However, in my wanderings through the netherworlds of screwing and unscrewing, I stumbled upon this English-made driver on my own. After getting my hands on it, I can say it’s like the makers were reading my mind. It’s called the Elemen’tary No. 1 Screwdriver, and here is why it makes most screwdrivers look as intoxicating as a Shirley Temple.
1. It has a wooden handle that is turned in the shape of a vintage turnscrew. So it won’t roll off your bench thanks to the flats. And it fits my hand like a baseball glove.
2. The finish on the beech handle is oil. It’s tactile, like the finish on the Grace drivers. Not slippery like a plastic screwdriver.
3. The screwdriver chuck has an O-ring that grips your standard bits, even snapping them in place. Many of these bits have a small groove that receive the O-ring. That’s nice. However….
4. The Elemen’tary driver also has a screw chuck that locks the bits in better than any other magnet or O-ring. This small knurled knob allows you to secure your bit so it won’t pull out of the tool. If you own any four-way screwdriver, you know how this is one of their major downsides.
The Elemen’tary driver includes six bits, though it will use almost any standard bit. This driver is going on the road with me this year and will replace five screwdrivers I carry to adjust tools and drive slot-head and Phillips screws.
While the bits that come with this driver are good, I upgraded mine by substituting ground gunsmith bits from Brownell’s. More on that in a future post.
I have only one quibble with this tool. (Don’t I always have quibbles?) Like all drivers, I think this one doesn’t need to be so long. This driver could easily lose 1” or 1-1/2” and be ideal. With woodworking, we almost never say: This screwdriver is too short. Usually the lament is: This driver is too long to get inside the cabinet.
Yes, I know that there is a stubby version of this tool.
You can purchase this tool from several sources. I bought mine from Hand-Eye Supply for $35.
— Christopher Schwarz