Holding a slotted screw on end of a screwdiver

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by ChrisCam, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 9, 2017
    1,358
    25
    48
    Male
    England
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi, there are screwdrivers that will grip some screws . These to the best of my knowledge work by either a split blade which can exert tension on the slot to grip a slotted screw or a clamp over the screw head.

    How good are these and is the reach of these gripping screw drivers usually enough for those screws such as those holding the movements bracket to the case? I would think a blade excluding the handle of about 6 inches would be needed.

    The old way of doing this is magnetizing the screwdriver, masking tape or putty.
    Have any forum members got any tips or recommendations as to what works in particular for the small screws holding the clocks movement to its case?

    Chris
     
  2. John P

    John P Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 17, 2010
    875
    35
    28
    Male
    Looking after the cats
    North Carolina
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Chris, you have mentioned the only two ways to hold a screw that I know of. I keep a good old fashion electric magnetizer on the shelf and I have 3 sizes of the
    split blade type made by Vaco USA. Sometimes I use tweezers.
    Good glasses and a steady hand helps. You have to go straight for the hole.
     
  3. wow

    wow Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    3,745
    206
    63
    Male
    Retired Music Minister
    Pineville, La. (central La.)
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
  4. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 9, 2017
    1,358
    25
    48
    Male
    England
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks John do you think the cost of your Vaco is worth the cost in terms of how often they come in handy and are they generally long enough?
    Chris
     
  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,807
    1,347
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Chris,

    There are accessories called screw claws which fit onto your existing screwdrivers and are cheaper than buying a dedicated tool.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  6. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 9, 2017
    1,358
    25
    48
    Male
    England
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    yes thanks graham, they are on my radar... but I think I may go for a set of Vaco and also a set of long reach screw drivers as I doubt you never can have enough tools.
    Regards
    chris
     
  7. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 4, 2008
    4,267
    448
    83
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I have had good luck by just putting a bit of natural bees wax into the slot of the screw. Works particularly well for small screws. For screws that mount the movement to the case I just use tweezers to put them into their screw holes. They usually stand up and can be screwed in without a problem.

    Uhralt
     
  8. David S

    David S Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    7,174
    237
    63
    Male
    Professional Engineer - Retired
    Brockville, On Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I have the split blade screwdriver but it is too thick for many of the screw slots. As Uhralt mentions tweezers work well. Actually a set from the buck store with angled tips modified slightly hold screws for most applications.

    modified tweezers.jpg modified tweezers large screw.jpg

    David
     
  9. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
    12,427
    836
    113
    Beeswax always works, even for Philips heads, as long as it's warm. Split screwdrivers are good for setting screws of a certain size range but not for tightening them. Willie X
     
  10. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
    3,034
    287
    83
    Male
    Science teacher, writer
    Lancaster, Ohio, USA
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I have all of these, along with a substantial hand tremor.

    The split blade kind works if the sides of the slot are parallel from top to bottom, which in clocks they often are not. Cross-grinding helps the grip. Get all the sizes, and be sure to shop for price, for many are seriously inflated. Timesavers has the two smallest ones for a reasonable cost.

    Beeswax hasn't proven particularly helpful, though if you're going to try it "museum wax" is probably the best stuff to use. The 'fun tack' putties used to hang posters on walls can be effective sometimes.

    External screw claws are also of limited use, and there are screwdrivers that include these. They work on round- or cheese-headed screws.

    Magnetization is effective on Phillips screws but generally not slotted screws. Note that the magnetized screw will attract itself to the nearest steel object, which is generally not the hole you're aiming for. I keep screwdrivers magnetized by scraping them (several times, one way only) on a handy magnet kept nearby.

    There is a variety of screw-holding screwdriver that grabs the screw by twisting a small blade in the middle of the slot. These haven't ever worked for me but were once popular. They're dependent on the dimensions of the screw slot.

    For tiny screws with cylindrical (cheese-headed) heads, consider grabbing the entire head in a pin vise and using that as a screwdriver.

    Under the worst conditions clean both screw and screwdriver blade with solvent. Place the screw head-up in a convenient hole. Apply a tiny drop of super glue to the screwdriver blade. Put the blade into the screw slot and hold it steady for about a minute. Lift the glued-together screw and driver out of the hole and drive it in as desired.

    I'll be signing off now. Things seem to be getting a tad hostile.

    M Kinsler
     
  11. Simon Holt

    Simon Holt Registered User

    Mar 21, 2017
    419
    45
    28
    Male
    Retired
    Shaftesbury, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I'll add a tip I read on this forum some time ago: catapult 'string'. Available from all good huntin', shootin' and fishin' shops. Seen on the left of this picture:
    2019-11-30 16.14.19.jpg
    On the right is a conventional gripping screwdriver (Stanley Fat Max, easily available in the UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002SH9VTO), which is OK for pan-head screws but no good at all for counter-sunk screws.

    Blu-Tack also works.

    Simon
     
  12. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

    Sep 1, 2000
    2,146
    86
    48
    Colorado, usa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    For difficult places, I sometimes use masking tape to secure the screw to the screw driver.
    When the screw driver is removed, the tape stays with the screwdriver.
    If you get good at installing the tape, it will work with multiple screws without having to replace the tape.
    Once one has fished loose screws from the bottom of clock cases enough,
    the price of specialty screw holding screw drivers will not seem to be so bad.
    Dick
     
  13. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
    12,427
    836
    113
    This photo shows: a loaded split shank screwdriver, a beeswaxed screwriver, and a universal screwdriver for both regular and philips head case screws.

    A 1/8" x 6" (square or round shank) screwdriver is the one I use most for casing and uncasing the more modern clock movements. On older clocks, you will often need a 3/16" x 6" screwdriver.

    Note, any blade length between 6 and 8 inches, will be good for clock work.
    WIllie X
    20180326_170326.jpg
     
  14. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 9, 2017
    1,358
    25
    48
    Male
    England
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks Willie and everyone for all the replies lot's of things to try.
    Chris
     
  15. bangster

    bangster Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    19,501
    359
    83
    utah
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Rubber tubing. Slip a short piece over the blade of the screwdriver, leaving a bit sticking out over the end. Stick your screw head into
    the bit sticking out over the end. Voila!
     
  16. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 9, 2017
    1,358
    25
    48
    Male
    England
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks, Bangster this is on my thought train, possiblt rubber tubing or heat shrink.
    Chris
     
  17. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 4, 2008
    4,267
    448
    83
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    rubber tubing sounds good to me. I wouldn't recommend heat shrink. Once it has shrunk it will be hard to get off.

    Uhralt
     
  18. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 9, 2017
    1,358
    25
    48
    Male
    England
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks Uhralt, yes i realised that after I posted it.
    Regards
    chris
     
  19. NEW65

    NEW65 Registered User

    Nov 17, 2010
    1,056
    26
    48
    Male
    Deals in modern reproduction floor clocks.
    United Kingdom
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Chris.
    I find it incredibly difficult to relocate the fixing screws that attach the movements to the seat boards in the Howard miller floor clocks, esp the screws closest to the hinged side of the door!
    What I tend to do is get a good fitting slotted screwdriver but first put a dab of loctite in the head of the screw. This grabs it immediately and makes things very easy every time.
    Cheers
     

Share This Page