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Bolster bit driver

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Bill Phinn03/02/2022 02:25:05
755 forum posts
113 photos

It's reasonably common to find screwdrivers [particularly pound-through types] with a hex bolster where the blade meets the handle to enable a spanner to be used and so create more torque on the screw, but I'd appreciate it if anyone could add to the very short list of 1/4" [or 5/16"] bit drivers I've found with hex bolsters:

Picquic - I have one of these, but they're Canadian made and not widely available in the UK.

Rolgear - a Canadian ratchet bit driver that I haven't tried.

There was also this one. I say "was" because the manufacturer has now done away with the bolster.

And that's it. It looks like only the Canadians have thought this one through.

DiogenesII03/02/2022 06:29:54
561 forum posts
221 photos

Bahco - 'Ergo' Scewdrivers with Impact Grip

JasonB03/02/2022 06:59:42
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

Use a longer hex bit and put your spanner on the hex of the bit, that's what I have done a few times though prefer to use a small ratchet for leverage on stubon screws.

Martin Connelly03/02/2022 08:14:47
2137 forum posts
222 photos

DeWalt do a 1/4" one in set DT71506-QZ.

Martin C

noel shelley03/02/2022 09:55:54
1345 forum posts
21 photos

As Jason says. use a 1/4" AF ring spanner or socket ! There are numerous screwdrivers that have the hexagon just below the handle rather than above ! Noel.

Bill Phinn03/02/2022 18:16:03
755 forum posts
113 photos

Thanks to everyone for your replies.

Just to clarify, it's not a standard fixed screwdriver with a hex bolster I'm bemoaning the rarity of but driver handles that take bits and also have a hex bolster.

Jason, yes, I tend to use 50mm bits as standard these days. One drawback with having to put a spanner on the bit itself is that you're quite close to the screw head, and so room for a spanner can sometimes be an issue. There are of course considerably longer bits than 50mm out there, but long ones aren't as easily available at reasonable prices as the shorter ones.

The other slightly less than ideal thing is that a 1/4" hex is a rather small AF size to be winching on by hand with a spanner. This is no doubt why many of the screwdrivers you see out there that do have hex bolsters have shafts that are hexagonal in cross-section anyway. If the shaft's hex was felt to be adequate for putting a spanner on why would they give you a bolster as well? I've got some old Gordon screwdrivers with square section shafts and these don't have bolsters but the shafts are usefully thick at, I think, 3/8" and 7/16" AF.

Martin, I wasn't aware of the existence of the Dewalt, so thanks for that. I recognise the handle on it, and, if it's the one I'm thinking of, it's substantial and grippy, so I might give it a go.

The only other bolster bit driver I know of is the Wera Vario 80. Very unhelpfully, though, this takes 6mm hex bits, not 1/4". I'm also not keen on the Wera bit driver handles generally, as they're inconveniently small when compared with their standard Kraftform screwdriver handles on, say, PH2 and PZ2 drivers.

There is one other way of adding torque when screwdriving with a shaft-shaped object and that is to use one of these with a bit adaptor on the male square drive and a ratchet or breaker bar in the female drive in the end of the handle. The only drawbacks with this are that, again, the handle is too dinky for me and it's not as ergonomically satisfactory in my view adding torque to a screwdriver at 90 degrees to the shaft from the far end of the handle as it is doing so further down where the shaft begins.

I get by with what I've got, yes, but I do wonder why standard screwdrivers with bolsters are reasonably common whilst bit drivers with bolsters are as rare as pins in puddings.

JasonB03/02/2022 18:45:05
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

I carry 6" and 12" extensions with me so always plenty of length to swing an additional lever even if the screw is hard to get at. Also 6" bits in the commonly used sizes.

I also keep the ratchet shown in my site tool box which will give extra leverage when needed but it mostly gets used when there is not much room above the screw. I suppose you could machine a larger hex on the outer dia of the part that holds the hex.

A cordless impact driver is really the way to gowink you can also get more pressure on these to keep the bit engaged in the screw. You do need half decent bits as the cheap ones shatter quite easily even by hand sometimes. Same with the bit holders you can strip those if you put a lot of load on them. Most of my screwing is done with the cordless hence all the tooling is recess hex for the quick change holders I use. Hand driver of choice is the Stanley rathet


Edited By JasonB on 03/02/2022 18:45:42

Grindstone Cowboy03/02/2022 18:57:02
858 forum posts
64 photos

I keep one of these in the kitchen drawer, but it doesn't take standard 1/4" bits.

Links to


Edit - have a look at Chapman screwdriver sets too

Edited By Grindstone Cowboy on 03/02/2022 19:01:28

Nicholas Farr03/02/2022 23:01:27
3360 forum posts
1542 photos

Hi, well here's a selection that I have for screws that are a bit tight or in such a position that you can't easily get a good grip on them. The long black metal one is actually and extension for flat wood drills, but at the time I needed a long extension for some screws, that's all I could get off the shelf locally and it did the job OK. The chrome connecter piece, to the left of the ratchet spanner and 1/4" drive ratchet and T bar with the extension, has a 1/4" socket drive which will attach to any 1/4" drive tool and has a spring clip in it that stops the bits falling out like they do in a normal 1/4" socket, the little red ratchet is a cheapy, but does come in handy for very small spaces and the long flexible one is also very useful, but you do need to be able to hold the rotating bezel at the bit end while operating it with the other hand. The handle on the angle drive, can be positioned in 12 different places around the whole of the body, it's sometimes awkward to use, but does help removing some screws from places where you may have to take a few other things off first, when you really don't want to.

bit drivers.jpg

Regards Nick.

Bill Phinn04/02/2022 18:31:08
755 forum posts
113 photos

Thanks a lot for the further replies and images.

I do do some of my screwdriving these days with a Dewalt DCF886 impact driver. I should probably do more. I still like to use hand drivers for some jobs where more feedback on the torque you're applying seems called for. My preferred bits are Wiha Maxxtor 49mm. Any specific recommendations for longer impact-rated bits or long bit holders like in Jason's photo would be welcome.

I've had one of those older-style, mainly black Stanley ratchet drivers for many years. It seems bomb-proof and has one of the best handles going, in my view. You can use it two handed quite easily, making the need for a hex bolster almost redundant. Bahco seem to have borrowed this handle design for their bigger Ergo drivers.

I believe the newer version (which is more yellow than black) of this old Stanley isn't as good for various reasons. I've only got the black one to go off, though.

Rob, the Chapman sets look high quality. Some of the bit holders appear to have opposing flats milled into them as an alternative to a hex. The snag with the sets from my point of view is all the bits seem to be short ones, they have ball bearings in their sides (which may mean you can't use ordinary 1/4" hex bits in the holders/handles?) and many of the sets seem to have a larger number of slotted bits than I'd really want and/or a big range of imperial hex bits I'd probably never use most of.

Nicholas, I'm interested to see your flex-shaft screwdriver. I don't think I've seen one as long as that. I assume, as with a lot of these, it's only safe to torque hard (-ish) in one direction, and in the other there's a danger of the braided wire shaft uncoiling.


Edited By Bill Phinn on 04/02/2022 18:31:54

Nicholas Farr06/02/2022 15:02:00
3360 forum posts
1542 photos

Hi Bill, I bought the Flexi-driver some years ago but can't remember where from, I just thought it might be useful and it has been, but not an awful lot. It seems to have the same torque whichever way it's rotated and there is no feeling of it giving up in either direction, but will kind of curl up both ways, with a bit held in a vice and turning as much as I can without going overboard. The minimum radius it can bend at each end is about 120mm. However, I think the limiting factor on the torque is how well one can hold the bit in the screw with the knurled collar that allows it to rotate. It only cost £6.00 wherever I got it from.


flexidrive 2.jpg

Regards Nick.

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