6 Tips on How to Use a Hex Key

Hex key by Monroe

Do you know how to use a hex key? Also known as an Allen wrench, a hex key is a tool used to tighten and loosen fasteners with a hexagonal recess. Screws and bolts are often designed with a hexagonal recess. Using a hex key, you can install or remove fasteners such as these. Here are some simple tips to follow when using a hex key.

#1) Check the Fastener

Always check the fastener before attempting to install or remove it with a hex key. Fasteners can become stripped. Depending on just how stripped or worn the fastener is, the hex key may not fit snugly. Of course, you won’t be able to install or remove the fastener if the hex key is too loose.

#2) Check for a Tamper-Resistant Pin

When inspecting the fastener, you should also check it for a tamper-resistant pin. Some fasteners are designed with a small, thin pin in the center of their hexagonal recess. Known as a tamper-resistant pin, it’s a security feature. You can’t install or remove these fasteners with a regular hex key. Instead, you’ll need to use a special tamper-resistant hex key. Tamper-resistant hex keys feature a small hole in the tip that fits the fasteners’ tamper-resistant pin.

#3) Wear Gloves

You may want to wear gloves when using a hex key. Hex keys are often used in fastening applications with minimal clearance, such as furniture. With gloves, your hands will be better protected from injury. You can turn the hex key without getting your hands banged up in the small space.

#4) Hold Perpendicular

When you’re ready to use the hex key, place it in the fastener’s hexagonal recess. It’s important to note that you should hold the hex key perpendicular to the fastener. Hex keys feature an L-shaped design that’s characterized by a long arm and a short arm. With one of the arms in the fastener’s hexagonal recess, the other arm should form a right angle — assuming you hold it perpendicular to the fastener.

#5) Turn in the Right Direction

You should turn the hex key in the right direction when using it. Turning it clockwise will tighten the fastener, whereas turning the hex key counterclockwise will loosen the fastener.

#6) Don’t Overdo It

Another tip to follow when using a hex key is not to overdo it. Once you’ve tightened the fastener to the point where it’s secure or loosened the fastener to the point where you can remove it, you should stop turning the hex key. Continuing to turn the hex key will only increase the risk of damage to the object.

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