr 2006 22:40:32 +0000, Christopher Tidy

Greetings Chris, I read your post about trying to find BA tools. I was trying to think what kind of tool was a BA tool. Finally it came to me. You were just trying to be polite. You've been tring to find sets of Big Ass tools. I can see how this might be a problem. Most places sell tool sets you can hold in your hand. But I imagine that big ass tools are probably too big for most jobs. I used to run a lathe with a 3 foot chuck. That chuck key sure was a big ass chuck key. Maybe an old factory site might have some big ass tools laying around rusting you could have just by taking them. I see you have a set of big ass tools for working on valve audio gear which was full of big ass fasteners. I can imagine big ass fasteners being used with big ass valves but what do big ass valves have to do with audio gears? Is Audio a brand name? Do they make big ass gears? But gear is singular. Is this gear so big it is made in pieces and held together with big ass bolts? I've seen some pretty big ass flywheels that were bolted together with big ass bolts. And what's a "box spanner"? Are they something you put in boxes to keep the sides from caving in? Oh, wait, I know what they are. When the moving van was being filled during my last move they had these things which spanned the box on the inside to keep everything in place when they were driving. I think it's funny what people collect. Some folks collect model trains, others collect china, while still others collect whisky bottles. And it appears you collect big ass tools. Do you display them? It would take a big ass building to properly display a bunch of big ass tools. Cheers, Eric
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Christopher Tidy wrote:

It happens that common phillips screwdriver tips are 1/4" hex ... as are the magnetic holders you put in your drill motor to drive them . You can also buy adapters (usually in a set with some cheap sockets) to drive them with a 1/4" ratchet . Female/female , or male/male but you can use a cutoff screwdriver tip or allen wrench . Thimk of the possibilities !
--
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'76 FLH "Bag Lady"
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Snag wrote:

I'm thinking along those lines. I reckon I should be able to find something in the various screwdriver ranges. Although I doubt these sockets were made with that in mind - from the age of the packaging I'm sure they pre-date electric screwdrivers.
Best wishes,
Chris
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You can get 1/4" square drive 1/4" size hex bits, that would work at the cost of being overly long, you could then use a common 1/4" square drive drive ratchet handle. Or just get a common 1/4" hex drive screwdriver and 1/4" hex(Allen) bit, usually sold in a set for cheap. I just bought a single 1/4" hex bit to replace a lost one, cost almost as much as a cheap set of 1/4" hex screwdriver bits and driver. Downside with either of those solutions is that there's no detent on the hex bits to retain the sockets, but they could be driven that way.
The only sockets with a 1/4" hex drive I've see have been really old and cheap sets from Japan, back when Japan was known for making junk. Included a cheap socket caddy and a hex key with flanges on opposite corners to keep the sockets from riding up the shank. Not for use in dark places, there was no detent ball on the key, either, the sockets tended to drop off easily. Talk about hunting for tools... My grandfather kept the set in his old car, guess he never had to use it, they were still all there.
Stan
430 No such article
You can get 1/4" square drive 1/4" size hex bits, that would work at the cost of being overly long, you could then use a common 1/4" square drive drive ratchet handle. Or just get a common 1/4" hex drive screwdriver and 1/4" hex(Allen) bit, usually sold in a set for cheap. I just bought a single 1/4" hex bit to replace a lost one, cost almost as much as a cheap set of 1/4" hex screwdriver bits and driver. Downside with either of those solutions is that there's no detent on the hex bits to retain the sockets, but they could be driven that way.
The only sockets with a 1/4" hex drive I've see have been really old and cheap sets from Japan, back when Japan was known for making junk. Included a cheap socket caddy and a hex key with flanges on opposite corners to keep the sockets from riding up the shank. Not for use in dark places, there was no detent ball on the key, either, the sockets tended to drop off easily. Talk about hunting for tools... My grandfather kept the set in his old car, guess he never had to use it, they were still all there.
Stan
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snipped-for-privacy@prolynx.com wrote:

Those sound pretty much like my set, except that my hex key has a detent ball, and there is no caddy. To me they look fairly decent. Use will tell...
Chris
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You can tell people who haven't owned a brit car don't know what a British Association thread is............try a 'chapman' set, nice version of the little socket screwdriver etc.
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I've got a very nice chapman set that I bought when I was working for 3 months in St. Albans about 15 years ago. Odd that you really can't find them here, seems like an obvious tool to market.
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yourname wrote:

No obligatory Whitworth story yet?
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yourname wrote:

Thanks for the tip. It looks like those mini ratchets in the Chapman sets would fit. I did know what BA stood for, though :-D.
Chris
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