If you have been reading screwdriver set reviews, you’re probably tempted to buy one, given how useful they are. In this guide, I’m going to show you how to use a screwdriver. The most important thing you should do is choose the right screwdriver for the job.
Table of Contents
Choose the Right Screwdriver
You have to select the right screwdriver, otherwise, you risk damaging the tool or strip the screw and make it impossible to screw or unscrew.
Just keep this thing in mind:
Use Phillips screwdrivers for Phillips-head screws and slot head screwdrivers for slot screws. This might be stating the obvious, but some people try to use a flat head if they don’t have a Philips. Don’t do that.
How to Use a Screwdriver
Make a Pilot Hole
It’s best to drill a pilot hole if you’re going to drive screws in wood. Without a hole, the screw will follow the wood grain, whereas with wood you’re assured the screw goes straight.
Pilot holes also prevent the wood from splinting. For hardwood screws, you should use a boring tool, while an awl or punch hole is better suited for screwing in soft wood.
Begin to Screw
Put the screw on the driver tip, and use your fingers to keep the tip and screw together.
Apply a bit of pressure on the driver. Rotate clockwise until the wood and screw engage.
As soon as the screw thread makes contact with the wood, start moving the fingers that keep the screw in position.
Use these same fingers to keep the tip and screw lined up. Make sure you apply sufficient pressure so the driver doesn’t slip from the slot.
That is all there is to using a screwdriver, and the rule applies whether you’re using a slot head or Philips. With just a bit of pressure and steady fingers, you’ll get the screw in place.
If you use sockets and wrenches, you know the best socket set is the one that fits. The same is true for screwdrivers as the tip needs to fill the screw slot you’re removing or driving.
Don’t use the tips if they’re too narrow because it leads to leverage loss as you drive. This also means you have to exert more effort in driving.
The more pressure you exert, the more likely you’ll damage the screwdriver’s tip and strip the screw.
Don’t use tips that are too wide as you risk damaging the screw surface. Avoid tips which are too thick as they’ll slip when you drive.
The bottom line is you need to use the right size, otherwise, it’s not going to work.
How to Make Driving Easier
Driving a screw in is a straightforward process, but sometimes it can be difficult especially if the screw is rusty or just hard to drive in. Here are some suggestions.
- Apply soap or beeswax on screw threads, as this makes driving easier. This trick is particularly good on hardwood screws.
- Use an adjustable wrench if you need extra leverage. If you’re removing or driving a difficult screw, the wrench can help you out.
- Set the wrench on the screwdriver blade’s tip. Turn the screwdriver and wrench at the same time.
- Doing this produces extra leverage so you can remove that stubborn screw.
- Use a screw holder for those hard to reach spots. If you’re unable to reach that spot, bring out the screw holder.
- You just put the screw holder on the screwdriver’s end, and its jaws keep the screw in position as you drive.
- Use a short shank screwdriver if you need more power. You’ll should also try putting downward pressure at the top with your hand.
Tips for Maintaining Screwdrivers
Screwdrivers don’t need a lot of maintenance but keep the following in mind and they’ll last a long time.
- Use screwdrivers to drive screws, nothing more. Do not use as a putty knife, opening cans or as a wood chisel.
- Doing those things will damage the screwdriver and reduce its ability to drive.
- Make sure the tip is square before using it. Even the best screwdrivers get chipped or rounded after some time.
- Don’t use the screwdriver if the tip is chipped as it could slip and you could hurt yourself. However you can repair the chipped surface with a bench grinder, but don’t let the tip overheat.
- Store your screwdrivers in a cool, dry place to avoid damage. It also helps to oil the shank to keep them in good shape.
Using Power Screwdrivers
A power screwdriver is a good option if you drive a lot of screws or do this for a living. However these are more expensive, and you have to be careful when using these tools, especially power drills that have turned into power screwdrivers.
The biggest concern with power screwdrivers are they may have more power and torque than you need. Too much power and it could strip the screw or damage the screw.
A regular screwdriver is safer because you have a feel for it. You can tell when it’s tight enough so you can stop.
So is a power screwdriver necessary? It is if you do a lot of screw driving. If you use screwdrivers on occasion, a manual screwdriver is sufficient.
What Types of Screwdrivers are Available?
Screwdrivers are classified according to the tip and the kind of screw they have. The most common are the Phillips-head screwdriver and the slot head screwdriver.
- The slot head screwdriver, also known as the flathead, has a flat blade which fits in a regular screw slot. This is the standard screwdriver and most widely used in the world.
- The Phillips-head Screwdriver is shaped like a four-pointed star which fits screws with a similarly shaped slot. The shape allows you to put more torque compared to a flathead.
The depression on the screw also ensures the Phillips screwdriver blades will slip out before any stripping happens.
Which Screwdrivers Should You Be Using?
Most people don’t need a lot of screwdrivers, but you should have the following in your toolbox.
- Ratchet screwdriver: a ratchet screwdriver comes with a ratcheting mechanism which keeps the shank in position when you rotate clockwise. It then loosens when you turn counterclockwise.
- Phillips screwdriver: get one medium and one stubby. The stubby is useful for those times when you don’t have a lot of room to work with.
- Heavy-duty square blade: use this for heavy duty tasks that need a lot of driving power and torque.
- Cabinet Screwdriver: cabinet screwdrivers are noted for their shanks, which are thinner than average. This is ideal for getting screws in deep recesses without causing damage to the surface.
Now that you know how to use a screwdriver, you may want to check out the Top 15 Tools Everyone Should Own so you can complete your tool collection.
The best tool chest won’t be complete without screwdrivers, so it’s always a good idea if you have these.
Even if you read all the screwdriver set reviews, however, it won’t be of much unless you know how to use it. Hopefully, this guide has made it clear how this is done.