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Cheshirechappie

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We've all got several, and for the most part we abuse them something rotten...

I'm refitting my tool-chest at the moment, and as part of the job I'm reviewing the tools I've got, fettling and improving where necessary, and filling a few gaps.

Well - I got to the screwdrivers. Now, I have to confess - I'm a reactionary old stick-in-the-mud. I don't like cross-point screws. Won't use 'em - well, not on 'proper' jobs, anyway. I've got some crosspoint screwdrivers, for jobs like mending the vacuum-cleaner, but they're banished to the car/household toolbox.

So - over the years, I've collected a set of wooden-handled cabinet screwdrivers (well, less a set - more a motley assortment). Rounded ends were their most noticable feature, together with an ability to fit nothing without rattling.

I've been busy with a 6" hand file today, and I now have six screwdrivers that fit numbers 2,4,6,8,10 and 12 slotted screws nicely. Screwdriver steel is hard, but filable if you use slow strokes and reasonable pressure. The big ones take longest (12 took me about 30 mins), the little 'uns are 5-minute jobs. They'll wear, of course, but I now know that I can reshape them without much bother when they do.

One other small matter - one of the most useful tools I own is a plastic-handled screwdriver that never drives any screws. It was bought for 50p from Halfords end-of-line junkbox, and was in there because it end needed reshaping. I've never got round to it - I just use it for opening paint tins, stirring varnish, poking things, scraping crud out of awkward corners and all the other things you usually abuse screwdrivers with. It means my nicely reshaped wooden-handled ones will only be used to turn the screws they fit.
 

Jake

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I don't share the slotted-screw fetish, although Pozidrive are not amazingly pretty, a Torx or an Allen head looks as good as or better than a slot to me.

But anyway, the main reason for the post is the gammy screwdriver idea - I have a few of those for the same purpose. What I haven't mastered is them being the nearest, or even findable, which makes them pointless, sadly.
 

tim burr

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Slotted screws are the work of the devil :evil:


After fitting a few hundred brass ones here in the last week or so, and with a few hundred still left to go I'm sick to the back teeth of 'em :cry:
 

Cheshirechappie

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tim burr":103pygwg said:
Slotted screws are the work of the devil :evil:


After fitting a few hundred brass ones here in the last week or so, and with a few hundred still left to go I'm sick to the back teeth of 'em :cry:
Well - we're all entitled to our opinions, so fair enough. To me, cross-points just look cheap - banged in 'cos it's easy and quick, with no real bother about giving a nice finish. Slotted screws, finished with their slots aligned all the same way, makes the job look like someone bothered - a mark of craftsmanship and care.

OK - if you're being paid a pittance to lob up bog standard three-bed semis in a tearing hurry, and don't give a toss about the poor sods that'll end up having to live in them (because most developers certainly don't), I see why cross-points are handy. For someone looking for good quality work, lined-up slotted screws just say 'this workman bothered'.
 

RogerP

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Lining up slotted screws doesn't always result in the correct torque being given to each.

I'll often use small brass slotted for cabinet work where they show - but all else is pozidriv. :)
 

Vann

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I can't be bothered with pozidrive/phillips. They're almost as much as a PITA as slotted.

Brass slotted for show, square (robertson) for quick and dirty.

Cheers, Vann.
 

DTR

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Vann":2ionvryw said:
Brass slotted for show, square (robertson) for quick and dirty.
Do you happen to know where one can buy a square driver from please? Thanks
 

bugbear

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Cheshirechappie":2w610zh5 said:
Slotted screws, finished with their slots aligned all the same way, makes the job look like someone bothered - a mark of craftsmanship and care.
Oddly, given my "to the max" approach to fettling tools, I find lined up screw slots put me in mind of someone with time on their hands, as opposed to doing the best possible job.

Let's face it - on a large job, lining up the screw slots wouldn't add any significant time to the overall task, so it's not a real indicator of the quality of the job.

BugBear
 

tim burr

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Cheshirechappie'' said:
Well - we're all entitled to our opinions, so fair enough. To me, cross-points just look cheap - banged in 'cos it's easy and quick, with no real bother about giving a nice finish. Slotted screws, finished with their slots aligned all the same way, makes the job look like someone bothered - a mark of craftsmanship and cared'.
I definately agree with your opinion that pozidrives don't look great, I was just bemoaning the fact that I have so many to swap out over the next few days :(

Just for reference I'm currently the joinery supervisor on this project, where the joinery budget is currently nudging £1mill (for one house) so yes, I am one of these workmen who are 'bothered' :D
 

GazPal

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Cheshirechappie":237qsfz6 said:
OK - if you're being paid a pittance to lob up bog standard three-bed semis in a tearing hurry, and don't give a toss about the poor sods that'll end up having to live in them (because most developers certainly don't), I see why cross-points are handy. For someone looking for good quality work, lined-up slotted screws just say 'this workman bothered'.
Good craftsmen don't tend be be paid a pittance, but do tend to be bothered, as well as being more than capable of working to high standards and regardless of the project they're involved with or the hardware they need to install. :wink:
 

Cheshirechappie

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GazPal":1wrupsuj said:
Cheshirechappie":1wrupsuj said:
OK - if you're being paid a pittance to lob up bog standard three-bed semis in a tearing hurry, and don't give a toss about the poor sods that'll end up having to live in them (because most developers certainly don't), I see why cross-points are handy. For someone looking for good quality work, lined-up slotted screws just say 'this workman bothered'.
Good craftsmen don't tend be be paid a pittance, but do tend to be bothered, as well as being more than capable of working to high standards and regardless of the project they're involved with or the hardware they need to install. :wink:
It's unfortunate that some developers don't seem to employ good craftsmen. It cost me thousands to bring my last house up to what I regard as a reasonable (not exceptional - just reasonable) standard, because it was basically thrown together. The original windows lasted ten years - and I had to nurse them to get them to last that long. There wasn't one even square-ish doorframe in the place. My current house (mid '80s vintage) is even worse. The upstairs floors all creak something rotten because the joists are all at different heights, and one of the back garden walls leans at about 10 degrees. The up-and-over garage door is the cheapest they could find, with gaps varying from about 1/16" to over 1", and the frame is 1/2" clear of the brickwork in places, with no caulking whatever. If any craftsmen worked on the construction of this house, they were having several off-weeks during it's construction. It's fortunate that the previous owners double-glazed it - I've seen the original in another house in the road - 'not premium quality' would be a very charitable description.

I agree that there are tradesmen who take pride and do good work. Unfortunately, they didn't work on this house.
 

GazPal

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Cheshirechappie":211nnpdo said:
GazPal":211nnpdo said:
Cheshirechappie":211nnpdo said:
OK - if you're being paid a pittance to lob up bog standard three-bed semis in a tearing hurry, and don't give a toss about the poor sods that'll end up having to live in them (because most developers certainly don't), I see why cross-points are handy. For someone looking for good quality work, lined-up slotted screws just say 'this workman bothered'.
Good craftsmen don't tend be be paid a pittance, but do tend to be bothered, as well as being more than capable of working to high standards and regardless of the project they're involved with or the hardware they need to install. :wink:
It's unfortunate that some developers don't seem to employ good craftsmen. It cost me thousands to bring my last house up to what I regard as a reasonable (not exceptional - just reasonable) standard, because it was basically thrown together. The original windows lasted ten years - and I had to nurse them to get them to last that long. There wasn't one even square-ish doorframe in the place. My current house (mid '80s vintage) is even worse. The upstairs floors all creak something rotten because the joists are all at different heights, and one of the back garden walls leans at about 10 degrees. The up-and-over garage door is the cheapest they could find, with gaps varying from about 1/16" to over 1", and the frame is 1/2" clear of the brickwork in places, with no caulking whatever. If any craftsmen worked on the construction of this house, they were having several off-weeks during it's construction. It's fortunate that the previous owners double-glazed it - I've seen the original in another house in the road - 'not premium quality' would be a very charitable description.

I agree that there are tradesmen who take pride and do good work. Unfortunately, they didn't work on this house.

Therein lies the problem. QS. Many proclaiming themselves to be craftsmen are far from it during this age of self employed freelance "carpenters", with many lacking experience and floating between contracts until they aquire experience, move onto small works and become known as cowboys, or leave the trade altogether (With any luck). The biggest culprit - in terms of quality control - tends to be the developer and site/project management responsible for the work in hand. If workmanship is found lacking, the person responsible should be made to make good their own work or have wages docked and be sacked for not fulfilling his obligation as a craftsman.

Bad craftsmen tend to be among the minority, but poor supervision can be just as damaging.

Definitions

Monkey with it's brain blown out, but with a trowel in it's hand = A Bricklayer :D
Monkey with it's brain blown out, but with a hammer and saw = A Joiner/Carpenter/Cabinetmaker. :D
 

Vann

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DTR":1b100w0i said:
Vann":1b100w0i said:
Brass slotted for show, square (robertson) for quick and dirty.
Do you happen to know where one can buy a square driver from please? Thanks
I bought a (well several actually) sets of various bits for my battery drill from the local "big shed". I sourced bits for my Yankees from Lee Valley in Canada. I only recently bought a square drive screwdriver (plastic handle), again from my local "big shed" - unfortunately the square shank turns around inside the handle, and I must get around to taking it back to exchange (now where's that damn receipt... #-o ).

Cheers, Vann.
 

thomvic

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Cheshirechappie":34tzc6sh said:
- I just use it for opening paint tins, stirring varnish, poking things, scraping crud out of awkward corners and all the other things you usually abuse screwdrivers with. It means my nicely reshaped wooden-handled ones will only be used to turn the screws they fit.
That is serious screwdriver abuse! What do you think chisels are made for? :lol:

Richard
 

DTR

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Vann":bipl8z3c said:
DTR":bipl8z3c said:
Vann":bipl8z3c said:
Brass slotted for show, square (robertson) for quick and dirty.
Do you happen to know where one can buy a square driver from please? Thanks
I bought a (well several actually) sets of various bits for my battery drill from the local "big shed". I sourced bits for my Yankees from Lee Valley in Canada. I only recently bought a square drive screwdriver (plastic handle), again from my local "big shed" - unfortunately the square shank turns around inside the handle, and I must get around to taking it back to exchange (now where's that damn receipt... #-o ).

Cheers, Vann.
I couldn't find any when I searched for them :shock:

Sorry for the annoying questions but what size across flats are the different sizes? Thanks
 

Jacob

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I tend to use small short cross point screws (e.g. 3/4" no 8 ) to get things hung, as they balance nicely on the end of a screwdriver and are easy to move to change trim, then replace them with the proper size slotted (e.g. 1 1/4" no 10) but with perhaps one or two longer ones in the top hinge where most of the pull is, if it's a heavy door.
 

twothumbs

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I have always bellieved that lining up screws was not necessarily an indication of quality or caring. When tightening a screw into something softish, ie wood then it can be achieved but into hard, ie a hinge it makes some tight and others loose. See what pull-in you get on a heavy door hinge. Brass screws in a box would not matter. You do not want ironmongery held with varying screw pressures, except screw sockets which can allow a bit of tolerance. The start of the spiral does not consistently alighn with the heads slot. But I will now go and look at crosshead and see what they do and see if they are also random, perhaps they are only out by 90 deg. and not 180 as per slot heads.
 

AndyT

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I came across this blog post which shows these hand-made screws



and claims:

"The heads are thick on purpose. A temporary slot would be cut in the head, the screw inserted into the desired pre-drilled hole, and then the permanent slot orientation would be determined. The screw would then be removed and the head shaped with the permanent slot. This allowed for lining all the slots up in the desired orientation. Also, screws always had to be returned to the same hole due to variance in the threads and the slot orientation."

- which solves the problem of not being quite the right tightness, but might be a tad more work than most of us would want!
 
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