The screwdriver is arguably one of the most useful and versatile tools on the planet. It can be ground down, bent, filed, or shaped into any number of other practical tools, which makes it no surprise that it is often found substituted for any number of other tools when needed in a pinch. Clever (or impatient) handymen and handywomen often put their flat head screw driver to work as a chisel, nail puller, hammer, axe, paint scraper, or even a pry bar.
While most people will agree that there are many uses for a screwdriver, not everyone is familiar with all the different types of heads and drives available. The type of head a screw has will affect how it is used, for example, some are designed to sit in a countersink, while others are more suited for woodworking applications. The drive style of a screwdriver is also important and should be matched to the type of fastener.
When a screwdriver isn’t in use, it should be kept in a dry area, away from moisture and dirt. If a screwdriver remains wet, grimy, or dirty it will start to corrode, which can weaken the shaft and tip of the tool, making it more likely to break under pressure when being used.
There are several basic types of head styles and drives that you should be familiar with:
Slotted head – These screws have a narrow flat bearing surface on top, and are commonly used in light duty applications such as fastening wooden materials together.
Phillips head – These screws have a cross-shaped groove in the head. They are more commonly used in electrical application, although you may find them on other fasteners as well.
Pozi drive – This is a newer type of driver that has parallel flutes on the tip. It is designed to improve locking functionality and reduce cam out when under load.
Wood screw head – This is similar to a flat head except that it has a taper under the head, which can be used to help seal holes when sunk into wood or other materials.
Oval undercut head – This style is used for shorter screw lengths and allows shallower countersinking than the standard 82 degree flat head.
Regardless of the head or drive style, it is always best to have the proper tool for the job. A screwdriver that is too small will be difficult to control and may cause the head to strip when being driven into hard materials. Using the correct screwdriver for the job will help you avoid damage to your fasteners, and it will make the installation or removal process much quicker and easier. A simple glance at a screw selection chart should be all you need to know what size tool you need for each head or drive type.