I had the chance to briefly handle Lee Valley’s parallel-tip screwdrivers at a recent woodworking show. These screwdrivers are designed for driving slotted wood screws #4 to #10 in size.
Five years ago I didn’t know anything about parallel-tip screwdrivers. When I bought a couple of PB Swiss screwdrivers, including the long-ago-reviewed Insider, I was sold on the idea.
Parallel-tip screwdrivers are shaped differently than regular slotted screwdrivers, which are often straight, flat, or wedge-shaped. Ordinary screwdrivers typically fit slotted fasteners alright, but not perfectly.
When dealing with softer fasteners, such as brass wood screws, parallel-tip screwdrivers engage a bit better and with less chance of damage. Regular screwdrivers with tapered tips usually engage at the top of the screw slot, where the tips are thicker, which can deform or damage the slot. Since parallel-tip screwdrivers instead have straight sides, the turning force is better distributed across the entire screw head’s slot.
Back to these particular drivers. They felt handle-heavy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing given their intended usage. You can see from the image that the drivers do have more metal in the handle, contributing to the perceived weight.
These screwdrivers should be great for wood screws, but the weight, balance, and shape of their handles potentially make the drivers less suitable for general construction and repair work. I would consider these fine woodworking tools.
Buy Now(via Lee Valley)
The 5-piece set comes with 4 screwdrivers and a carbide burnisher for $39.59. The one-piece shafts are made from stainless steel.
Similar to cabinet-tip screwdrivers, these drivers have straight shafts that allow them to fit inside counterbored holes.