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OT(?): Old Wood-Handle Screwdrivers - Worth Saving?

Wot on earth do you do with a belaying pin when you have not a boat to use them on?

There used to be some around from grandpa, along with fids and palm thimbles & sewing gear & a copper diving helmet from his time as a diver on the Panama canal. His were actually used.
He worked on some coastal boats in New England as a teenager, became a cowboy out west, and then was shanghaid by a british crew out of San Francisco in 1903, onto a square rigger (Barquentine Orion, Dundee Scotland). Spent much of the rest of his life at sea, often on the last large wooden ships between stints in the navy & steel merchant ships.

smt
 

Spyderedge

Titanium
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Location
NY
I prefer wood handles screwdrivers and files instead of plastic, china mold lines-still-visible handles.
If the blades are in good shape, or is salvageable they are worth cleaning up.
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
Dredging up an old thread, because I recently purchased a set of the
perfect handle screwdrivers. The wood on the handles is pretty well shot
so I'm figuring to re-do them.

So the question is, what kind of wood to use?

Any idea of the orignal setup, or for that matter, any suggestions
for your favorite wood for this?

Tnx -Jim
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Location
mt. hamilton, ca, us
Dredging up an old thread, because I recently purchased a set of the
perfect handle screwdrivers. The wood on the handles is pretty well shot
so I'm figuring to re-do them.

So the question is, what kind of wood to use?

Any idea of the orignal setup, or for that matter, any suggestions
for your favorite wood for this?

Tnx -Jim

Jim,

I have a number of those perfect handle screw drivers myself (thanks to our local flea market, and the 'bottom feeders' who advertise to clean out garages and basements, and sell their mixture of 'trash and treasures' there)

The wood on the original old ones appears to be 'northern hard maple' or so-called 'rock maple'. I'd tend to suspsect that there were tons of hard maple cutoffs left from car body builders and furniture plants, back in the 1890's to 1930's era, which were bought as a salvage material, 'by the ton', for re-cutting into screw driver handle scales.

(if you know of anyone who does 'unofficial salvage' of lignum-vitae stern tube blocks, from a shipyard, that might be a good source for some really durable handle wood..... : )

cheers

Carla
 

MarkW

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 3, 2008
Location
W. Central Illinois
Dredging up an old thread, because I recently purchased a set of the
perfect handle screwdrivers. The wood on the handles is pretty well shot
so I'm figuring to re-do them.

So the question is, what kind of wood to use?

Any idea of the orignal setup, or for that matter, any suggestions
for your favorite wood for this?

Tnx -Jim

Hornbeam would be a good choice:

Tree of the Week - Hornbeam - The Woodworkers Institute

(If you want some, I'd be happy to send you a box of fresh cut stuff for the price of the postage)
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2004
Location
Metuchen, NJ, USA
Restoring & Upgrading Perfect Handle tools has been a topic on the OLDTOOLS mailing list many times. They were having troubles with the archive recently; I don't know if the archive is currently searchable. Some of the members have done beautiful work, including polishing and gun-bluing the metal !

Mulberry wood makes attractive handles for a Perfect Handle tool. There are many Mulberry trees in my area because the seeds are spread by birds. (I'm told that many decades ago, there was an attempt to develop a domestic silk industry which resulted in Mulberry trees being planted to provide leaves for the silkworms to eat. Don't know if this is true.)

The wooden scales don't get much stress in the Perfect Handle design. This gives you the freedom to use practically any wood that you find attractive.

Keep your eyes open - pallets and crates often have fairly "interesting" wood in sizes large enough to yield Perfectr Handle scales.

In addition to PH screwdrivers. I've also got Coe's pattern "Monkey Wrenches" with Perfect Handles and even a P.H. tire iron, the old style that was used when auto tires were narrow and had inner tubes.

What are you going to use as handle rivets ?

John Ruth
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
I was actually going to try to re-use the original pins that fixed the wood to the steel body.

In this case they seem to be pins with helical straight knurling, and they tie the wood parts
to each other and go right through the steel body, through elongaged holes.

The local hobby store has various kinds of hardwood in small quantities, I was going to
do a recon there one day.

I've been gently cleaning rust off the blandes and handles. Have not done any electrolytic
de-rusting yet as most cleans up with a bit of scotchbright and wire brushing. Patina is
more or less intact.
 

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
I just recently purchased FELO - GERMANY and GRACE - USA Screwdrivers.

With wooden handles.

If I'm working on my car I use cheap Harbor Freight plastic drivers.

The FELO and GRACE are reserved for indoor use on fine tools and instruments.
 

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
I was actually going to try to re-use the original pins that fixed the wood to the steel body.

In this case they seem to be pins with helical straight knurling, and they tie the wood parts
to each other and go right through the steel body, through elongaged holes.

The local hobby store has various kinds of hardwood in small quantities, I was going to
do a recon there one day.

I've been gently cleaning rust off the blandes and handles. Have not done any electrolytic
de-rusting yet as most cleans up with a bit of scotchbright and wire brushing. Patina is
more or less intact.

You may - or may not - have luck with CHICAGO SCREWS.

That's what I'd use.
 

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
I'd bet beat-up PERFECT HANDLE drivers would sell on eBay precisely to people that would enjoy restoring them.

I just don't have the time, but if I did I could make a killer set.
 

true temper

Stainless
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Location
Kansas
Here is some of my collection
c644d4d845aa3dfc1ff2dda713b71b58.jpg



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

true temper

Stainless
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Location
Kansas
Most of them have never been used, tips mint condition. They have a bit of wear on the handles from rolling in the tool box.
 

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
Professional Gunsmiths - the ones that work an vintage iron worth $$$$, even have special jigs to hold their screwdrivers.

First they apply a proper amount of penetrating oil.

Then they use Micrometers, Calipers, Gage Pins to assure the screwdriver bit fits perfectly - even if they have to fashion one that does

Finally the firearm and the driver fit into a frame that assures perfect centering, and prohibits cam-out.

But of course this is overkill for 9999999% of screwdriver applications.

When the work matters, I just buy GRACE.

grace_woodworkers_screwdriver_set.jpg
 








 
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