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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this subject has been discussed and at length previously but not recently. Many have espoused the virtues of the 'once available' Kraus screwdrivers. Music Medic sell screwdrivers made by FELO (Germany) and while these are OK for routine maintenance of maintained horns they don't cut the mustard for abused or neglected ones. I am about to trial a new set by WERA (Germany) and am aware others have had good results with WIHA (Germany) but decided to ask all here at SOTW what are your preferred drivers that are "still currently available"?
 

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Well, I don't do this professionally, but for my uses I have found the set of small drivers from the hardware store to be just fine (Mine say "General" but I've had another set that said "Craftsman".)
 

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I wouldn't recommend them, the orange juice will make everything a bit sticky.
Straight vodka shots should be fine, though.
 

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I have screwdrivers by all the companies mentioned in the first post and a few others.
The Kraus ones are excellent but have the "thickest" edge, so they don't fit very deep in a lot of screw slots unless modified (which I have done).
I also have the somewhat similar and relatively new screwdrivers from Music Center (also sold by Allied). They are similar to Kraus in that they are very not hollow ground. I haven't used them enough to say if they are as good but so far seems excellent.

Wiha and Wera are both very good and I use a few of theirs as part of my regular screwdrivers. I can't really say if one is better than the other. They come with different handle shapes so whether one is more comfortable also depends on the exact model and your preference. I've broken or bent one or two each after years of heavy use.

Felo screwdrivers tend to bend a little more easily but are fine for everything buy pretty resistant screws, though for me the handles are a little less comfortable (at least the models I've tried).

Many seem to like the new(ish) screwdrivers from J.L. Smith (I haven't tried them). Apparently they are not like the Kraus ones, but I don't know how they compare with Wera or Wiha.

By the way there are some other companies, not so known, that could be as good as anything. I have some Swiss made screwdrivers with names I've never heard of, but they are at least as good as anything else. Just bought them at local stores.
 

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Just curious, @Hassles , how do the Felo's not 'cut the mustard' for 'neglected horns' ?

Are the ones you have used the long-shank variety ? Because one might be handicapping themselves if they use short shank drivers for buggered rod/screw removal.

Have you found in those instances the tip of the drivers actually fail ? Etc....
 

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I have WERA and use them every day at work... Only one of them has broken (the smallest 0,23x1,5) and that one has broken twice. Didn't buy another one after that... All larger sizes are great and has shown to be very durable!
 

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BTW, I have a FELO long screwdriver as well that is much needed for some work... No problems for me, exepct that it bends a bit more... but probably only due to it's length
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Just curious, @Hassles , how do the Felo's not 'cut the mustard' for 'neglected horns' ?

Are the ones you have used the long-shank variety ? Because one might be handicapping themselves if they use short shank drivers for buggered rod/screw removal.

Have you found in those instances the tip of the drivers actually fail ? Etc....
I have found that the blades bend when confronted with stiff rods and screws.
yes - the small and short shaft drivers for buggered rod/screw removal. Obviously once the penetrant has been allowed to function (fingers crossed).

I might add that I would have considered and expected the weakest link in this scenario to have been the rod slot which I thought would fail before the screwdriver blade.

An issue I have with the Kohlert 57 alto is the slot on the rods is off-centre making them even more prone to failure. The Kroil and PB Blaster are en route. I have a small butane torch and will purchase some freezing agent which I believe will soon be necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have screwdrivers by all the companies mentioned in the first post and a few others.
The Kraus ones are excellent but have the "thickest" edge, so they don't fit very deep in a lot of screw slots unless modified (which I have done).
I also have the somewhat similar and relatively new screwdrivers from Music Center (also sold by Allied). They are similar to Kraus in that they are very not hollow ground. I haven't used them enough to say if they are as good but so far seems excellent.

Wiha and Wera are both very good and I use a few of theirs as part of my regular screwdrivers. I can't really say if one is better than the other. They come with different handle shapes so whether one is more comfortable also depends on the exact model and your preference. I've broken or bent one or two each after years of heavy use.

Felo screwdrivers tend to bend a little more easily but are fine for everything buy pretty resistant screws.

Many seem to like the new(ish) screwdrivers from J.L. Smith (I haven't tried them). Apparently they are not like the Kraus ones, but I don't know how they compare with Wera or Wiha.

By the way there are some other companies, not so known, that could be as good as anything. I have some Swiss made screwdrivers with names I've never heard of, but they are at least as good as anything else. Just bought them at local stores.
I have a few of the WIHA VDS drivers which are quite robust but need the blades ground to fit the slots. I love PB Swiss tools but haven't noted any of their drivers as usable for saxophone disassembly
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
BTW, I have a FELO long screwdriver as well that is much needed for some work... No problems for me, exepct that it bends a bit more... but probably only due to it's length
all of my original drivers were FELO and yes - the long shafted ones are much needed. I consider these to be fine for the upkeep of well maintained horns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I might add here that I am looking closely at screwdriver sets designed for gun and pistol smiths.

Apart from WERA's precision drivers their 355 range is also worthy of exploration. With a little honing of their blades they could be fashioned into something quite respectable.
 

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I might add here that I am looking closely at screwdriver sets designed for gun and pistol smiths.

Apart from WERA's precision drivers their 355 range is also worthy of exploration. With a little honing of their blades they could be fashioned into something quite respectable.
Or you can just buy WERAs ordinary swivel screwdrivers that works just fine. No need to complicate things ;) As I said, I've used the same set for many years in my shop and only the smallest size has failed me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Or you can just buy WERAs ordinary swivel screwdrivers that works just fine. No need to complicate things ;) As I said, I've used the same set for many years in my shop and only the smallest size has failed me.
WERA's ordinary swivel screwdrivers? I assume you mean their precision drivers? attached. I am in the process of amassing an array of these as a gift to another so they can at least maintain their own horn and yeah - I tried them and I liked them and will undoubtedly get a few for myself to augment those I have. Thanks for your input - greatly appreciated. I think also that perhaps Starret make a decent driver too.

Tool Tool accessory Screwdriver
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
dunno about a new design but all bar one of recent acquisitions has the band. The swivel head pivots around the yellow band. The yellow band pivots around the handle - so maybe the design is smoother pivoting in the palm but - I can't feel any difference between the two models. They both function and feel the same.
 

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Just curious, @Hassles , how do the Felo's not 'cut the mustard' for 'neglected horns' ?
As mentioned in a few posts, they tend to bend more easily than the other brands mentioned here.
Kraus would never give specs of their screwdrivers (material, etc.) but he did say one time that they would break rather than bend... usually. This suggests to me that the best screwdrivers would break and not bend, though they would have either happen long after worse screwdrivers would fail.
The Felo ones bend with the same amount of force that would do nothing to some of the others.

Are the ones you have used the long-shank variety ? Because one might be handicapping themselves if they use short shank drivers for buggered rod/screw removal.
True in a way but worth expanding on.
With machines, where there's a lot of space above a screw, you'll often see people use the shortest screwdrivers available. They have the least twist so actually best for removing stuck screws.
The reason long shaft ones are used for woodwinds is mainly for alignment and to have your hand away from posts, springs, etc.

WERA's ordinary swivel screwdrivers?
Those are excellent. The 3.0mm and 2.5mm sizes are my regular screwdrivers for those sizes for the last decade or so of very heavy use. The 3.0mm ones is almost like new. The 2.5mm one was ground a few times to fit various screw heads but still works as good as new. For regular (non-stuck) screws, I don't use them only when I need longer shaft ones.
I save my Kraus and Music Center screwdrivers and only use them for stuck screws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
clarnibass: thanks for the input, greatly appreciated. Apart from the WERA Precision drivers mentioned above I also acquired a WERA 355 driver with 3.5mm blade width at 200mm in length and while the handle is normal shape its is half of normal size. A "terrific" driver just great for those pivot screws of the spatula table of tenor saxes and the slim handle allows the blade to be closely inline with the screws / hinge tubes. With a little hone of the tip it'll sit right in the pivot screw slot nicely. So impressed am I that I am exploring others of this ilk. A lightly larger handle is gonna' give me more control.
 

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Hassles... I also have WERA 355 for stuck pivot screws. It's very easy to use since it's not a swivel top. Great screwdriver as well as the rest of WERA!
 
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