Funny how we sometimes tend to “over-think” and complicate certain things. I have been out of the business for over a decade now but in one of my (too many) careers, I was tasked in supplying tooling to major industrial manufacturing operations. I have read this topic and have no quarrel with any one particular comment. Except to say that we sometimes get so hung up on specifications that, if we aren’t careful, we allow it to paralyze us into inaction and delay progress.
In my past, I have supplied everything from a hand held “beam” type torque wrench to very technical PLC electronic controlled assembly torque systems on aerospace, gas turbine, commercial vehicle, and automobile assembly operations. Some of these applications so critical that the fasteners are not only torqued, but data kept and stored.
However, for my own “backyard” applications...I keep and use three torque wrenches. One “old-school” Craftsman beam type 1/2” drive beam wrench in ft. lbs., and two micrometer(dial/click) wrenches, a small one for the inch lbs. And a larger one for ft. lbs. All have double scales to cover the metric specs.
We can get hung up in not only the specific torque numbers, including torque angles... but for me...I have had good results in keeping things in order of assembly and following a few simple rules. One, is to keep bolts, screws, & nuts paired with their original positions. (Sometimes difficult on used equipment serviced by others) I don’t take something apart and throw all the fasteners in a can of solvent and sort them out later. I also clean the parts. On certain critical applications, (head bolts, rod caps, etc.) I will chase the threads & blow out the debris. Tiny pieces of gasket sealer, etc., can cause a false torque.
Another thing that is important is “practice.” If you are tasked with setting a torque reading you are unfamiliar with, take the time to make a practice piece, and develop a “feel” for the torque. I’ve done that and even broken a few bolts solely to gain an insight “feel” for how much is too much. I still remember (Air Force, 1966) the chewing out I got for over torquing and breaking a bolt in an expensive light weight alloy flywheel.
Several years ago, I broke a bolt on one of my vintage car engines. Rather than take the time to investigate the issue, I decided to “tweak” the tightness of a bolt. (Not using a torque wrench.) Instead of a tweak...it was a snap! Dumb move on my part. Turned out that the bolt was a tiny bit too long bottomed out into a blind hole. If I had taken the time to do it right, I could have saved myself days of extra work. (Sorry for the long post. Typing comes easy for me and combined with morning coffee and “Topic inspiration”…) So...get a decent wrench(s)...practice, and happy torquing!
One added note Re. Digital tools. I avoid them because I use them so seldom that I don't trust the batteries. My tools are kept in unheated out buildings. The heat cycles, possible corrosion, and infrequent use has not been good for the few digital tools I have had.