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Thread: Shop Made Small Screw Holding Screwdriver

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    Shop Made Small Screw Holding Screwdriver

    Shop Made Small Screw Holding Screwdriver

    Attachment 60329

    How to make a “screw holding” screwdriver for small screws---Like for brass hinges.

    One of the three jobs I had when I was in Junior High School was repairing typewriters in a Typewriter Sales and Repair shop.

    Off Topic for a moment: 1) repair typewriters, adding machines, calculators, 2) work at a Firestone store (in those days it was much like Western Auto) mainly I sold phonograph records, radios and phonographs, 3) running my own yard care business (I got the jobs for kids and they paid me a percent).

    Back on topic. Typewriters have a bazillion small screws that are back in the center of the machinery where fingers will not go. To put the screw in the screw hole was a major problem. I got some broken dental tools from a friendly dentist. I made tools that would hold the screw, completely defying gravity.

    Here is how I did it. I ground off the end of the dental tool. I ended up with a fairly thin handle with a squared off end. In the pic the two tools on the left are just typical dental tools. The tool on the right is one that had the end ground off.

    Attachment 60330

    I cut a slot in the end of the tool using my Sears tool (It was similar to a Dremel of today. It was much more comfortable and easier to change bits than the Dremel. So---of course, it is no longer made). With a proper blade I would think you could cut the slot with a Jeweler's saw, coping saw, or scroll saw.

    I broke off two small pieces of spring---In this case the main spring of a wind up watch. They were inserted into the slot in the end of the handle. They were orientated so that the exposed ends curved away from each other---like a fancy letter “V” or, if you prefer, the top half of a pair of parenthesis back to back )( . The ends need to curve outward because that is the tension that holds the screw onto the tool. You can just see the two “leaves” of the holder in picture number two.

    Pic three is poor. However, it shows the flat side of the spring. You do not have to be precise in placing the springs. You notice that my original, shown in pic 3 is a bit crooked. It does not matter. All it has to do is hold the screw so you can put it in the hole and turn it enough to stay in the hole. Then you use a regular, small screwdriver to finish the job. Be sure your final screwdriver fits the screw slot well or you will pay for it with a scratched or rounded screwhead.

    The tool on the right is your free bonus for subscribing to this thread. It is my 1/16th inch wide chisel. This was also made from a dental tool by grinding.

    If you can still talk after the dentist is through torturing you and feels sorry for you; ask him/her for a few of his broken tools. The more you get, the better. You will find all kinds of uses for these broken tools. Dentists sell the handles for scrap metal at a pittance price. If you are on good terms with him/her you will probably get them for free.

    Logic 101: Double the thickness of the spring you choose will be the thinnest screw slot the tool will work with. How wide, left to right, you leave the spring after grinding to width, will determine the size of the screw heads the tool will work with.

    Put the springs in the tool end and solder. Clean thoroughly first. Use solder with flux. It is amazing how poor a solder job will work fine. The tool in the pic was made by me in 1944. It has never been re-soldered. I use it a lot..

    Attachment 60331

    Now for a bit of repetition. This is a poor picture. However it shows the flat side of the “leaf” that holds the screw. You can also see the bevel on the chisel tool.
    Just place one leaf into the edge of the screw slot. Arc the handle upwards until the springs are compressed together. Slip the other leaf into the slot. The spring tension will hold the screw onto the handle. Start the screw. Pull the tool out and go to a regular small screwdriver to tighten.
    Any questions? Use the PM. Don’t be bashful.



    I finished this. Went to preview. Placed pics in proper place. Was changing the text and it vanished. This is the second copy. If you end up with two of these---that’s why. The first copy was the best I think---I had more patience then.
    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 09-29-2011 at 04:32 AM. Reason: Clarification
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Orem, Utah
    Very cool. I think shop-made tools are the greatest!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C Bradley View Post
    I finished this. Went to preview. Placed pics in proper place. Was changing the text and it vanished.
    Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C is your friend. Just before hitting the Preview button, use those two keystrokes as cheap insurance against a session timeout or other problem.

    Ctrl-A will "Select All" and Ctrl-C will "Copy" the selection to the clipboard. If everything disappears, you can always "Paste" the text back in with Ctrl-V.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Pretty neat Jim Making specialized tools out of other stuff sure is fun
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    Small Screw Holder 2

    If you only need to get the screw into the hold and give it a twist prior to using a regular screwdriver, the handle can be simpler.

    Example: Cut a notch (kerf) in the end of a small dowel. Then glue the two pieces of spring into the notch. Just keep the principle in mind and use your imagination.


    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

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