Totally screwed

In this trade, I have a lot of call for putting screws in.  All sorts of things end up being affixed with screws, like tabletops.  Add to that all the parts of my tools that are secured with screws, and there’s a lot of call for a good screwdriver.

The key to that is a good screwdriver.  While the 99¢ bargain bin special might be okay for opening paint cans, it’s not much good for anything else.  Add to that the fact that the only proper screws for furniture work are slotted screws, and a well-fitting screwdriver is essential not only for torque, but also to keep the blade from camming out of the slot and chewing it up.  The screwdriver I use (and have for years) is the Brownells Magna-Tip screwdriver set.

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This set of graduated bits is intended for gunsmiths.  Most guns have slotted screws, and a properly fitting screwdriver blade is the only way to work on them without damaging the screws.  But it also works in this application.  Not only are the furniture screws I typically use covered in the range of bit sizes, but also the screws in my tools (from planes to saws).  And there’s some bonus appeal for this as well:

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On the left, you can see that the hex shaft bits fit securely inside a brace.  So when you’ve got a passel of #14 screws to drive, it goes pretty quickly.  On the right, you can see an unwieldy application that I hit upon whilst building a tenon saw.  I was trying to fit the saw nuts precisely into the handle I’d carved out, and needed the recesses just a smidge deeper.  As my forstner bits also have a hex shaft, I could fit it into the handle, and just barely touch the bottom of the recess.  It’s a very light cut, but it’s what you need sometimes.

In summary,  this is a great addition to your tool set.  This goes double if you want to clean a shotgun while you’re assembling your table.  Just don’t get the parts mixed together…

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