I’ve been talking about tools here on ToolGuyd for nearly 8 years now, and do you know what one of the best feelings is? When I discover a new tool that I just HAVE to talk about. Tools that I feel an almost inexplicable urge to tell others about.
I become even more impassioned when there’s a name and face behind a new product – an individual seeking to fill a need.
I didn’t discover this Volcanic Tool Co. screwdriver, it found me. Or rather, Jeremy Robertson, the knifemaker behind Calavera Cutlery, reached out and told me about his new tool brand and USA-made screwdriver.
I expressed interest, and Jeremy sent over a pair of these screwdrivers. This all happened right before my daughter was born, and so it took me some time to get around to testing them.
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When we first spoke, I mentioned that the price could be a potential criticism, but I feel the price is appropriate for what you get, and definitely affordable. After seeing, feeling, and using the screwdriver in person, I think it’s a steal for what you get.
Okay, so this is the Volcanic Tool Co. 1/4″ hex screwdriver bit holder, which you too can own for just $24.
The handle is made from aluminum, which won’t break down over time like plastic or wood might. It’s also impervious to many solvents and oils. It’ll take a beating and keep on turning.
The shaft is made from 17-4 stainless tool steel. This is what a datasheet I found (PDF) says about it:
AK Steel 17-4 PH® is a martensitic precipitation-hardening stainless steel that provides an outstanding combination of high strength, good corrosion resistance, good mechanical properties at temperatures up to 600°F (316°C), good toughness in both base metal and welds, and shorttime, low-temperature heat treatments that minimize warpage and scaling. This versatile material is widely used in the aerospace, chemical, petrochemical, food processing, paper and general metalworking industries.
In other words, this is an all-metal screwdriver made from some pretty tough materials. I wouldn’t be surprised if the handle were made from aircraft grade aluminum.
Sorry, “aircraft grade aluminum” has been generalized into relative meaninglessness. How about this: I’m willing to bet this isn’t the cheap general purpose stuff you can find at the hardware store. Whatever alloy was used, it was beautifully machined and anodized.
But there ARE aluminum alloys that are more commonly found in aircraft frames and components, and other high performance applications, such as 6061-T6 and 7075.
The screwdriver is made in the USA from USA-sourced materials. The exception is the 2 Wiha screwdriver bits that it’s packaged with, but who’s going to argue against the decision to go with Wiha? With this being a 1/4″ hex bit holder, you can use any bits of your choosing with it.
Yes, the hex socket has a magnet for bit retention.
So what do I think about the screwdriver? It’s freakin’ amazing! I was hesitant about it, for several reasons.
Would an all-metal screwdriver be too heavy? Would it slip in my hand? Would it be comfortable to use? Would it be well-machined?
A while back I received a USA-made precision screwdriver from another small tool maker, and I didn’t like it. It looked great in pictures, but in my hand the tool felt unfinished and had residual metal shavings. The same with their machined swappable-head hammer. I put them in a box, with the intent to clean them up for testing, but never got around to it.
I have also ordered and returned several Starrett tools over the past few years, because they simply don’t care to clean tools up before selling them either.
I’ve got nothing against dirty tools, but with lots of the types of things I work on, loose metal shavings could pose a HUGE problem.
That all said, I’m extremely pleased at the build quality, which I would describe as being phenomenal.
Every surface is smooth to the touch.
Is it a heavy screwdriver? Yes. But manageable.
It’s got a great grip, and it hasn’t slipped in my hand yet. I haven’t yet dunked it in oil though.
There are lots of finer points that I appreciate, such as the bevelled tip and eased edges. The anodizing is also perfect. There was some white schmutz on the handle, but it cleaned off.
Do NOT use this screwdriver anywhere near high voltage sources, circuit breaker panels, or anywhere else an electric voltage might be present.
Shipping is $8 via USPS Priority, making the price $32 to your door for one. Adding 2 to my cart results in the same $8 shipping fee. You can probably buy a couple without having to pay more than $8 for shipping.
Buy Now(via Volcanic Tool Co.)
It wasn’t my intent to review this screwdriver in this manner. But with my camera out of commission and so much on my plate, I wanted to make sure I didn’t let this screwdriver slip my attention. I quickly posted about it to our ToolGuyd Instagram account, and that lit a fire under me to tell you more about this screwdriver, pronto.
This is a freakin’ amazing screwdriver, and while it’s not inexpensive, it’s not very pricey either. $24 for a USA-made 1/4″ hex screwdriver isn’t too bad.
I’m very interested to see how this one screwdriver evolves. Maybe a future model will have a hex bolster. Stainless handle? Grooved handle? Different anodizing colors? But please, no fine knurls that glitter up my hand with shavings.
Here’s an idea… maybe we can talk about an official ToolGuyd screwdriver? Who’d be up for something like that?
Thank you to Volcanic Tool Co for providing the review samples unconditionally!