Screwdrivers, Spanners, and Hammers

Sometimes it is not necessary to get the power tools out for a job. Other times, it can be necessary to use hand tools because the power tools have not been charged. Either way, a job can still be tackled the old-fashioned way. That is, not using electrically powered devices but those that require some force behind them to make them work. Hand tools have the advantage of being more portable, often being found on penknives, keychains, or combined with a torch. For a strong example, however, always buy the full-sized versions.



With a manual screwdriver, it can be easier to reach screws that are inaccessible to a large or bulky electric screwdriver. Manual screwdrivers can be manufactured to longer lengths and bent to different angles. Ratchet actions can make the job of screwing easier. Different ends, such as flathead or crosshead, provide the required fit and grip for the different types of screws used with DIY jobs and as a tradesman. Non-magnetic screwdrivers are a good idea when working with electronics, so not to do any damage to components. In the electric department, cordless screwdrivers solve the problem of a lead being in the way of doing a job, which is a reason why someone might prefer to use a hand tool.



Sockets made from chrome vanadium steel have more torque than open-ended spanners. However, open-ended spanners are the most common type used for most DIY jobs and by mechanics. These have an open “C” shape to fit nuts. Other types include the ring spanner and the combination spanner, which is open-ended at one end and has a ring shape at the other. It can save buying two spanners if you have one that is a common size for most jobs that you are doing. Individual spanner sizes can run into the 100s, but smaller sets will generally contain 10 to 12 different sizes to choose between for a job. It is important that the spanner fits the nut snugly to prove effective in loosening or tightening it.

It should be noted that, in motoring, modern cars use a different system of spanner sizes to that which was used on older cars. So, if you are thinking about buying a classic car, you will need to invest in an old set of spanners. If you can find some, that is. Mechanics will have both types and ones suitable for commercial vehicles.



If I Had a Hammer. That was a number 10 hit for Peter, Paul, and Mary in 1962, then made number 3 in the pop charts for Trini Lopez in 1963. Written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in 1949, in support of the progressive movement, it was first a hit for the folk group The Weavers. Anyway, not to digress, let us think about hammers as a DIY tool or one for a commercial job.

Rocks and rolling pins have both been used as makeshift hammers but there is nothing like having the right hammer for the job. For general work, the claw hammer is the most popular. It has a large flat head and a claw on top to prise up and remove old screws. Other types of hammer include the ball pein (or peen), cross pein hammer, sledgehammer, and the mallet. A ball pein hammer, also referred to as a machinist’s hammer, is distinguishable by its hemispherical pein and used in metalwork. Whereas a cross pein hammer has a blade-like pein which is at right angles to the haft and is used primarily by carpenters. A sledgehammer is a large, heavy hammer that is used for driving in posts or breaking up rocks. By using a mallet, you can strike an object without causing damage to it. For this reason, it is usually lightweight and made from either wood or rubber. In addition, soft-faced hammers can also be used to prevent damage to surfaces being struck.


So, three very useful tools, and that is without even switching the electricity on. It is fascinating to find old examples of hand tools in antique shops. To see the wear on them and think of all the jobs that they must have been used on. Generally, hand tools will last longer than their electric equivalents, representing particularly good value for money.


News Reporter

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