We’ll discuss all about screwdrivers including which screwdriver you will need for your work and How to Choose the Right Screwdriver for Your Work? Call this your basic guide to one of the most common hand tools in workshops.
All About Screwdrivers As a Tool for Turning
All screwdrivers are tools for turning, both for driving and removing screws. The most common design consists of three parts:
- A handle made of wood metal or plastic. Its shape can vary including square, oval, and hexagonal. It should be comfortable in the hand when used.
- A shaft made of tough steel, which will resist twisting and bending when in use.
- A tip for insertion into the screw head, thus, driving or removing it after a few turns. It’s usually hardened for durability and ridged for extra-secure grip. It can also be treated for increased visual contrast with the screw.
Screwdrivers can also come in two forms – manual and powered. Many power drills, for example, have a hollow for inserting screwdriver tips. Many manual screwdrivers also have interchangeable tips at the end of their shafts.
In case of the latter, a hollow handle contains several types and sizes of tips. The screwdriver’s reversible ratchet action keeps it steady even after many turns. It should be comfortable in the hand when used. The tip remains firmly connected, so to speak, with the screw head.
Classified by Tips
Screwdrivers are classified according to their tips. The tips, in turn, are shaped to fit the slots, recesses, and grooves of the corresponding screw head.
The following are the most common screw drives in contemporary times. Each type also comes in various sizes including jewelers’ screws and equipment screws.
- The Phillips screwdriver is the most popular because of its many advantages.
- The Robertson screwdriver has a square protrusion on its tool. It also has a square-shaped socket on its screw head.
- The slot screwdriver has a single slot in its fastener head. It’s still the most commonly used screw drive in simple woodworking applications.
- The hex screwdriver has six-sided fastener heads.
- The square screw drive has square fastener heads.
- The pentagon screw drive has five-sided fastener heads. This is usually used by public utility companies because of its tamper-resistant nature.
- The 12-point screw drive has two overlapping hexagon shapes.
- The double-slot screw drive has two slots placed in a perpendicular position.
Other types include Frearson, Mortorq, and Pozidriv. But you don’t need all types and sizes of screwdrivers in your toolbox. You can start your screwdriver collection with these must-haves for a home workshop:
- Medium Phillips screwdriver for most woodworking applications
- Stubby Phillips screwdriver for working in limited spaces
- Heavy-duty square blade for jobs needing plenty of driving power and torque
- Small and medium slot screwdriver
- Cabinet screwdriver for jobs on deeper holes in wood
- Traditional flathead screwdriver for various jobs
- Ratchet screwdriver for many types of tasks, as well as its ratcheting advantage
Selection and Use Tips
But many people still make the mistake of using the incorrect screwdriver. This despite the simplicity of the abovementioned rule. Keep in mind that unmatched screws and screwdriver for a job can result in:
- Stripping the screw during the turning process. The damage will make it more difficult to remove the screw when it’s necessary.
- Damaging the screwdriver itself. The blade can be dulled or the shaft can be broken, which will render the tool useless.
- Making an easy job frustrating. The screw will not turn, which means a waste of time and effort on your part.
- You don’t have to damage the screw and the screwdriver. You can keep these tips in mind when choosing and using the right screwdriver for the job.
- Ensure that the tip has a secure and comfortable fit in the slot. The blade will slip out when the tip is too small, too large, or too thick for the slot. The work can be damaged, too, because of the blade slipping out of place.
- Check that the tip is in good condition. The blade shouldn’t have nicks, dents and damage, such as a badly rounded tip, for it to work well. You can sustain injuries otherwise, even damage the surrounding wood.
- Handle the screwdriver with clean and dry hands. Keep the screwdriver’s handles clean, too. Your wet or greasy hands handling a screwdriver can result in injuries. This is because you have lesser control over it.
- Use your other hand in holding the blade in the screw slot when driving a screw. Otherwise, your hand can become injured when you’re holding the work with it.
- Dip a screw in linseed oil for rust protection before turning it in. Pulling its threads across past wax, beeswax, or candle will also make it easier to drive it in.
- Clamp locking pliers or wrench on a square-shank screwdriver for added turning power. Ordinary pliers will not work on round-shank screwdrivers either.
- Dab shellac under the screw head. This will keep it from being loosened due to vibrations. Just press as firmly as possible on the screwdriver when removing it to remove the shellac shell.
Driving in a screwdriver is also easy. Yet many people also do it incorrectly and, thus, damage either the screw head or the screwdriver. You can avoid it by following these three basic steps:
- Create pilot hole on the wood.
- Start the screwing process. Place the screw on the tip and hold both with your fingers of one hand. Put the screw on the pilot hole and apply a little pressure when turning it in.
- Keep driving the screw into place. Use your fingers to guide the screw in its hole.
In the end, even a small child will master the screwdriver! Just teach him the basics of matching the tip with the head, as well as driving and removing the latter.
Choosing the right screwdriver for the job should be an easy task. Your biggest rule: Always match the size and type of the screw head with the screwdriver. Your work will be faster and easier afterwards.
Using the screwdriver in the right manner is just as important, too. You have to be aware of the safety precautions associated with its use. You should be aware of the dangers of its sharp tips and hard shaft.