Water main tool

Hello! Does anyone know what kind of steel is used for the tools the
water companies use to turn on and off a water main leading into a
house? They're about 5 feet long, T-shaped, with a socket on the long
end and a chisel tip on one end of the "T", and a spike on the other
end. Any ideas?
Reply to
Joshua Shanks
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I see mostly rebar used for these tools. Locally, the top of the stop valve looks like large flat head screw in reverse, a protruding ridge, rather than a slot. Its pretty simple to heat a piece of 1/4" flat and fold it over to form a wrench. Water meters around here aren't buried very deep, so in a pinch, I can use a large adjustable wrench with a large screwdriver to twist it. Gary Brady Austin, TX
Reply to
Gary Brady
aluminium!!!!!!
Reply to
keith.heselton
if you need one you can go to home depot and buy one, pretty cheap and cheaply made(mild steel)... i made one myself out of a piece of 3/4 inch pipe(cut groove in one end with a hack saw and then beat the center part in to make the groove to turn the valve( need a pipe wrench to turn the pipe(or you can go overboard on the home made tool by putting a handle on it with some pipe fittings)....
Reply to
jim
The handle and shaft are typically rebar. The socket is usually a piece of narrow channel welded to the end of the shaft, although plate or angle could be used as well. The head of a slag chipping hammer could be attached to form the chisel tip. There's not usually any tool steel in these devices.
Reply to
Tom Kendrick
The tool is called a "street key" In some places it is a 5 sided socket.
Reply to
Beecrofter
Beecrofter wrote: The tool is called a "street key" In some places it is a 5 sided socket. ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Five-sided sockets are universally used on fire hydrants, since no commonly available wrench will fit. Seems to me that this would not be a good idea for the main water valve to a house, since it would make emergency shut-off difficult.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
Hey Josh,
Around here, the wrenches are just steel. But the "socket" on the end for the stop valve you mention is pentagonal, not hexagonal. Same as the cover plate hold-down is. Can't give you sizes. Should be available at any plumbing or underground specialties wholesaler.
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Reply to
Brian Lawson
Thanks all you guys! I actually don't want to make or use one. The water company left one in my yard when I moved into my house six years ago, and despite numerous calls to them to come get it, they never have. So, I decided to see what I could do with it. Doesn't sound like much, though, if it's rebar. At least, not what *I* would do with it, that being knifemaking. :-) But thanks all for your replies!
Josh
Reply to
Joshua Shanks
you can always use it to turn the water off at the main so you can do plumbing repair....
Reply to
jim
It also makes it hard for deadbeats to turn on the water again once it's been shut off. It's the sort we have around here. Meter pit cover has a 5-sided recessed bolt, really hard to get visegrips to grip.
Stan
Reply to
Stan Schaefer
I have one too... I suggest wiping it down with a thin coat of oil, and carefully packing it away where you can find it in a hurry.
It's not exciting to look at, and you won't use it often... but one day you might be REAL glad you can lay your hands on it. They have a way of stripping the 'urgent' factor out of many pluming emergencies.
I was in the hardware store years ago with my neighbor. They had a pile of good 'DWP' quality street key's they'd picked up somewhere... and I mentioned I'd always wanted one, but could never justify actually buying one.
Soon after he gave me one as a 'gag gift' kind of thing (another story).
Within weeks it was used for real at the same neighbors place when his shut off valve failed. Not too long after that, it was a big hit in the neighborhood right after the 94 LA earthquake... and has seen service probably 5 or 6 times since.
Erik
Reply to
Erik
It's probably not rebar, unless it has the characteristic ridges and marks, just black steel pipe or heavy wall tubing, or hot rolled stock of some sort. Worth more as a usable curb key than scrap.
Paint it red and keep it handy in the garage, and make sure the wife and kids know where it is. The first time you (or a neighbor) discover a new geyser in your front yard, or a leak inside the house and the hand valve is stuck open, that curb key will come in handy.
Unlike a sheared fire hydrant where they'll hurry, the water company can take their sweet time getting there. No hurry, the water leak is past the meter so you are paying the bill.
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Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman
LA DWP has padlock hasps on their curb valves to lock them in the OFF position. Better than an odd 5-sided wrench, you have to cut the lock off, and that's a twofer - they can get you for both "theft of services" and "destruction of city property".
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Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman
I have made many, many of these.
First the vaults do commonly use a five sided bolt to secure the hatches, just like fire hydrants use on their caps and on the operating nut (the one on top).
The Key being discussed is most likely a mainline valve key which will have a square receiver that will slip over a 2" square nut. The 2" square nut is the industry standard for operating nuts on buried water main valves. This is true for butterfly, gate and knife valves. The only deviation is inside of a vault or pump house when a hand wheel is used.
The pick end on the handle is for prying the lid or cover off of the valve box in the street. DO NOT DO THIS!! BAD! BAD! BAD! Authorized personnel and all that rot. That said I have made them (mainline shutoffs) mostly of 5/8" cold rolled steel. You can use 1/4" flat to make a box end that will fit over the 2" square nut or go to your local supplier and buy 3" of 2"+ square tubing w/a wall thickness of 3/16" or 1/4".
The shut off by your water meter is normally a slotted affair and only about 18"-24" long. They are normally in two sizes. One is 5/16" thick and the other is 3/8" thick. Unless your utility has given you permission or installed a shutoff on your side of the water meter you could get in trouble for even touching "THEIR" valve. Again having mentioned that I make them out of 3/8" cold rolled steel on a wooden jig (for the tee) the slotted end I always make in the thicker size and 2" long. I have heated and bent flat bar for this but it is a lot quicker to set up a wooden jig and cut all your pieces then just do a mini assembly line. They do not have to be thimble tight on the slotted operating nut. Just remimber "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosy". Todd
Reply to
Todd

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