Baconsdozen Imperial Tools.
Mail order worldwide of imperial (inch based) handtools for all kinds of older machinery
Veteran,vintage and classic cars,bikes and machinery often use nuts and bolts with strange names like British Standard Whitworth,British Standard Fine (BSW or BSF),BA (British Association) and AF (across flats) or SAE etc. We specialise in spanners and sockets etc to fit them . Use the links at top to go to the pages of Imperial BSW,BSF (and BSC), BA or A.F (SAE) tools. Buy direct and avoid ebay fees.
With an early classic car,truck,motorcycle or stationary engine you soon find out two things,Number 1. Its fittings are probably imperial, which metric wrenches won't fit, but will damage. Number 2. When you ask the pimply kid in the local DIY store for a 1/2 inch whitworth spanner or socket he won't have the faintest idea what you're talking about. Whitworth/BSF and BA tools were made and used long before metric became universal and are often described as obsolete (mainly by those who can't be bothered to understand or stock them). AF or SAE tools are now going the same way as makers drop them from their ranges. Our nut/bolt size imperial to metric conversion charts will help you select the correct tools for your car or motorcycle project.
For over twenty five years we've supplied worldwide the spanners,sockets,wrenches and other tools needed to repair,restore and service older vehicles and all sorts of machinery including classic,veteran and vintage cars and motorcycles,older aeroplanes,farm and plant,stationary and steam engines.
We might not be the cheapest but professional quality and very low price don't often go together. We stock six and twelve sided,deep,standard and impact sockets,cranked ring,box,open ended and combination spanners in imperial sizes. etc . We have tools nobody else does,including many so called obsolete sizes including specialised tools for hub nut,ball joint and crank pulley nuts in different price or quality ranges to suit the DIY enthusiast, the professional mechanic or engineer in a restoration workshop.
If you are unsure of the tools you need for a classic car,motorcycle or machinery use our Imperial/Metric conversion charts will explain the different imperial and metric standards and what UNC,UNF,Whitworth etc mean and how they compare with metric sizes. Whitworth and BSF were common up to the 60s but have been superseded by metric and AF but some makers and countries changed over at different dates,using a workshop manual or taking advice from an owners club or car enthusiasts may also help selection. I still prefer to do things in an old fashioned way so you can phone me on (44)01493700618 or mobile 07974435627 to order with a credit car to hand. We are not here 24/7, but if you mail we'll try and get back to you as soon as possible. There are some paypal buttons on the site mainly on stock items and they include post to UK, E.U and Rest of World (ROW) .The prices are in sterling (English pounds) paypal will accept payments in your local currency but if in doubt mail . We accept cheques in pounds sterling or send an invoice in pounds,US dollars or local currency.More ordering details are here.
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Links to other personal pages on this site.
B.S.W. or British Standard Whitworth.
Usually simply referred to as Whitworth,an early English thread standard,found on many veteran machines. Threads are coarse,angle 55 degrees and the pitch is measured in threads per inch.The size marked on the spanner (half inch whitworth, nine sixteenths whitworth etc) refers to the diametre of the shank of the bolt it fits not the head size and is always in fractions of an inch. For this reason a Whitworth spanner or socket is always larger than AF ones carrying the same size markings.All Whitworth tools will carry a marking,normally a fraction followed by "W", "WHIT" or Whitworth and sometimes "W/BSF" . Pretty much obsolete by the mid 60s but still found on some cars,motorcycles trucks,trains and machinery made after this. During the second world war the sizes of the heads of BSW and BSF bolts were reduced to save metal,all nuts and bolts were made one size smaller (ie) a 'new' 1/2 whit bolt had the same size head as the old 7/16.The war also emphasised the need for a universal standard in bolt sizes which eventually resulted in the introduction of the 'Unified' or SAE system which utilises AF spanners and sockets.
Society of Automotive Engineers.Established at the start of the ninteen hundreds this society was formed to establish accepted standards within the enginering and maufacturing industries.Some imperial AF spanners are marked 'SAE'.
B.S.F. or British Standard Fine
Usually referred to as BSF,in effect,a fine version of whitworth. (More threads per inch) Size again refers to the threaded part of the bolt,not the head. BSF spanners are always marked one size larger than the same sized BSW spanner so for example a 1/4 inch BSW is the same size as a 5/16 inch BSF. Nuts and bolts in BSC (British cycle thread) are used on some very early machinery,mainly motorcycles and bicycles or autocycles etc. Whitworth and BSF spanners or sockets will fit these.
British Association,an early thread standard used on small nuts and bolts.These fixings are mainly found on electrical components or instruments etc.Still encountered on some relatively modern machinery and used in model engineering etc.Unusual in the the larger the number on a spanner or socket the smaller the tool. Sizes normally seen range from 0BA to 10BA although sizes from 11BA to 23BA are included in some text books and manuals.The even numbered BA sizes are used more frequently than odd with 2 BA probably the most common.
For spanners and sockets A.F stands for Across Flats and indicates the gap between an open ended spanners jaws and the distance across the nut or bolts parallel faces.Normally measured in fractions of an inch (7/16 or 1/2 etc) or Millimetres. If the measurement is an exact inch fraction they usually simply referred to as 'Imperial' or AF and normally used on UNC or UNF fixings . They are normally marked with the size in fractional inches (1/2 AF,1/4 AF etc) or sometimes with the decimal inch equivalent (50AF or 25AF etc). Some are found marked with a fraction and the letters SAE. Spanners and sockets measured and marked in whole millimetres are intended for metric threaded fixings and are simply called metric.
UNC and UNF.
Unified Coarse or Unified Fine,the thread standard that superseded B.S.W and B.S.F etc. Fast becoming obsolete but commonly used on many vehicles late 50s to 80s or much later on some USA made machinery. Most UNC and UNF fittings are designed for the use of AF (Inch based) tools.
(Extreme right top of page) In USA and some other countries the ring end of a combination or ring spanner is called a box.In UK and others a box spanner is a tubular spanner used to access deeply recessed nuts and bolts.The spanner is normally turned by a detachable tommy bar. Deep sockets will do the same job unless the nut is very deeply recessed and/or access around it is limited,box spanners may then be the only tool that will work as they are normally six sided and thin. The strength of box spanners is limited and they tend to spread if excessive force is used on them.
Six point sockets (hex).
Sockets can be six point (shaped inside as a hexagon) sometimes called mono hex,most impact sockets are six point and coloured black.Rarely small ring spanners are made with hex ends mainly for brake bleed nipples etc. Flare nut wrenches for fuel or brake pipes are often six point with part cut away to allow them to slip over the pipe so that they then grip almost all round the fitting.
Twelve point sockets (bi hex).
(Extreme left top of page) Twelve point (or bi hex) sockets are a double hex configuration. Most ring spanners are of bi hex configuration, where access is limited bi hex tools need a smaller movement to turn a nut before they can be removed and refitted to enable the fitting to be turned again.
Flank drive,Hi Torq,wall drive etc are all different designs of sockets or wrenches claimed to drive without putting excess force on the very corners of hexagonal nuts and bolts.
Anything which uses inches or fractions of an inch as its measurement. Thus a 1/2 inch af,or a 1/2 inch whitworth or BSF is an imperial sized spanner or socket,a 19mm is not. We regard Whitworth,BSF,BA and AF as Imperial tools. We don't sell the types of sockets and spanners that are supposed to fit everything from mm to torx and Whitworth. We consider the correct tools for imperial sized fastenings is the imperial sized spanner (or socket) made specifically for it. There are very few imperial tools that we can no longer source,in these cases and where even a second user tool is not in stock,where a metric tool is very close in size we can probably supply a suitable one as an equivalent. We have many,many more tools available than the selection that is shown on the web site.
(Centre top of page.) A spanner with its ends forming a circle,the inside is normally formed with twelve sides (commonly called bi hex) in the same way as a conventional socket . They are normally made with one end being the next size up or down on the other (for example 1/2 x 9/16 inch AF) A combination spanner is one with an open end and a ring end (normally of the same size)
If you are not sure what tools you need for the restoration or repair of your veteran,vintage or classic car or motorcycle study the information above and looking at our imperial to metric etc spanner and socket size conversion charts .
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23 Common Road
We are based in England but can ship tools just about anywhere in the world.
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