• SkillCat Team

All about Screwdrivers

Key Hand Tools: Chapter 3

Intro to screwdrivers


This module will teach you:

- What a screwdriver is, and

- How to use a screwdriver Skip to quiz!


What is a Screwdriver

A screwdriver is used to manually tighten or loosen different types of screws.

The screwdriver has three parts

  • The handle,

  • The shaft and

  • The head

You hold a screwdriver by the handle. The shaft of a screwdriver connects the head and handle. The head of a screwdriver inserts into the head of a screw. As you rotate the screwdriver, you also rotate the screw.


Recall that a screw is a threaded fastener. Screwdrivers can be used to add or remove screws from material.


Using a Screwdriver

Screwdrivers come in several sizes. You will need to select a screwdriver whose head fits correctly into the screw head. If the tip is too small, you will lose grip on the screw. If the tip is too large, the screwdriver will slip out of the screw head.


To determine the right size screwdriver, place the screwdriver head into the head of the screw. If the screwdriver head extends out of the screw head, the screwdriver is too large. If the screwdriver head does not reach the edges of the screw, the screwdriver is too small.


Recall that you will hold a screwdriver at the handle. The screwdriver should fit in the palm of your dominant hand. Your fingers should close around the handle. See the picture to the right for an example of how to hold a screwdriver.


When loosening a screw, the first step is to press the tip of the screwdriver into the grooves on the head of the screw. Be sure that the screwdriver head is the correct size for the screw. Press the screwdriver directly into the screw with a moderate amount of pressure.


While you apply pressure into the screw, rotate the screwdriver counterclockwise to loosen the screw. Recall that “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey” is a helpful phrase for remembering which way to turn screws. Keep the screwdriver at a right angle to the screw while you rotate.


Continue rotating the screwdriver counterclockwise while applying pressure into the screw.

You should see the screw coming out of the material. Continue until the screw is completely out of the material.


When tightening a screw, the first step is to press the tip of the screwdriver into the grooves on the head of the screw. Be sure that the screwdriver head is the correct size for the screw. Press the screwdriver directly into the screw with a moderate amount of pressure.


While you apply pressure into the screw, turn the screwdriver clockwise to tighten the screw.

Recall that “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey” is a helpful phrase for remembering which way to turn screws.


Continue rotating the screwdriver while applying pressure into the screw. You should see the screw head going deeper into the material as you rotate the screwdriver. Continue until the head of the screw is flat with the material.


You can also use a screwdriver to insert a new screw into material. If possible, use power tools to insert screws. Power tools are easier and faster than a screwdriver.


Start by finding the screw you want to insert into the material. Hold the screw just underneath the head. Place the point of the screw where you want the screw to enter the material.


While holding the screwdriver with your dominant hand, place the screwdriver tip on the head of the screw. The screw should be in between the wood and the screwdriver. You can see a picture of this step in the image to the right.


Press into the material and start turning the screwdriver clockwise. You should see the tip of the screw begin to enter the material. Pressing into the screwdriver at an angle can cause the screw to slip off the material.


Once the screw is slightly in the wood, you can remove your fingers from the screw. Keep turning the screwdriver clockwise while pressing into the material. Stop when the head of the screw is flat with the material.


In this module, you learned what a screwdriver is used for. You also learned how to use a screwdriver to tighten and loosen screws. Remember righty tighty, lefty loosey when tightening or loosening screws.




Types of Screwdrivers


In this module you will learn about:

- Types of screwdrivers,

- How to use each type, and

- Screwdriver safety Skip to quiz!


Types of Screwdrivers


There are many different types of screwdrivers. Some common types of screwdrivers are:

  • Slotted,

  • Phillips,

  • Torx,

  • Stubby,

  • Multi-bit, and

  • Nut drivers

Each type of screwdriver has a unique tip that matches the head of specific screws.

A slotted screwdriver has a flat tip. It is used to tighten or loosen slotted screws. A slotted screwdriver is also known as a flathead screwdriver. You can see an example of a slotted screwdriver to the right.


A Phillips screwdriver has a cross (+) shaped tip. Recall that a philips screw has a “+” shaped indentation in the head of the screw. Phillips screwdrivers are designed to loosen or tighten Phillips head screws.


A torx screwdriver has a star shaped tip. It is used to tighten or loosen torx screws. The star shaped head allows you to apply more turning force to torx screws. You can see an example of a torx screwdriver in the picture to the right.


Most types of screwdrivers have a stubby version. Stubby screwdrivers are much shorter than the standard screwdriver. A stubby screwdriver is useful if you are going to be working in tight spaces.


A multi-bit screwdriver is a screwdriver where you can change the head. Multi-bit screwdrivers allow you to loosen or tighten multiple types of screws.


Multibit screwdrivers are very convenient if you are working with multiple types of screws. If you do not use a multi bit, you will need to carry around each type of screwdriver. For example, you would need to have a phillips, slotted, and torx screwdriver.


The bit of the screwdriver is secured by a magnet in the shaft. To remove the bit from the screwdriver, we need to pull on the bit until it is not connected to the magnet.


Hold the handle of the screwdriver with one hand and the bit of the screwdriver with the other. Pull the bit away from the screwdriver. The bit should come out of the shaft.


Insert your new bit into the shaft of the screwdriver. The tip of the bit should be facing away from the shaft. As you insert the bit, you will feel the bit connect to the magnet in the shaft. Gently pull on the bit to ensure that it is securely attached.


A Nut Driver works like a screwdriver, but it is designed to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. Just like a multi bit screwdriver, a nut driver can be used on varying sizes and types of nuts or bolts.


A Nut Driver has three parts:

  • The handle,

  • The shaft, and

  • The socket

You will grip the nut driver by the handle. The shaft connects the socket and the handle together.


The socket on a nut driver is a removable head. Using different sockets allows you to loosen or tighten different sizes of nuts and bolts. Unlike screwdrivers, the socket of a nut driver goes around the entire head of the nut or bolt.


A nut driver works similar to a screwdriver. The head of the nut will go into the socket of the nut driver. You can see an example in the picture to the right.


Press into the material and rotate the the nut driver counterclockwise to loosen the nut. Rotate the nut driver clockwise to tighten the nut.


Nuts and bolts come in a huge range of sizes. The socket on a nut driver can be changed to fit the head of the nut/bolt you are working on.


To change the socket size, pull the head of the socket away from the tip of the nut driver. Choose the correct size socket for the nut you are working on. Insert the new socket into the shaft of the nut driver. Gently pull on the socket to ensure it is secure.


Choosing the correct socket for the nut driver depends on what nut and bolt you are using.

The nut or bolt should fit tightly inside of the socket. The nut or bolt should have contact will all sides of the socket.


If the socket is too small, it will not fit over the head of the nut or bolt. If the socket is too large, the nut will not contact the edges of the socket.


Screwdriver Safety

Screwdrivers can be dangerous if they are used incorrectly. The next few slides will explain how to safely use a screwdriver.


Before using a screwdriver, inspect it for damage. Check the handle, shaft, and head for cracks or breaks. Do not use a screwdriver that has a crack or break.


When using a screwdriver on very hard wood, it can become difficult to screw the fastener into the wood. Do not hammer screws that cannot be turned. If you cannot manually turn a screw, use a power tool. Drills are the best way to insert screws into hard materials.


Only use a screwdriver with its corresponding screw head. For example, don’t use a flathead screwdriver on a philips screw. Using the wrong screwdriver can strip the screw head, damage the screwdriver, and potentially injure you.


Screwdrivers should not be used as a chisel or to hit objects. If you need to hit an object, use a hammer.


Also, do not use a screwdriver to pry open two objects. The shaft of a screwdriver can snap or break from the handle. If you need to pry open two objects, use a pry bar.


Do not use a screwdriver to check if an electrical circuit is on. If your screwdriver is not insulated, electricity can be incredibly dangerous.


In this module, you learned about common types of screwdrivers like:

  • Slotted,

  • Phillips,

  • Torx,

  • Stubby,

  • Multi-bit, and

  • Nut drivers

Remember righty tighty, lefty loosey when tightening or loosening screws.



Question #1: Which of the following is a step when tightening a screw?

  1. Turn the screwdriver counterclockwise

  2. Hold the screw at an angle to the wood when screwing

  3. Turn the screwdriver clockwise

  4. Holding the screwdriver with your nondominant hand

Scroll down for the answer...













Answer: Turn the screwdriver clockwise.

When tightening a screw you should turn the screwdriver clockwise.

“Righty Tighty/ Lefty Loosey”


Question #2: Which screwdriver has a star shaped tip?

  1. Phillips

  2. Slotted

  3. Nut Driver

  4. Torx

Scroll down for the answer...












Answer: Torx

A torx screwdriver has a star shaped tip for applying more turning force.


Question #3: A nut driver is best used in what situation?

  1. When dealing with multiple sizes of nuts and bolts

  2. When working on electrical equipment

  3. When using a phillips screw

  4. When dealing with torx screws

Scroll down for the answer...










Answer: When dealing with multiple sizes of nuts and bolts

A nut driver has a changeable head that can fit multiple sizes of nuts and bolts.


Question #4: What situation would call for the use of a stubby screwdriver?

  1. When needing a higher turning force

  2. When working in tight spaces

  3. When using multiple types of screw heads

  4. When tightening phillips head screws

Scroll down for the answer...











Answer: When working in tight spaces.

A stubby screwdriver is shorter than the standard screwdriver. This allows it to fit into tighter spaces.


Question #5: Which of the following is a safe practice when using a screwdriver?

  1. Checking electrical current with a screwdriver

  2. Using the screwdriver as a chisel

  3. Carrying a screwdriver in your pocket

  4. Only using a screwdriver with its corresponding screw head

Scroll down for the answer...














Answer: Only using a screwdriver with its corresponding screw head.

You should only use a screwdriver that properly fits the head of the screw.



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