Monday, September 20, 2010

A Tiny, Annoying, Sometimes Very Convenient Screwdriver: The Stanley 66-183 3" Flathead Cabinet Screwdriver Works!

The Good: Durable, Works well, Easy to clean
The Bad: Not ideal for long-term (in a day) use, A pain to use on bigger projects.
The Basics: A very specific tool for tight areas, the Stanley 66-183 3” flathead screwdriver is handy when you need it, but deadweight in the toolbox until then.

Sometimes, there are tools which are annoying right up until the very moment you need it and then it is the perfect tool for the job. Those tools, like the Stanley 3” flathead screwdriver, are not versatile or ideal for most projects, but they come in handy for very specific projects. The Stanley 3” flathead screwdriver is one that I only seem to find cause to use when I am working with cabinets and need to unscrew single-slot screws in cramped spaces, like facing downward in the space between the bottom of a cabinet and the shelf above it.

In the course of the fifteen years since I first received the 66-183 3” cabinet screwdriver, I have used it less than two dozen times. Even so, it is hard not to acknowledge that this screwdriver is durable, easy to clean and has a head that has not worn for the fifteen years I have had it. However, because the handle is so short, there are very limited uses for the 66-183 and prolonged use on a project is likely to cause hand cramps.

Stanley is not to blame for this; it is a problem with all such tools. Because one is applying the force so close to the head, they tend to expend more energy than when the shaft is longer and the work is distributed along the tool better. Add to that that most adult hands will find it tough to grip this smaller handle and you've got a handle on my difficulties with using this screwdriver too long!

That said, the 3" flathead screwdriver is a useful screwdriver for when one is working in tight corners, like screwing things in around wood surfaces where flatheaded screws were used and there is very little room to maneuver. This tool is ideal for specialized projects, but not for daily use on projects where flathead screws were used.

The Stanley 3” screwdriver has a 1 1/2” steel shaft and a thin flathead which is ideal for smaller single-slot (in the head) screws. The 66-183 is a manual screwdriver, so you do the work; this tool just makes it easier for you. Fortunately, the 66-183 flathead screwdriver works and it is useful for those tight places one never expects to find a small, single-slot screw binding something.

This is a very solid piece of hardware and for only about $3.00, it has saved me time and headaches. This tool is good when one needs it, even if they never need it any other time.

At least as important is that the 66-183 has the old style Stanley handle. This is a handle that has little fins which offer much better gripping potential when one has gloves or when one is using the small screwdriver in circumstances that have water. Stanley has changed many of its grips to an ergonomic grip which is smooth and becomes worthless when one truly has to bear down on the screwdriver. The 66-183 is not hampered by that defect and is easy to use under all conditions.

In other words, this is great tool for every do-it-yourselfer, even if they only have occasional uses for it. Like most Stanley products, it stands up to mild abuse and is still in service, making it an asset!

For other tool reviews, please check out my take on the X-Acto X73610 Needle File Kit!


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© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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