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Screwdrivers Choices


Gary

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Sorry, missed that post so didn't know the Cousins ones were made by A*F. That would explain why they are so good and at a fraction the price A*F are asking for theirs.

Another good set that cost even less are these Chinese ones of EvilBay

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/283869388844

The Tips do need honing to the correct shape as they are quite poorly ground in the factory but once fettled they turned out to be a very good well made beginners set of drivers.

Edited by Paul80
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15 minutes ago, Paul80 said:

The Tips do need honing to the correct shape as they are quite poorly ground in the factory but once fettled they turned out to be a very good well made beginners set of drivers.

Absolutely. Except for the swivel head that may not have a roller bearing, or not having your ideal shape or size, an €1 screwdriver with a good blade will perform exactly as an €15 one. You will hear however people which is brand fixated always suggesting uber-expensive sets or exotic varieties. In reality, "only a fool blames his tools".

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I only ever bought one set of watchmakers screwdrivers and they were Bergeon in the sizes that I have already posted. I still have them, bought them in the early 1970’s my master suggested them so that’s what I got. I think I paid about £15 including spare blades and all in a nice wooden box. 

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  • 3 months later...
On 11/4/2020 at 1:40 AM, Tudor said:

The blade material is comparable to tweezer material (which is probably another huge thread like this, since tweezers and screwdrivers are used as much as loupes and lights).

Carbon steel will have the highest hardness, which means it will hold their edge longest. But it magnetizes easily. One close fly-by of the aliens and they’ll stick to the fridge. And harder is more brittle (less toughness) so they are more likely to chip. Keep a close eye on these tips in use.

Stainless will be softer, due to more nickel in place of iron. These may, or may not, be magnetic, but generally less susceptible to magnetism than carbon steel. (You should have a demagnetizer anyway) These are probably the best compromise of price:performance. Higher toughness, so they bend before they break. Less likely to “catastrophically fail” than harder blades. But possibly unable to remove stubborn, over-tightened screws.

Lastly, these latest blades I got from StarTime. Probably sold elsewhere to. Burgeon brand. Hard like carbon steel, very nicely dressed and fully (even the blade chamfers) polished and non magnetic. These blades were like going from Walmart to Dumont tweezers. Unbelievable difference and so much easier to work with. 

So, I say get the handles that you are most comfortable with, and these specific blades. They are *that* good.  The tips can be blunted to widen them for Seiko screws. I may get another A-F set and blunt these tips in them for Seiko only...

Finally, this top set on this page is the set I bought a few years ago on special for $90.  I think this is still a great buy, at today’s price, since you get a set of drivers, the stand, and spare blades for each. This is the set I’d recommend- maybe a stretch to purchase initially, but they will last a lifetime. The base is heavy and does not move around. Color codes are easy to see, even without glasses.

http://www.ofrei.com/page1361.html

 

$250 Australian for that Bergeon set from the cheapest place I can find over here that is a shop. I have tried looking at some of the UK sites etc, but I can't seen to locate the cost of freight as to whether it would be worth my while $wise to buy from over there.

I am reluctant to buy anything again from ebay after an episode with a battery for one of my keyboards and getting sent a battery that was manufactured in 2012.

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1 hour ago, Michael1962 said:

$250 Australian for that Bergeon set from the cheapest place I can find over here that is a shop.

There is no reason for a low volume hobbyist to spend even one quarter of that amount for a set of screwdrivers. Read on this topic what has been said about Swiss made, unbranded A*F for 2.50 GBP a piece. "Only a fool blames his tools", and that was said even before showing off brand names became an habit.

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Tjhis topic has been discussed at great length before. Look via the search box on the home page.     What jdm says is common sense  a  £130 set of bergon screwdrivers sat on the bench looks good but if used infrequently are a waste of money, The A*F are good as are the French sets. I am using drivers I bought 50 years ago not branded still serve me well.   So don't waste money.  The best tools in the hands of an idiot are just scrap.

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I started with the A*F screwdrivers and still have them. The only issues I find with them is the blades tend to drop out if they are not really tightened down tight with the grub screw and if used a lot they do not stay sharp and need constantly re sharpening. The other set I have is the Horotech with the T shaped tips which requires a dedicated sharpener. My advice is to start with the A*F and wait, you will know when to upgrade, its when this new hobby just becomes addictive 🙂

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2 hours ago, clockboy said:

The only issues I find with them is the blades tend to drop out if they are not really tightened down tight with the grub screw

The blade should be flat where the set screw presses. Another possibility is that the screw tip isn't well flat. Both are easily correctable.

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Screwdriver choices have a lot of interesting variables. To understand this the BHI once did a review a screwdrivers pictures detailed description and a summary which I snipped out below. You can't just look at the numbers you have to read the text and it's not really black and white which is best in which is worse as there are variables.

For instance my first set of bergon Screwdrivers came in a wooden box as the material house was out of those  with the plastic base. But having the wood box is worked out really well. For instance currently that set is at work it's in a drawer. Each day they come out it's their set on top of the bench each day they go back into the box were hopefully there's safe.

At home I have several of the 9570 sets which are the same screwdrivers as in the wood box. That's because a very long time ago one of the big material houses unfortunately long since gone had a sale and there were $25 each. But even though there's a nice plastic base when I'm using him I have a habit of not putting the screwdrivers in the base I keep them on the bench. So in the review they reviewed the police as to how well it spins etc. and I could care less.

BHI screwdriver review summary.JPG

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10 hours ago, jdm said:

There is no reason for a low volume hobbyist to spend even one quarter of that amount for a set of screwdrivers. Read on this topic what has been said about Swiss made, unbranded A*F for 2.50 GBP a piece. "Only a fool blames his tools", and that was said even before showing off brand names became an habit.

I have read through all of this topic. It was just a comment to highlight cost down here. Unless I order from Cousins, for example, I cannot access the ’alternatives’.

 Having said that, I do want to become more than a hobbyist.

Starting less expensive is very difficult in Australia. Labanda is the least expensive that I can find for name brands. After those, there are some other options, dearest being $95 for ten screwdrivers with spare blades. When I asked Labanda previously about the quality, I was told ‘It is good’.

Or ebay for 9 screwdrivers in a base plus extra blades for $9.95 (or something just as unrealistic)

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19 hours ago, Michael1962 said:

Unless I order from Cousins, for example, I cannot access the ’alternatives’.

Cousins an excellent supplier no matter where one is. 

 

19 hours ago, Michael1962 said:

After those, there are some other options, dearest being $95 for ten screwdrivers with spare blades.

Unjustified for a Chinese or knock off set. 

 

19 hours ago, Michael1962 said:

Or ebay for 9 screwdrivers in a base plus extra blades for $9.95 (or something just as unrealistic)

I have these or similar, and the Indian made too. Both work good and worth the little price paid. What a screwdrived can and can't do, depends more by your hand and how it's dressed than the brand or price pad

 

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I would say that jdm has summed it up pretty well. If you are in the trade and using the tools on a regular basis then yes get the best as they will be the extension to your hand and need to feel good  for continued use. But for the hobbyist/ amatuer for occaisional use the cheaper makes work out ok. Like I said before some of mine are 50 years old and as long as they are looked after will serve me well 

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Well I enquired of a seller on eBay as to where a set was made and whether the screwdrivers has ball bearing tips to them. 9 piece in rotating base plus spare blades - $20.58. Free postage.

 What could go wrong?

Looks like 7 flats and 2 Phillips. How many Phillips screws do you encounter in movements?

Edited by Michael1962
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4 hours ago, Michael1962 said:

How many Phillips screws do you encounter in movements?

One that I can think of. There is a small cross head on the dial side (calendar wheel retaining plate maybe?) of some Seiko 7S26 movements,

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11 hours ago, LittleWatchShop said:

zero?

Not really. One is the tiny one found on older Seiko, which can be replaced by just dressing a 0.8mm blade for the job. 

Then there are the ones occasionally found on casebacks. Most of these have flat cut anyway. 

So, if you want a single set to keep on tbe bench, with holder and all, isn't wrong for it to carry one otr two Phillips drivers. 

In all events, after a while of work one will feel the need for multiple sets, as in wide and narrow blade dress, torque ring for bracelet screws, odd size just because, etc. 

All depends on what one works the most, and how much clutter can take. 

 

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I started out with a set sold by Bestfit, and they worked adequately. I've tried the really inexpensive screwdrivers,  and they were more of a pain in the neck than they were worth. I used the Bestfit ones for quite a while, while I learned about dressing the tips and how to properly use the screwdrivers. The blades were not the greatest, and required constant attention.

I decided to indulge myself, and purchased a set of the Horotec screwdrivers with the ball bearings.  I enjoy using the Horotec screwdrivers. Out of curiosity, I started with the "t" tips, and when they fit the screw slot properly, they are great. I was amazed by how solidly they grabbed the slot. But, like any other screwdriver blade, they only work right when correctly sized, and these require a special sharpener that's a bit too pricey for me right now. Maybe in the future. So, I replaced the blades with regular ones, and have been happy ever since.

The blades are considerably better than what are in my Bestfit set, and they sit solidly in the drivers and don't come loose. They haven't required nearly the attention that the old ones did. The ball bearings give them a really smooth feel, which tickles my fancy. There's just something about a tool that gets the details right, that makes it more of a joy to use. 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm back in India visiting my wife's family for the first time in a very long time. While here I needed a screwdriver to sort out my spectacles, and there was nothing really suitable locally, so I headed off to Amazon.

image.thumb.png.e0cf4c5da1eccec764ab2de298daf29e.png

I wondered if there might be some watchmakers screwdrivers for a reasonable price, and sure enough you can get a set for a whopping  ₹ 789.00 INR (about £7.76 GBP or $10.61 USD).

Imagining they were most likely terrible, but compelled by the need to know exactly how terrible, I bought them.

They arrived a few days later from a seller in Mumbai, and are actually not nearly as terrible as I assumed.

Not great, I'll grant you, but not actually terrible.

image.thumb.png.4d5836476f3ab290b03b8eed0703b57d.png

They didn't come in any fancy packaging. No nice storage case, or indeed any case at all,  and I didn't spring for the optional plastic stand for them (shown above), which would have added about ₹ 100.00 INR or so more.

In fact they arrived in a small Amazon plastic shipping bag. Inside that there was a small zip lock bag and in that, taped in a slightly grubby polythene wrapping and covered in machine oil were nine screwdrivers, and a complete set of replacement bits.

The handles are pretty sturdy, and surprisingly, as well as being colour coded, are actually individually stamped with their relevant individual bit size ( 0.5mm - 2.5mm ), so you can replace the bits with the correct replacement.

image.thumb.png.b82ab171a36e22233d0cf5bc0d42f54b.png



The set appears to be based on the infinitely better engineered  Bergeon 30081-A10 set sizes, (but without the rather attractive case and the $180.00 price tag). (Picture of the Bergeon set courtesy of Esslinger.com)

It will be interesting to check, when I get back to the UK and have access to some calipers to measure them, how accurate the bit sizes are. Also I doubt if the Indian bits will remain sharp for very long (although they do appear to be hardened steel of some sort), but as a novelty item, for fixing my spectacles (now fixed, thank you for asking), I'm actually relatively pleasantly surprised by what turned up.  I may even try to service a couple of 404 club watches with them to see if they are up to the task. Another worry with these cheap bits would be rust, since unlike the Bergeon ones,  they are certainly not stainless. I guess that is why everything arrived with a liberal coating of heavy machine oil.

The packaging suggested that the MRP for them is ₹ 1800.00 INR which, at roughly a tenth of the price of the Bergeon set (and more than twice what I paid), is probably about the most I would be willing to spend for a similar set. 

I would of course far rather have the Bergeon 30081-A10 offering, perhaps I'll sneak that in to next years Dear Santa list.

In the off chance that you want to try to find a similar set, here are the relevant Amazon key words.

(DIY Crafts Micro Precision Screwdriver Set 0.5mm - 2.5mm with Stand Replacement Tips Jewellery Watch Repair Electronics Hardened Tips 35-40 HRC (Pack Of 1 Set, Watch Repair Screwdriver Set)

EDIT: Just to be clear, you get nine screwdrivers in the set I bought, it does not include the 300 Brown (3.0mm), however the first picture in the listing does show ten screwdrivers. Not that this actually matters overly much.

EDIT2: Most (all?) of the Chinese sets I found online go from 0.6mm upwards, the set I got goes from 0.5mm which may prove useful when you are trying to remove those tiny screws on older balance cocks, or masochistically servicing one of those really tiny ladies movements. The fact that it differs from the Chinese sets in appearance, and in the inclusion of a 0.5mm driver suggests this may be an Indian made set rather than a Chinese import to India, but since it is completely anonymous, I guess we will never know.

Edited by AndyHull
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When I started my watchmaker carrier i started with a very similar set, but I bought cousins own replacement bits for them. I am happy your spectacles are ok now. 😉 Now I own a bergeon set as well, but only the set of 5.

Edited by luiazazrambo
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