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I like to dabble in DIY, as anyone who knows me, or who has been kind enough to read some of my reviews, already know. So when it comes to using tools I can quite honestly say that I have gone through quite a collection in my time. Some have been good, some have been bad and some have been.... I bet you thought I was going to say ugly there?? No, although some have been ugly really.. But I was going to say that some have been so inferior that I have actually been embarrassed to say that I have used them.
Some of my collection, both past and present, include such tools as mighty power tools that need both hands, and sometimes a foot or two, in order to keep them from flying around the room when the power kicks in. then there's been the very useful and easy to control battery operated drills and drivers that make putting up a flatpacks as easy as opening a box of chocolates on valentines day.
Then there's the good old fashioned hand tools that are used by those that are either too afraid to use anything that moves faster than the eye or those that really believe that the best jobs are done by hand. Me, I tend to use both types of tools, power, be that battery or mains, and the old fashioned hand tools just in case of a power cut and a flat battery.
And it is a certain hand tool that I am going to waffle on about here, although when I say hand tool I should really say that it is more than one hand tool, in a way, sort of.
Please, allow me to explain.
The hand tool that I am talking about is a screwdriver. But this is not your basic screwdriver, it is actually 12 screwdrivers, four socket, or wrench pieces and more, all kept together in a lovely little case that is a little like the Doctors Tardis as you would not believe that 16 screwdrivers could fit into it. But they do.
The screwdriver, or screwdriver set itself is from a German based company, with offices around the world. This companies name is the not so well known and not so publicised Wera, with this screwdriver set being called the Wera Kraftform VDE Kompakt 18 piece screwdriver set.
* So what about this set then..?
Let me start by telling you that you get a lot of screwdrivers in this set, although you only get one handle. But as all the screwdrivers fit perfectly well into the one handle there's no hassles at all.
This selection of screwdrivers include...
7 flat drivers, ranging from 2.5mm to 5.5mm with a variety of blade head thicknesses.
6 cross head drivers which vary in size and head design, such as a star shape, a '+' with an 'x' combined, and others.
You also get a selection of 'wrench' heads such as a square, a triangle and even one that can be used for bleeding radiators.
Plus, you get a single pole voltage tester, which is a totally separate tool in itself.
And this all came in a foldable bag to keep all the drivers and the handle together.
All these driver heads do have technical names for them, such as PH1, PZ4, PH/S#2 and other words and numbers which make as much sense as a politicians manifesto. Then there's the almost easier to understand 'socket' pieces, with names such as a square 6.3mm and a triangular shape, and others too. But as I don't really go on about the technical names I won't bother putting them down here. I'd much prefer to try and explain the shape of the heads so you know what I'm on about.
The screwdriver are all about 150mm long with the handle being about 100mm long and about 30mm in diameter at its widest point, making the handle easy to grip and quite comfortable to hold.
* So why only one handle..?
No, it's not just to simply save on cost when it came to manufacturing the screwdriver set, although I suppose this may have been a factor in the original idea. It's more so that you and I, the DIY'ers, can carry a variety of screwdrivers around with us without taking up too much space in the tool box.
Each of the driver shafts have a hexagon head on them, made out of toughened plastic, with the hexagon shape of the head tops slotting into the handle snugly, with no room from the shafts to move about side to side or around. These shafts go up into the handle by a good 60mm, more than half way into the handle, which gives them the strength and stability that you'd get from your 'normal' screwdriver.
* How do you swap the shafts..?
To get a shaft in you just push it into the handle and listen for a clicking noise... click... now you're done, the screwdriver shaft is securely in place and you're ready to start screwing.
To get the shaft out you can't just pull it out as it is technically 'locked' into place, which is why it doesn't just fall out when you tip the screwdriver upside down, or maybe accidentally drop it on the floor.
To actually release the shaft you have to pull back on the yellow catch that is on the base of the head, the section that looks like a ring. You pull this yellow ring back, releasing the locking catch, then gently pull the shaft out.
And now you're ready to put another shaft into the handle and away you go.
* Are the screwdrivers strong..?
Very much so. The tips of the drivers are as strong as you'd expect, but if you use the wrong size driver tip to try and unscrew a large screw then you're asking for trouble.
To be honest, if you remember to use the right driver for the right job then these will last you for a while.
The socket heads are as strong as any other socket sets I've used, although as they have a wider edge around them than 'normal' socket heads, but as most bolts have nothing around them the slightly wider edges don't really make any difference.
* What about the case..?
The case is made of cloth, which sounds as though it may be a bit, shall we say, weak, when it comes to holding tools such as screwdriver, but this case is quite tough, having a couple of pockets inside it and several elastic straps, sewn in sections onto the interior if the case, so that the screwdriver shafts have somewhere to sit firmly into. When I say pockets, I think I really should say 'flaps', but what ever I call them they allow more room inside the case so that all the shafts fit in with ease.
Also inside the case, again held in place with an elastic strip, is the handle itself, with the voltage tester tool being housed right it its side.
The case itself closes up into an easy to carry, taking up less room in your tool box.
* My opinion..
When it comes to using screwdriver, instead of using one of my power drivers or drills, it is these ones that I tend to reach for first, grabbing the case and taking it with me as I know that I will have the right size screwdriver inside the case for the job in hand.
I tend to find that the flat head screwdrivers are the first to give up the ghost, usually ending with bits of the screwdriver tips snapping off as the screw head becomes a bit stubborn, leaving you with what is really a useless rod of metal with a handle. But these ones seem to be able to take a bit of hassle, even when I have used the smaller size tips on those larger screw heads.
The handle is nice and chunky which really does make gripping it so easy, meaning that there's less chance of getting wrist pains at the end of a lot of screwing in and out.
Then there's the way that the shafts of each screwdriver click into place, which is a remarkable simple idea and, in this case, works remarkably well indeed, locking firmly into position with no effort at all. Then, when it comes to releasing the shaft, the simple way that it takes just a bit of a firm pull of the yellow ring around the base of the handle makes changing the screwdriver a breeze.
* What about the price..?
The entire kit is not cheap, although, for what you get, it's not expensive either. This 18 piece screwdriver kit sells for about £35 - £45, depending on where you get it from.
* Would I recommend it..?
For what you get, by that I mean the 12 different screwdrivers and more, all in a rather nice little case, I honestly believe that paying around £40 is not too bad at all.
The screwdrivers are strong and the handle accommodates them all with ease and without any movement whilst inside the housing, making each screwdriver shaft being as good as any screwdriver I've used in the passed.
"Wera Kraftform VDE Screwdrivers far exceed the requirements of relevant standards regarding strength and torque stability. They are individually tested for dielectric breakdown strength at 10,000V in a water bath & 1000V for safe working / The handle is of ergonomic design for faster, more powerful and less tiring screwdriving action and has an anti-roll feature / This set has a seperate handle with inter- changeable blades and is supplied in a portable belt loop pouch / 18 Piece V"