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Quality tools like screw drivers?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by RobWatson, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Crappy tools are the bane of my existence. When working on lenses and cameras and assorted electronics there are all manner (philips, square, triwing, flat, torx etc) of small screws that seem to call for a set of jewelers screw drivers. Then little screws are often very tight or even locktite/glued in place and the small diameter of a jewelers scredriver and my arthritic fingers just can't manage - and if they get close the danged tool breaks more often than not.

    I've tried many brands and most fail on one or more counts. So the question is what are some brands and types of tools are considered fine quality for tooling around these little screws?

    Let's not even get me started on low quality screws whos heads strip out ...
  2. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

  3. c5karl

    c5karl Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2011
    Fairfax, Va., USA
    While they don't necessarily specialize in small tools, I've had good luck with Craftsman tools over the years. On the rare occasion that I have damaged one, it was because I abused it (e.g., using a screwdriver as a chisel).

    They take the lifetime warranty seriously. If something's wrong with the tool, you don't call a 1-800 number, you don't fill out a form, you don't dig out a receipt, you simply take the tool to the nearest Sears store, hand it to a sales clerk, and they give you a new one on the spot (unless something has changed in the 10 years since I last did this).

    Based on a quick look at sears.com, they appear to have a pretty good selection of "precision" standard, phillips, torx and allen screwdrivers.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    1) Most small screws in photography are not secured with Loctite, but with clear or black nail-type enamel. A flask of acetone with a small brush glued in the lid is a must: a drop of dissolver, one minute wait, a tap on the screwdriver tight to the screw and--voilà. Unfortunately, I've seen recently red-Loctite-like residues from Chinese manufacturers like Benro tripod stuff. Short of welding, nothing worse...
    2) I reckon you're in the US, which I remember with the best hardware stores in the world. Times may have changed... Anyhow, the best small screwdrivers I acquired were from Horseman photo company. I presume they don't make them, so I'd look for Japanese on-line specialty hardware stores. ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    +1 for the Wiha line. Re Craftsman, I have hundreds of their automotive type tools and they are good, but for things outside the automotive range (tiny screwdrivers, electronic pliers, etc.) that is generally not the place I turn. It's just not their strength or their market.

    For best control, buy the individual screwdrivers rather than the kits with a single driver handle and interchangeable bits. The kit handle is usually too big and may not have a swiveling big end, which also helps with control.

    Re thread sealers, the tip about using a solvent is good if you think you might be dealing with lacquer. (No harm trying, regardless.) If you're dealing with Loctite, a little heat can help. Just hold the tip of a hot soldering iron against the head of the screw for a while. Don't do this if you think there is any nearby thermoplastic that might get heated, though. Keep solvents away from plastics too, of course.

    For reassembly, blue Loctite is handy. Stay away from the (higher strength) red and green, however, and use the blue in tiny amounts.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Purchased a jewelers set from Lee Valley years ago. Happy with the quality. Used many times for different needs requiring the small bit sizes. Have been happy with the products purchased from this company over the years. Garden tools, wood working tools and the little handy tools like the screwdriver set. Some have been "no brand" labeled items, but of good quality and value.
    • Like Like x 1
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