A couple of brands make “demolition screwdrivers,” which are super-robust screwdrivers designed for heavy use and abuse.
You will often find demo screwdrivers sold in pairs, with one being a Phillips #2 screwdriver, and the other slotted, in 1/4″ or 5/16″ sizing.
In response to our post about Klein’s demo drivers, Jason mentioned:
I don’t really get the use of a demo Phillips. My Phillips need all the help they can get to keep their shape. I found some random brand demo Phillips and ground it down flat to use as a beater.
Jason doesn’t get the purpose of a Phillips-tipped demo driver? Me neither.
For what it’s worth, I do like my Stanley FaxMax demo drivers, and use the Phillips quite often.
I suppose that a Phillips demo driver can be used for knocking out punches in outlet boxes and light fixtures. And… things like that?
I have never used the striking cap, but I do know that some users will hammer on their Phillips drivers to help shock-loosen really stubborn and stuck fasteners. That’s also part of what makes hand-operated impact drivers so useful.
Or… what if needed to seat a Phillips screwdriver inside a painted-over fastener with a thick coating? A few taps should help the driver cut through softer paint, for better fastener engagement.
If you have used a Phillips demo driver, or hammered on any other Phillips screwdriver, how, when, where, or why?
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In addition to demo drivers, you will often see striking caps on heavy duty screwdrivers, which also often have hex bolsters for turning with a wrench for extra torque. Wiha is the first to come to mind, but there are several brands offering this style of screwdriver.
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I use one to back out rusted tough to turn screws. Apply pressure as you normally would with phillips, and bang on it with a hammer. Sort of like impact driver n reverse. Also, perfect size hole for Zip It wall anchors
This is exactly how I would see myself using this. Be it corroded fasteners on old electrical boxes or on a rusted phillips screw on set of calipers or disk brakes that a car manufacture used despite their better judgement.
You’re describing a manual impact driver. The force of the blow on the back causes the bit to be driven into the fastener AND torqued counter-clockwise for removal. They’re very cheap and very effective. Not too much larger than a regular heavy-duty screwdriver. And they use replaceable insert bits to accommodate wear.
You are on the right track Stuart. A common use of screwdrivers where rust and paint might be in the heads on the screws, or even when the phillips is damaged altogether, is to hammer the point into the phillips. When you do this over long periods of time it can damage the tip of the screwdriver, bend the shaft, or break the back of the screwdriver. All that demo means is a full tang design for beating and a more durable tip and shaft.
I strongly agree with Jim. I don’t see these as having a nessecary use in demo project but more for the stubborn fasteners and other heavy duty use situations. I think demo just had an appealing ring to the marketing department.
What he said.
In reality I can call any tool “demo”
Demo magnifying glass? Tweezers? Non marring pipe wrench? Hehe, you did say any tool!
You should see my demo paint brushes and rollers. 🙂
Yup. Hammer on the end while twisting. I even have one that connects to an air hammer. You’d be surprised how well it works when nothing else short of drilling off the head would.
i use it to set drop in anchors if i cant find my set tool.
I think I posted about this variant before – if you want a more expensive solution to hammering on a demo screwdriver:
Sounds like a couple of you should consider adding a manual impact driver to your tool collection.
This tool will work far better at the process you are describing.
Lisle also makes an attachment for an air chisel:
I’ve seen and used those “hand impact tools” with a hammer almost exclusively for removing brake rotor screws on Hondas. They should come included with the car.
I have a couple of them but can’t say that I have abused any of them so far.
Starting self drilling/tapping screws is the only legitimate use I can think of. I see HVAC guys doing that a lot when they can’t get a powered driver in place due to obstructions. I’ve never seen anyone using an actual demolition screwdriver when doing so, however.
I use an attachment at the end of my rivet gun (hammering action) to remove stubborn screws of aircrafts all the time
Here it is
Good to mention these.
Other who are not familiar with tools for aircraft maintenance might want to peruse the catalog from YardStore .com – but there are lots of other sources .
Aircraft threaded-shank drill bits and drivers are particularly hand for drilling in confined spaces
Wiha’s Extra Heavy Duty line of screwdrivers is the same, a striking cap with solid tang through the handle. I just bought them so I haven’t had a chance to beat on them yet, but there are good suggestions above… particularly the #3 Phillips used on brake rotors.
One thing no one has mentioned yet is tool balance. I happen to LOVE the way these Wiha XHD drivers feel on my hand. The extra weight on the handle end gives them an amazing balance and a feel of solidity I’ve never felt in a screwdriver before.
They might be a little heavy to put a bunch in a tool pouch and go ladder climbing, but for general use they feel incredible compared to regular handled drivers.
Stuart, I would highly recommend you try Mayhews capped screwdriver set. They are my go to set even above my snap on instinct set
I have a set of Milwaukee’s and I use mine to make quick 6mm holes in drywall for wall anchors.
I think the “screwdriver” part of a demo driver is actually secondary, sometimes you need a shaft or wedge or pry to do an odd job and having it with a screwdriver when you’re pulling out old screws is a help.
My install bag I keep the Milwaukees, and a protool dual drive with a snap-on anti cam #2, the balde driver helps pull out old fixings and screws, the dual drive is for putting in fresh ones.
The above responses pretty much sum it up, but I will just chime in and say I sure do like having the Philips demo drivers since they are perfect for nearly-stripped philips head screws in tight locations where a manual impact won’t reach and standard length extractors won’t work, and cutting a slot into the fastener isn’t an option.
The people who “don’t get” philips head demo drivers are likely those who use their flat tip demo driver as a chisel or pry bar and so can’t see how a philips tip driver can be used like that. The philips tip also works great when you need to punch a round hole in something, too.
I never use mine the way it was intended. So I ground it down into and awl.
A locksmith might , to shock oxidised screws loose , a #3 version could come in habdy . I use the flat iteration for a variety of dirty jobs , ie: knocking out knockouts , and light prying .
I have the Milwaukee demo drivers and recently used them to get painted over twisted and stripped out masonry screws out of a threshold that I couldn’t get out with a drill. I used the slotted for leverage but used the Phillips to gouge chunks out around the rim enough for my Knipex pliers wrench to grab hold and turn. I banged on the steel caps mercilessly with a 20 oz hammer and not only did the tips hold up but you can’t even see a scratch on the caps. Truly heavy duty
i have a set of wera screwdriver and i love them to death.. they are my goto not only for hard to remove screws etc but everyday http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001NQQCC/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687662&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B003ES5KT6&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1QH4ZHM056MWJZXKJ36Y
I had the same thought when I bought a bunch of Kobalt screwdrivers on clearance that had the hammer handles. While I see uses that some mentioned, wouldn’t you perhaps possibly damage the phillips head making it completely usesless then.
Funny timing on this post. Electrician here, lost my screwdriver last week after seeing this post. The cheapest suitable replacement was a Milwauke demolition set at home depot for ten bucks. I’ve been using the demo philips driver to punch holes in drywall and to remove old wiring during a remodel this week. It’s surprisingly useful. The flathead is fine, but the philips is a better shape for forcing old round wiring through 1/2″ holes in planks. This is a house built in 1901, before flat romex was around.
Seriously? You use them to beat on #2 Phillips screws before you take them out with an impact. Makes an indent for bits to grab. Think about the ones on thresholds and pivots or anything screwed into aluminum. I wish they made them in #3
Lineman use em all the time. Wehammer scree drivers as anchors in wood poles, hammer washers to spin them square….basically the only thing we use the screw driver for is to hammer on.
I got a use right here. I used a demo head to beat a dimple into the side of a water heater so that I could get a good surface to drill into it. By beating an indent into the rounded surface I was able to insert a uni-bit drill in to make a hole for a sawzall blade. I proceeded to cut the tank in two with a 9” demolition blade by rolling the tank on its side. Using these screwdrivers tips give you an exact location for drilling your holes, without your drill running around the surface. You could put your Rotary hammer drill on hammer mode; if it has the option, in order to make a dimple in a concrete surface .