Screwdrivers

 
Regular screwdriver: good enough for most jobs

What's the big deal about screwdrivers, one might ask. It is the one tool that most of us take for granted. Virtually every household has a set, like kitchen knives and hammers. These days an ordinary screwdriver set costs little and is available everywhere. Use them, lose them, buy another set, why give them a second thought?

Screwdriver set: cheap, easily available and good enough for electrical repairs and most household jobs

Well, if you are a DIY chap like me and do a lot of work with screwdrivers, you will soon appreciate that there is a world of difference between the cheap, supermarket throwaway sets and really good screwdrivers. Let me explain.

Nowadays most screwdrivers come with hard plastic handles, usually transparent, green, yellow or some such colours. They are cheap and do the job. But there are problems with this type of screwdrivers: they are fine for most electrical work but not meant for woodworking.

The plastic handles are usually small and do not provide a good grip. Worse, their tips are not hardened and wear off after a time. The first sign of deterioration are the edges of the tip which start to crumble and then you are left with a jagged tooth like tip. This has happened to me many times and I have invariably had to grind the tip to get it back in shape.

Old screwdriver with worn out tip: I use it for stirring paint

My old favourite: used it till its rubber grip melted

I prefer screwdrivers with rubber grips; these are usually easier to hold and I had one that I kept close to me all the time for a variety of tasks. The problem was the quality of rubber; it was a type of butyl rubber which literally melted and came off after a few years of use.

My new stanley set; ordered on amazon.in for about Rs 600 something

Last week I ordered a set of Stanley screwdrivers, prompting my wife to remark that sometimes I buy tools for no reason at all. Not so. These screwdrivers are among the best available in India. The tips are hardened and the hard rubber or nylon grip is comfortable in use.

My long Stanley screwdrivers: great for tough jobs

Larger Stanley screwdrivers are useful when a job requires more torque as when twisting big fasteners into walls or wood, I have a set of these larger screwdrivers and they make a huge difference to my wrists.

A good tool makes a significant difference when you are working at a stretch or doing something frequently: it reduces fatigue, helps you do a better job and is often easier on the hands and wrists.

Old traditional type screwdriver: don't see these nowadays

So don't take the humble screwdriver for granted. Buy a good one and find out the difference for yourself. Someday I will try one those wooden handle screwdrivers like the ones we had when we were kids but which seem to have disappeared altogether.

Indranil Banerjie
23 September 2015

Comments

  1. Stanley is as good as taparia in my opening and both are average brands.
    Like the knife screwdrivers are also the most abused tools, the chipping of the tip happens when one is not using proper screw driver for a particular screw or applying excessive force to torque a screw. Also a cheap quality screw can damage your screw driver I have seen lot of cheap quality slotted screws which have a very shallow depth for the slots.
    Below article gives more insight on this
    ttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screwdriver

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    Replies
    1. What in your opinion is a good quality make? Available in India, of course.

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    2. I would say Wiha and PB Swiss make very good quality screwdrivers. Both are swiss brands.
      You can order them from goodwill.in

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    3. Apoorv, poor quality screws, ie made of inferior alloys will not damage screwdrivers; rather, it will the other way round. Most of the screwdrivers you mentioned available with goodwill are meant for electronics and electrical work; require more robust scredrivers for woodworking. My experience wioth the moderately priced Stanley screwdrivers which have black hardened tips have been good and you won't spend a small fortune acquiring a set.

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  2. I dont think the tip of the screwdriver is hardened separately. A good quality screw driver will be made from hardened Chromium-vanadium steel which is hard and resists corrosion.
    The black tip on the screwdriver is not indication of hardening it is done to make the tip rough so that it results in increased friction between screw and screwdriver resulting better grip.
    Apart from the "Old traditional type screwdriver" all other screwdrivers above are general purpose screwdrivers. A woodworking screwdriver does not always has to be chunky it depends whether you are pre drilling the holes, how long or thick wood screws is, what kind of thread the screw has and also on the nature of wood.
    When i said cheap quality screws what i meant was poorly machined screws which have improper slots either too shallow or too wide. A shallow slot would result in frequent slipping of screw and will damage the tip of screwdriver eventually no matter how hard the material of the screwdriver is. A wide slot will result in improper contact surface between screw and screw driver this will put excessive strain on the screwdriver edges.
    A screwdriver should be selected based on the screw size as i said earlier screwdrivers are one of the most abused tool. If not used properly the tip will get damaged no matter how good the quality of screwdriver you have.
    http://aviationmiscmanuals.tpub.com/TM-1-1500-204-23-9/img/TM-1-1500-204-23-9_61_1.jpg

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