When you’re trying to hold a nut inside your truck frame where your fingers don’t fit, you’re either going to need a more nimble-fingered helper or a way to attach the nut to a wrench. While I’ve used tape over the end of the wrench in the past, something like the Strong Hand Tools magnetic wrench attachment might be a better solution.
Strong Hand Tools makes a set of five different magnetic holders. One is meant to be used with wrenches, the others slip onto hex keys or screwdriver bits.
The magnetic wrench attachment supposedly clips onto any wrench to hold a nut or bolt in place. I say supposedly because the attachment looks like it only fits over an open end wrench since box ends are usually bent at an angle.
Four magnetic rings round out the other tools included in the set. They fit common hex wrench sizes of 3/16″, 1/4″, 5/16″, and 3/8″. They seem to slide over the shaft of the wrench and are apparently held in place solely by magnetic force. Or it could be a frictional fit, as magnetic forces would be weak between the tool and ring.
The 1/4″ magnetic ring looks like it could also be useful for use with power bits, insert bits that are poorly magnetized, or bits inserted into non-magnetic bit holders or chucks.
All five tools weigh just 36 grams (0.08lbs) in total, and so when using them you might not even notice that they’re there.
You can find this set at ArcZone and Pipefitter for a little over $4. We don’t have any experience with these sellers, so if you do order from them, please let us know about the experience. Pipefitter currently offers the best price if you include shipping (estimated as $5 for me)
Buy Now(5pc set via Pipefitter)
Buy Now(5pc set via ArcZone)
A few other tool retailers sell only the magnetic wrench attachment. Snap-on, for once, sells the cheapest version I could find at just slightly over $3. Interestingly Snap-on lists their version as having a pivoting magnetic head and only fitting nuts sized 3/8″ to 3/4″. So maybe it would work on a box end wrench.
The one listed at Snap-on, model YA207, is listed as being made in the USA.
Buy Now(Wrench-only accessory via Snap-on)
If you have used these, do you like ’em? Given how cheap these are, we might have to give them a try.
That set looks really handy, and a bargain to boot, but Arc-Zone’s shipping charges are ridiculous! The cheapest option was USPS, and that was $10.55! I’ll wait and see if I can find it locally.
Yeah, sorry I didn’t check shipping because they make you enter a bunch of personal info before you even can see rates. I just did it and found the cheapest I could get it shipped to the burbs of Minneapolis is $10.55.
I did find another site that sells the bolt holders:
Unfortunately Pipefitter has the same enter all your personal information step, but this time I did it and they are charging me $5. You might want to try them.
As Benjamen mentioned, Snap-on’s version is cheap and covers a range of sizes. It’s part number YA207, and I believe it’s actually stamped “Blue Point”. If you buy online at snapon.com, shipping is free; you’ll just pay your local taxes. You’ll normally receive it in about a week.
As a follow-up, I pulled my YA207 from my car’s toolbag. It has the name Nutholder Pat. #4,718,316 stamped into it’s body, and appears identical to the one Strong Hand Tools sells in this set. It’s actually a sliver (1/16″ thick and 13/16″ diameter) of what looks like a rubberized magnet that is composited onto a piece of plastic, held in place with a small rivet on the stainless body. The rivet is long enough to allow the magnet to “float” and adhere to the nut or washer you’re attempting to install.
Does it feel like a decently-made piece or does it feel kind of cheap? I’m looking into getting this instead of a set.
Brian14–My personal opinion is that it feels kinda cheap. The stainless steel used for the body is quite thin. The bigger problem, however, is that it’s not compatible with raised panel (i.e., Craftsman) wrenches. It seems to be designed more for Snap-on, MAC, etc., wrenches that are a uniform width and thickness. I just tried it with my older Craftsman Professional wrenches, which share those attributes; it fits fine on them. To be honest, I never got around to using it, but thought (for the money) it might come in handy some day. I also brought the body of it near a rare-earth magnet, and it practically grabbed it out of my hand. That would indicate it was made of a low-quality stainless steel. Hope this helps.
I bought something 14 years ago that looked just like the wrench attachment – it was labeled Gar Marketing D9 M41821. Googleing that today produces no results. I can say that I don’t recall using it much.
You will be able to purchase these at your local HF within a month…………
i bought one of the wrench models over 10 years ago. mac truck maybe? anyway it works pretty well. not something used every day but i have used it many times. a couple times a year it saves me a lot of hassle and makes it worth having and keeping around.
Three words: rare earth magnets.
I keep several rare earth magnets around garage (and lots more around the house). A 3/8″ one is attached to my drill press and holds my chuck key. I epoxied another 3/8″ one inside a cheap socket which I then epoxied onto an 18″ socket extension that I use for retrieving things. I have a large 1″ x 1″ magnet that I use for temporarily magnetizing wrenches though having permanently magnetized wrenches would be more convenient.
You can find them at Amazon. Be careful if you buy 1″ or larger. They can draw blood if you don’t respect them.
This was my thoughts exactly, I have some rare earth magnets, and have handled larger ones that could have easily done damage to my fingers.
Strength is amazing.
Good point. I like using the 1/2″ ones with a counter-sink. They’re great for making embedding magnets in things like wooden fridge magnets. I also used them to make some brackets to hold fishing poles in place in my truck bed when we are 4x4ing to the lake. I even use one to hold my chuck key to my drill press like you do. So I have a bunch of these around my shop.
I’ll have to try your socket suggestion. I’ll have to play with magnets some more to see how well they work in different situations.
I use the rare earth magnets too. The need for this at least for me is very little. I also use the glue gun as when need it is likely only one or two bolts.
Very interesting product. I’ll look into getting one of these, maybe the Snap-on one.
sweet may have to get some of these as they would be great for the home mechanic or the odd diy job around the house !!
gonna pick up some of these — thanks for the tip this is a good one !!
Don’t forget this does not work on proper stainless nuts and bolts
Got one several years ago, rebranded as a Gedore (German tool brand). I only used it once.