Perfect Handle and Otherwise


   Consider the lowly screwdriver
Screwdrivers get no respect. No respect at all. These most useful tools are mistreated more than any other. Yet we'd all be lost without them.
I say it's time for re-evaluation of this workhorse. Time to throw a
little well deserved light onto our trusted companion.  Who is with
me?   Vive 'la drivers of the screw!!

This first one is rosewood with cast pewter. The pewter was cast directly into the wood, same as the center handle rings on the brace.

Casting pewter this way was kind of a lost art. I've been trying to rediscover how they did it and put it back into the toolmaker's bag of tricks. So far several of my friends have tried it too.  


Perfect Handles

H D Smith first produced the perfect handle pattern for many tools. Recent research points  that it appears he bought the patent from someone else.

 After Smith many other companies came into the business and you can find perfect handle tools, but mainly screwdrivers, from several countries. The heyday of popularity seems to have been the decades before and after WW1 mostly.

  Some Chinese Perfect Handle drivers are around right now. So far the ones I've seen were round topped, have light colored wood grips and invariably the whole thing is covered in an orange lacquer or other finish of some kind.


Below is a group of Perfect Handle pattern drivers. The smallest sizes were still waiting for new handles and finishing when this picture was taken.

  The handles are all fitted the same way as the ones on the awl page.

Walnut, purpleheart, maple, koa  and cherry are just a few of the woods used. 

Below is a heavy duty mechanics model with spalted maple burl grips. It was made as a present. I believe only Smith and co made the square shanked drivers. .


The Screwdriver below is a custom driver for the screw that holds the chipbreaker, or subblade onto the blade of a Stanley or similar bench plane. The handle scales on this one are tulip wood. 

If you look in the middle of this pic you can see the first set of ph drivers I ever put together. I made the handles from black walnut and maple in alternating sizes for easy reference. The walnut driver have polished frames and shafts while the maple are blued steel for even more contrast.  These are probably 20years old now. Notice the rack they are hanging from. I make these for screwdrivers and pliers. If you measure the distance between the holes of pegboard, you can build racks that use ordinary pegboard hooks to attach them. This makes them easy to move around when you want to. Just glue the hook into the rack with a spot of epoxy or so. 

This last one is the smallest Perfect Handle size I've been able to find. Have you seen smaller?


Guess what? I have made a smaller Perfect Handle driver and here it is.

It came to me broken and short so I reforged and drew it out to the shape and reduced the handle to be proportional

Here is the smallest PH driver ever made. I made it from scratch.

Speaking of perfect handles, check out the crate tool. This was a gift from my friend Rob. I used some drop dead curly black walnut for the scales.