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Glossary Index




The screwdriver (or turnscrew) is probably one of the most abused of all tools. The right screwdriver should always be used for each job, but there are so many variations of application that users often tend to make do with what is available.

The range of tip sizes and shapes, blade shapes, sizes and widths and handle shapes and compositions provide endless variations and a multitude of screwdrivers should not be seen as the weakness of the compulsive tool buyer but the strength of a good tool kit.

The length of a screwdriver describes the length of the blade and not the length overall. Thus 6in screwdriver will have a 6in long blade.

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This has a thin blade with parallel tip, usually with a plastic handle.

Engineers' Screwdrivers

This is usually a stout blade and a fluted handle for use with oily hands.

Handle Shapes

The ergonomic handle illustrates the application of techniques from other industries to these comparatively traditional tools.

Those of less traditional design have been introduced in recent years to provide a more comfortable and positive grip and while differences
of blade selection remain, differences in handle selection are no longer so obvious for one category or another.

Heavy-Duty Screwdrivers

For very robust work these are usually taken as a square bladed pattern, enabling a wrench to be applied for increased leverage.

Pump Screwdrivers

These, often described as spiral ratchet screwdrivers, turn screws through downward pressure applied to the handle. A spring return assists in providing a form of pump action. They have chucks enabling the user to fit any from a wide range of interchangeable spare bits, covering slotted and recessed tips and other accessories such as drill points and countersinks.

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These allow the user to drive or to remove a screw without changing grip.

Screwdriver Tip Profiles

Tip profiles are shown below to help identify and select the type of screwdriver required.

Screwdrivers Tips For Recessed Head Screws

These were originally produced in four sizes (point size 1 the smallest, point size 4 the largest), but three smaller sizes (0, 00 and 000) are now available for electronic and instrument work. A number of tips are available:


The original now diminishing in use.


Introduced to provide a more positive fit.


Introduced as an improvement to Pozidriv.


Is a registered trademark of Textron.

A totally different shape also designed for snug fit.

(Phillips screwdrivers should not be used on Pozidriv or Supadriv screws but Pozidriv and Supadriv screwdrivers are interchangeable. Supadriv/Pozidriv is a registered trademark of European Industrial Services Limited.)

V.D.E. Screwdrivers

For use where electric current may be latent. Insulated to AC1000V. Ensure that the V.D.E. mark is on the screwdriver. Always ensure that the electricity supply is turned off first.

Woodworkers' Screwdrivers

These are traditionally taken to have a pear-shaped handle in wood or plastic (known as cabinet pattern). Woodworkers often like to have a flared tip, although parallel section is needed when a screw is inserted below the surface.

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Yankee is a trading name of Stanley Tools for their range of spiral ratchet screwdrivers. No other make of spiral ratchet screwdriver should be described as Yankee.