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What sizes of Whitworth wrenches should I look for to service older English 3-speeds?

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What sizes of Whitworth wrenches should I look for to service older English 3-speeds?

Old 03-02-13, 12:16 PM
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auchencrow
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What sizes of Whitworth wrenches should I look for to service older English 3-speeds?

I've been making-do with a couple of good quality adjustable wrenches, but they still make me a little nervous since they pose a grater risk of rounding off a fastener.
I am aware too that during the war, the Whitworth dimensions across the flats were changed to the next size down, in order to conserve material, so that makes it a little more confusing for me on which ones to buy - unless I can locate a more complete set of wrenches for a reasonable cost.

Any guidance would be appreciated.
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Old 03-02-13, 02:53 PM
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Track down one of these Raleigh multitools:



Pretty much everything you need for an old English 3-speed with Whitworth nuts and bolts.
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Old 03-02-13, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Track down one of these Raleigh multitools:



Pretty much everything you need for an old English 3-speed with Whitworth nuts and bolts.

Thanks Neal - Looks like it may be a far more economical alternative too!
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Old 03-02-13, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Track down one of these Raleigh multitools:

Pretty much everything you need for an old English 3-speed with Whitworth nuts and bolts.
Just saw some of those on ebay yesterday.
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Old 03-02-13, 05:38 PM
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You mean ...you sold your wrenches with the Bonnie?
https://www.thebonnevilleshop.com/Whi...-TBS-0387A.htm
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Old 03-02-13, 05:53 PM
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We should get a copy of that raleigh multi-tool laser cut. I'd buy one.
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Old 03-02-13, 06:09 PM
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The best way to figure this out is to know that the British Standard wrench (spanner, actually) is marked with the size of the major diameter of the bolt. Fractional and metric wrenches are sized to the distance across the flats of the fastener. To complicate matters further, there are two common standards: BS Coarse (aka Whitworth) and BS Fine. Your bike may have both.
Here is an site which goes into some depth about all this BS:
https://www.enginehistory.org/british_fasteners.shtml
The second article should be helpful.
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Old 03-02-13, 08:12 PM
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I, too, got tired of the adjustable wrench and bought a cheap set off of ebay. Here are the three sizes that I use the most on my Raleighs: 1/8W, 3/16W, and 1/4W. The 1/4W fits the seatpost nut and is especially handy. Seems like there is another fraction associated with each size but those are the only markings on my wrenches. I also have one of the multi-tools, but really only use it for the headset, which is not a perfect. Perhaps mine is a copy since many of the notches almost fit the nut, but not quite.
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Old 03-02-13, 08:19 PM
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Chase down a Snap-On truck with your three speed and start picking wrenches that fit
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Old 03-02-13, 09:54 PM
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Does Snap-on still carry BS tools?
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Old 03-03-13, 04:09 AM
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You might be able to dig around and find a dog bone wrench with the sizes you need, or at least some of them. The one I had was made of such cheap cast aluminium that the handle snapped when I used it the first time. I kept the pieces and hold them with a set of pliers or an adjustable wrench and use it as a kind of socket. The stamped tool pictured above is a good option too of course, but sometimes I find there isnt enough space to get at seat post binder bolts which is why i like having the dog bone pieces on hand.
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Old 03-03-13, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by aixaix View Post
Does Snap-on still carry BS tools?
Apparently so. For close to fifty bucks a piece! ye gods....

https://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item....e=&dir=catalog
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Old 03-03-13, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Chase down a Snap-On truck with your three speed and start picking wrenches that fit
Why didn't I think of that?
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Old 03-03-13, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Apparently so. For close to fifty bucks a piece! ye gods....

https://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item....e=&dir=catalog
ALL of the sets I have seen were pretty dear, and considering that 2 or 3 wrenches would likely serve in 90% of the cases, I initially thought it wise to source only the ones I most needed - but the dog-bone idea seems like an even more economical solution.
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Old 03-03-13, 11:41 AM
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Moss Motors, a supplier of old British car parts, carries King Dick wrenches (I am NOT making this up). Way cheaper than Snappy.

https://www.mossmotors.com/Shop/ViewP...eIndexID=31573
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Old 03-03-13, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by aixaix View Post
Moss Motors, a supplier of old British car parts, carries King Dick wrenches (I am NOT making this up). Way cheaper than Snappy.

https://www.mossmotors.com/Shop/ViewP...eIndexID=31573
Those look very nice, aix.
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Old 03-03-13, 05:20 PM
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Jeez ... and to think that I gave all my Brit spanners and sockets to a friend before I moved my tools to Japan. Back in the days, I needed them for my Triton [Bonny-Noton] road-racer. I'd better stay away from old Raleighs or I'll be grinding my teeth over my decsion!

My mechanic and I did find a work around for some problems concerning Whitworth, BSF and BSA fasteners. They were becoming very scarce. We found it easy to convert many of the British sizes to metric using tapes and dies. So slowly the Triton was acquiring fresh fasteners in metric. Such a conversion might spell anathema to the Raleigh purist, but it might also serve to improve a troublesome build.
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