That's Flawesome: A Minimalist Wrench Set
Not too long ago, we stumbled across a blog that caught our attention. Started by three friends with backgrounds in industrial design and art direction, That's Flawesome came across as a much-needed reminder that not all designs are created equal, no matter how visually pleasing they appear to be. Each blog entry focused on a particular design to focus on, and what we especially liked was the way these guys balanced constructive criticism with useful suggestions and, of course, a sense of humor. Clearly, these guys were excited about design, and instead of picking each project apart, they approached their critique from a sense of fairness and joy, hence the name That's Flawesome.
We are excited to feature That's Flawesome on the Coroflot blog because we appreciate their honesty and insight when it comes to the design world. Remember that each entry is written in good fun and entirely subjective. The critiques presented by That's Flawesome do not reflect the opinions of the Coroflot team, although we do find them to be entertaining. We hope you enjoy!
That's Flawesome: A Minimalist Wrench Set
Let's talk tools. If there's one thing I know, it's that industrial designers know how to use hand tools, right? When I was studying industrial design, there were many projects where I had to take something apart, or put something together, or take something apart so I could see how it was put together. And then I'd have to design something similarâ€¦which I would then have to put together. What did I use to take stuff apart/put things together (or to use fancy terms, 'disassemble/assemble')? Hand tools. Screwdrivers, wrenches, pry bars, saws, etc. You name it, I've used it. No one really taught me how to use these tools. You just figure it out, because using hand tools is pretty intuitive. Take the open-ended wrench, as an example. Let's say you've got a hex nut that you want to loosen. What do you do? Well, you probably look at the nut and then bring over some wrenches to see what size fits on the nut. When you find the correct size, you slide the wrench on the nut and turn the wrench to loosen it. Easy peasy.
But what if that nut was on really tight? You would probably put the wrench on the nut, swear a little, and then try to push or pull that wrench with all your might, hoping the nut comes loose. After failing to get it loose, you would probably swear a little bit more, and realize that your hand hurts a little, because the handle on that wrench was pretty thin. Maybe your hands wouldn't hurt so much if you were wearing work gloves. Or maybe a bigger/rounder/more ergonomic wrench body would work well to alleviate hand pain. How about a wrench handle/body with a rubber/plastic grip? That would definitely help. Maybe you would wish that the wrench was bigger and longer, because that way, you could get more leverage, and that nut would be easier to remove. These are all great ideas for an improved wrench! They weren't difficult to imagine either, because using hand tools is, for the most part, intuitive. Just from using the tool a few times, you can easily understand how the tool works, and how it could be changed to give you a better tool-using experience. Thinking about that stubborn hex nut, and the trouble you had with the wrench, would you ever think to yourself, "You know, I wish this wrench was fatter, but also much thinnerâ€¦"? Of course not, because that's the opposite of what would make this wrench experience better.
Guess what? The designers at Schneider Sarto think wide and thin wrenches are a good thing. They created an open-ended wrench set named Wrench Aesthetics. Sounds about right.
From the Wrench Aesthetics website:
Wrench Aesthetics is an ultra-minimal take on the wrench system. Ideal for daily use around the house, the simplistic kit includes a multitude of different sizes. We like tools. We've simplified the shape of the typical wrench and improved the ergonomics of the body by increasing the width and thickness of the material. But don't take their word for it, just watch this usage video!
Aren't those the most ergonomic and functional open-end wrenches you've ever seen? No. They are not.
Let's be clear: Wrench Aesthetics are, well, aesthetically pleasing. They're cool looking wrenches. They're made of stainless steel, which looks great. I'm not sure I would want to carry a set of these in my pocket, like they suggest, because of the weight, however. I guess I could carry one of the wrenches, but why would I do thatâ€¦?
Another feature is that they have large, laser-engraved numerals to indicate the size of the wrench. Laser-engraved ROMAN numerals. Are Roman numerals more aesthetically pleasing than regular numbers? Those Roman numerals probably work fine for metric wrenches, but I'm not so sure they'd look that great with Imperial sizes, you know, with fractions and all.
To reiterate, from their website, "We've simplified the shape of the typical wrenchâ€¦" Yes, they have simplified the shape of your typical open-end wrench, but why? Is it because open-end wrench designs are just too complicated?
"â€¦and improved the ergonomics of the body by increasing the width and thickness of the material."
Whoa. Hold on a sec. They improved the ergonomics? I'm not so sure about that. Yes, they made the handle of the wrench wider, which would make it easier to holdâ€¦BUT they also made that handle 5 mm thick, which is less than 1/4 of an inch. These wrenches are basically half the width of an iPhone 7, a little bit shorter, and a little bit thinner.
You're trying to use a wrench that has the basic shape of a narrow iPhone. I don't know about you, but tightening/loosening nuts or bolts with a wrench this shape sounds painful to me. Or maybe all the nuts and bolts you're using this wrench on are supposed to be loose? That would help.
The biggest concern I have with Wrench Aesthetics has to do with the wrenches' function. All the wrenches, no matter what size hex opening, have the same exact exterior dimensions. All the wrenches are 30 mm wide. This creates large areas of material on either side of the hex opening. In the usage examples shown on the Wrench Aesthetics page, everything seems fine.
However, you'll notice that the wrenches are being used on standalone hex nuts, with no other nuts in the immediate vicinity of the wrench. What happens when you need to tighten the nuts and bolts in this example?
There is definitely not enough clearance to accommodate the width of the Wrench Aesthetics wrenches. Typical wrenches are the shape they are because tool manufacturers know that wrenches need to be able to access bolts and nuts in tight spaces. An extremely wide head on the wrench is going to limit its use.
From the stainless steel the designers specified ("solid 304 2B 5mm stainless steel"), to the laser-engraved Roman numerals, to the name, you can't help but see that the main motivation behind this tool design concept was to create a really nice looking set of wrenches. Would they work well? Perhaps, in certain situations, and under certain conditions. But the fact that they limited the function and use of these wrenches in order to create a specific aesthetic reveals how Flawesome their design is.
For more That's Flawesome visit their website!