Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Fine Enough Set Of Small Screwdrivers . . . Until They Break: Stanley 66-052 Screwdriver Set.

The Good: Nice carrying case, Convenient set for finer screw work
The Bad: Case breaks very easy under worksite conditions, Heads of screwdrivers chip annoyingly easily.
The Basics: Despite some design issues and general fragility of the fine blades on the flathead screwdrivers, the Stanley 66-052 6-Piece Precision Screwdriver Set is worth getting.

The nice thing about going through my toolbox to look and see what I might want to review is that I'm also cleaning it out. In the case of my screwdrivers, I seem to have a pretty ridiculous number of them. However, whenever my eyeglasses break or get loose, I never seem to have the right size screwdriver to tighten the screws on them. I was reminded why as I continued going through my toolbox. For there, I have a set of Stanley 66-052 fine screwdrivers. But most of the heads of them are chipped or snapped and that's why I haven't been able to use this set for some time.

The Stanley 66-052 Six-Piece Precision Screwdriver set is a set of six fine-head screwdrivers which comes in a bright yellow plastic carrying case. The set consists of four flatheaded screwdrivers and two Philips head screwdrivers. The shaft of each screwdriver is made of black steel and the handles are made of yellow and black plastic. The screwdrivers in this set are 1.4 mm, 2.0 mm, 2.4 mm, and 3.0 mm wide for the flat heads and a #0 and #1 screwdriver for the tiny Philips head screwdrivers. These are very small heads which are ideal for watches, eyeglasses, small toys and the like. Because the handles are insulated with plastic and rubber, they are also ideal for fine electronics work where there might be tiny screws involved.

There are two major drawbacks and one minor drawback to the Stanley 66-052 precision screwdrivers. The minor drawback comes in the form of the case. The case has a clear plastic window which allows the six screwdrivers inside to be displayed. Under working conditions where tools like this might be used around other, heavier, tools, this casefront is very easy to break. Mine is cracked in several places and it looks pretty worn and I'm pretty careful. Outside that, the case is very well-designed; the case is designed like a self-contained little drawer. To access the screwdrivers, simply pull the "drawer" with the screwdrivers toward you and then flip the top under, so it has the same footprint as the unopened case! One never needs to worry about losing the top as a result. This gives the user access to all six precision screwdrivers. The case itself is 5 1/2" long by 3 1/4" wide by 3/4" tall. It appears intended to sit on a workbench as opposed to hang anywhere as there is nowhere on the device to hang it from anything else.

The first major problem, then is the design. These fine screwdrivers are 4 1/4" long from the metal head to the butt, which is 1/2" in diameter. Near the head, the screwdriver bulges outward and it has a black rubber grip which is essentially a series of striations in the rubber that are oriented parallel to the flat head. In other words, if one is twisting at this point, the grip is not offering friction and if this gets damp, the fingers slide on the screwdriver exceptionally easily. This poor level of design is almost made up for by the butt of the screwdriver. The butt flares outward and swivels. This means that if one is using one hand to push down on the screwdriver at the top (butt), they may twist the screwdriver with another hand and it will rotate independent of the butt. This is a problem, though because on finer work where one needs to hold the item they are screwing a screw into with another hand, they cannot use both hands to use this "properly." As a result, as screws get tighter, it is very hard to tighten them all the way.

This leads to the other problem. The fine heads are not terribly durable. While I was careful in using these, over the course of two years of house projects and hobbies that required small screwdrivers, I managed to snap or chip the blades on each of the four flatheaded screwdrivers in the set. They have sat, then, for the four years since, worthless in my toolbox. The two Phillipshead screwdrivers are intact, but they are almost impossible to deliver the torque needed to make them useful. The real disappointment here is how, in normal, proper, use screwing in tiny screws, the Stanley 66-052 screwdrivers fracture.

That said, Stanley has a lifetime warranty on these, but because I did not have the original package (it was part of a gift to me), I've never been able to exercise the warranty. Still, when I go to replace this set, I am likely to buy another, if for no other reason than to be able to perform maintenance on my eyeglasses once again. Maybe in the last six years, they've made these more durable.

For other Stanley products, please check out my reviews of:
Stanley 64-105 Philips head screwdriver
Stanley 8" Adjustable Wrench
Stanley 66-183 Screwdriver


For other tool reviews, please visit my index by clicking here!

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

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