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cone wrench tolerances and hardness, cone flats tolerances

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cone wrench tolerances and hardness, cone flats tolerances

Old 07-19-12, 08:51 PM
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cone wrench tolerances and hardness, cone flats tolerances

(I bought a cone wrench today to overhaul a coaster brake hub, and while loosening the hub, the inside faces of the cone wrench got slightly dented, so I took out my calipers...)

Questions: What is the typical tolerance you should expect on cone wrenches and cone flats? And will a cone wrench *always* degrade/wear slightly with each use?

My new 15mm cone wrench measures approx 15.17mm - 15.18mm across its inside flats (which is out-of-spec according to the product webpage). The cone nut flats measured 14.82mm IIRC (and I know this particular hub is nowhere near high-precision). The wiggle room allowed the nut-flat edges to eat into the wrench faces, creating a slight dent.

Is this experience typical?

Thank you.
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Old 07-19-12, 08:53 PM
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If the metal yields, it should yield a certain amount, then stop, unless you use more force.
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Old 07-19-12, 09:18 PM
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I both types of Park cone wrenches.
The DCW series are much softer/weaker than the more expensive Blue handled ones.
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Old 07-19-12, 10:33 PM
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I've owned many brands of cone wrenches over the decades (Campy, Park Tool, Sugino, Kingsbridge, Zog, Wheels Manufacturing) and never once analyzed their tolerances. Some denting will occur, yeah. I dress the dents off with my Dremel if they're getting pronounced enough to interfere with normal use. But these are consumable, throwaway tools (to a bike-shop mechanic, anyway).

Tip: if you have a bench vise, invest in a cheap axle vise. Being able to lock the axle in place will help you keep finer control on the cone and locknut, and the cone wrench won't have to fully counteract the force you're putting on your locknut either.
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Old 07-20-12, 02:18 AM
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I've used and destroyed every brand and model of cone-wrench out there in the past 30-years of wrenching on bikes. The only ones I've found that have lasted, have lasted for 20-years. These are the Hozan C504 cone-wrenches. Precision ground heat-treated tool-steel. Will not gouge like the cheaper chrome-plated stuff. They also have a Y-shape at the mouth to help slip over and onto the cone flats quickly and easily. You don't have to rotate the tool or axle to line up exactly to get the tool on.
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Old 07-20-12, 05:19 AM
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cone wrenches are a consumable just like allen wrenches. this is why i am glad that i get a tool allowance for using/bringing my own tools. usually get a new set every year
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Old 07-20-12, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mechBgon
Tip: if you have a bench vise, invest in a cheap axle vise. Being able to lock the axle in place will help you keep finer control on the cone and locknut, and the cone wrench won't have to fully counteract the force you're putting on your locknut either.
I see guys doing hub adjustments with a vise and I just wonder why they bother...

Sure, you get more control, but far less feedback. I much prefer to have the axle in my fingers to check for play/preload; I have one cone/locknut done up as tight as it's sensible to go, and then just hold the spindle via that locknut. With most hubs you can have the other cone and locknut slightly locked together but still turning fairly easily, so I get it close enough and cinch the loose side up a little before doing the final adjustment. If you go too tight, obviously you may need to grab the cone on the tight side instead of the locknut. And with the loose side already partly locked, it doesn't throw it out when you crank the locknut against the cone to finish.

So usually, it's just a question of cranking one locknut hard against its cone, then just tightening each locknut towards each other until the play's eliminated, then cranking the other locknut against its cone. Done, in the time it'd take me to walk to the vise.

Last edited by Kimmo; 07-20-12 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 07-20-12, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mechBgon
I dress the dents off with my Dremel if they're getting pronounced enough to interfere with normal use.
Why not press them back into shape? Then you'll be left with work hardened metal.
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Old 07-20-12, 06:16 AM
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The dented wrenches work fine if you simply remember to take out the slack when changing from tightening the cone to holding the cone while tightening the locknut.
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Old 07-20-12, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
I both types of Park cone wrenches.
The DCW series are much softer/weaker than the more expensive Blue handled ones.
+1 Get the Park single size SCW series. I also have a pair of Campy double end cone wrenches (13/14 and 15/16) and they are very strong and hard but short and not very comfortable to use.
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Old 07-20-12, 07:45 AM
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Thank you all for your responses.

The tool is a Filzer CW-15, manufacturer published tolerance +0.15/-0.0 mm which is why I stated it was out of spec -- given these specs, I would expect most production samples to be closer to +0.07mm...

I ask about tolerances because a poorly-fitting tool either damages itself or the workpiece - my experience with adjustable wrenches on regular hex nuts is that it is very easy to round off the corners on nuts especially if the fit is not tightened up before applying force. (And it's always the nut that was deformed, which prompted my original posting.)

I can understand why a cone wrench might be purposely made softer than the workpiece if the goal was to prevent any damage to the cone flats (the workpiece being the harder-to-replace item?), but the cone material should be really hard if it is to last as a bearing race surface, yes?
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Old 07-20-12, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo
I see guys doing hub adjustments with a vise and I just wonder why they bother...

Sure, you get more control, but far less feedback. I much prefer to have the axle in my fingers to check for play/preload; I have one cone/locknut done up as tight as it's sensible to go, and then just hold the spindle via that locknut. With most hubs you can have the other cone and locknut slightly locked together but still turning fairly easily, so I get it close enough and cinch the loose side up a little before doing the final adjustment. If you go too tight, obviously you may need to grab the cone on the tight side instead of the locknut. And with the loose side already partly locked, it doesn't throw it out when you crank the locknut against the cone to finish.

So usually, it's just a question of cranking one locknut hard against its cone, then just tightening each locknut towards each other until the play's eliminated, then cranking the other locknut against its cone. Done, in the time it'd take me to walk to the vise.
When I was a kid without an axle vise, I used those sorts of methods too. As a guy who has to do this daily at work, I strongly prefer an axle vise. They'll tear my trusty Kingsbridge from my cold dead fingers.

Why not press them back into shape? Then you'll be left with work hardened metal.
That's an idea. But I get at least a year out of my heavily-used 13s and 15s, which are something like $3 at dealer cost. Good enough.

[I can understand why a cone wrench might be purposely made softer than the workpiece if the goal was to prevent any damage to the cone flats (the workpiece being the harder-to-replace item?), but the cone material should be really hard if it is to last as a bearing race surface, yes?
In my experience, coaster-brake hubs are not the pinnacle of technology, but their cone flats are plenty strong. As for the assumption that your cone wrench's jaws perform best when perfect, that isn't necessarily so... Snap-On makes quite a bit of money on their Flank-Drive design, which is designed to apply force to the flats of the nut/bolt, rather than the corners, using what amounts to a cammed jaw.

Anyway, big picture: a consumable tool used on a budget hub that you already stated has under-spec cone flats. Might be time to lay aside the calipers and say "it is what it is."
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Old 07-20-12, 04:48 PM
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Some one should make a bunch of these out of aermet 100 it would be easy to do with a water cutter.
 
Old 07-20-12, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Ramsey
Some one should make a bunch of these out of aermet 100 it would be easy to do with a water cutter.
No problem. Willing to pay say $50 for a cone wrench?
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Old 07-20-12, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by garage sale GT
Why not press them back into shape? Then you'll be left with work hardened metal.
I hammer them back into shape. Works fine so far (30+ years).
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Old 07-21-12, 09:42 PM
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+1 on Hozan cone wrenches and their bike tools in general...........if you can find a source.
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Old 07-21-12, 11:21 PM
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Somebody dumped what looks like the entire Hozan catalog on ebay recently, prices are pretty high but it's there.
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