Screwdriver sets make an essential addition to any tradie’s toolkit. But if you don’t understand how to use your screwdrivers properly and keep them well-maintained, you’re likely to see them degrade and quickly lose functionality.
To make the most of your screwdriver set, you’ll need to understand the different types of screwdrivers available, how to use them, and how to keep them clean, well-maintained, and functional for years to come.
Preventing screwdriver damage
The first step to effective screwdriver maintenance is to prevent your screwdrivers from becoming dirty, eroded, or damaged in the first place! Here are a few tips you can follow to keep your screwdrivers in great nick.
Before you begin any work with a screwdriver, make sure you’re using the right type. Some screwdrivers are designed for use only with specific screw heads, while others can only handle a certain amount of pressure.
Some screwdriver types you’ll find in a typical set include:
- Slotted or flathead screwdrivers: These are the most recognisable screwdriver types, suited for screws with a straight recess across the head.
- Phillips-head screwdrivers: These are the second most common type of screwdriver in Australian toolkits, designed specifically for screw heads with a cross-shaped recess. They provide better torque than flathead screwdrivers.
- Hex screwdrivers: As you might expect, these drivers are designed for tightening hex screws. They serve the same purpose as the more common Allen keys.
- Star or Torx screwdrivers: These are great for applying heavy torque in applications like mechanical production. They’re designed for screw heads with a star-shaped, six-pointed recess.
Other common screwdriver types include square, tri-wing Pozidriv, torque, and ratchet screwdrivers.
So, for your next project, make sure you’re using a screwdriver designed for your specific application. Otherwise, you could apply more pressure or torque than the tool can handle, causing degradation and damage. Also, always make sure you’re using the appropriately-shaped screwdriver for the screws you’re working with.
Screwdriver cleaning 101
You should clean your screwdrivers regularly to prevent corrosion and damage over time. Here’s a quick rundown of how to do it.
- Before and after using a screwdriver, give it a quick wipe over with a clean cloth or rag. This process will remove any dirt or grime and prevent build-up.
- If necessary, use a degreaser to remove any stubborn marks.
- If you’ve left your tools for too long and they’ve accumulated a lot of muck, you’ll need a more heavy-duty treatment. Fill a bucket with a blend of hot water and a bit of commercial cleaner, then immerse your screwdrivers in the bucket for up to one minute. Next, scrub the tools with a wire brush until you’ve removed all the build-up.
Repairing and restoring damaged screwdrivers
Because we use them so often, screwdrivers often fall victim to damage from overuse or misuse. The most common problem arises when you’ve been using a screwdriver for a long time and the tip becomes dull or chipped.
It’s easy to fix this problem. You can bring your screwdriver back to its original prowess by gently sharpening the head with a metal file. Make sure to scrape the head evenly to maintain the original shape of the driver.
Consistency is key
So, to keep your screwdriver sets doing their best work for years to come, make sure your employees know the necessary maintenance steps—and follow them regularly.