Basics of Screwdriver: An Essential Guide for DIY Enthusiast

Screwdrivers are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials; and are all designed for one use: driving and withdrawing threaded fasteners such as wood screws, machine screws, and self-tapping screws.

Figure A
Figure B

Among them two types of screwdrivers that are most used are the standard (Figure A) and Phillips (Figure B). Both types are made in various sizes and in several styles: straight, shank, and offset. It is important to use the right width blade when installing or removing screws. The shape of the tip is also important. If the tip is badly worn or incorrectly ground, it will tend to jump out of the slot.

There are also special screwdrivers designed for hard-to-get screws, for example right-angle screwdrivers.

Common Slotted Head Screws

Related: Most Used Philips Screwdriver

Basic Safety Rules that Apply to the Use of Screwdriver

  • Always match the size of the screwdriver to the job. Make sure that the tip fits the slot of the screw and always match the type of screwdriver to the head of the screw.
  • Never use a screwdriver as a cold chisel or punch.
  • Never use a screwdriver (or any other tool, for that matter) near live (hot) electrical wires. Always disconnect power before working near or on electrical components.
  • Never expose a screwdriver to excessive heat.
  • Do not use a screwdriver that has a worn or broken handle.
  • Never use a screwdriver as a pry bar.

Driving the Screw

A pilot hole may be required before driving a screw. This is especially important when driving a screw into dense material or when the screw is near the edge of a surface. Pilot holes can be made in soft materials with an awl if the screws to be used are small.

However, if you are driving No. 6 and larger screws it is best to drill a pilot hole or use a threaded screw hole starter. Pilot holes should always be If the screw is a flathead, the pilot hole should also be countersunk so the head of the screw will be flush with the work when it is driven home. The proper size pilot hole depends on the type of screw and the material(s) being fastened.

Related: Best ECX Screwdriver: Most Durable And Best Fitting

The Right Way to Drive a Screw

1. Insert the tip of the screw in the pilot hole. Insert the screwdriver tip in the slot of the screw. Hold the tip steady with one hand and make sure the shank of the screwdriver is perpendicular to the head of the screw and in line with the shank of the screw.

2. Use the left hand (if you are right handed) to keep the blade steady as you turn the handle of the screwdriver.

3. After the screw is almost in, it is safe to use both hands as shown for extra turning power to seat the screw. Note the position of the left hand (if you are right-handed). Using both hands will allow additional downward pressure to be applied; thus making certain that the driver tip is firmly seated in the screw slot. If the screw is a flathead, make sure that the pilot hole has a countersunk recess at top and screwdriver tip is narrow enough to avoid touching the material.

Actual Size Of Screws and Their Corresponding Number

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