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EddyCurr
11-19-2014, 03:17 PM
Physicist R.P. Feynman published a volume about the joy of discovery.
While not in the same league as the experiences Dr Feynman recounts,
I had an 'aha' moment yesterday.

Many of you will be familiar with the Cluthe-style of screwdrivers that
conceal a selection of drivers in the handle under a removeable cap.
The tails of the drivers have been swaged to form two tabs or ears
that engage in a collet on the shank extending from the handle. To
me these drivers are instantly recognizable when I come across them
in a bag, box or drawer that belonged to a relative or to assets
displayed at an auction.

However, I have also come across similar drivers which had no ears
and so couldn't possibly be used in a Cluthe tool. From the purposely
-formed tips, it was obvious these were intended for use on screwheads.
I wondered at times whether they were examples of necessity wherein
someone cut up a screwdriver to reach a difficult spot, or maybe just
a case where the blade was salvaged from a damaged handle. In any
event, the useless things were troublesome to me because, while I
didn't know what they were for, I was loath to throw them away.

All was revealed yesterday when I used a flashlight to examine the
chuck of a Dec 11, 1923 brass-bodied North Brothers Yankee 31A
Spiral-Ratchet Screwdriver retrieved from the drawer of a disused
tool chest belonging to a departed relative.

I had twirled the chuck's knurled ring, but there didn't appear to be
any jaws inside. "Hmph, broken or lost, I guess. Wonder what they
looked like, maybe I can make or find some replacements. Hello?
Wots this?" Instead of the appearance of a gutted Jacobs-like
chuck, what I saw was a straight bore hole with a bit of spring wire
poking out the sidewall midway down and a D-shaped step at the
bottom.

It is neat how the brain CAN work if we let it when circumstances
align to reward us with the 'aha!' moments in life.

Inspiration & a quick moment of fishing around in a box of unknown
miscellany produced one of those mystery nuisance drivers. Sure
enough, it had a matching D-shaped end on its shank, a rough
hewn tangential notch little bit up from that on an appropriate OD.
A light touch of a file to a couple of burrs that at first prevented
insertion and the orphaned driver blade slid home into the Yankee's
chuck, right where it always belonged.

On the face of it, this post may well seem like a lot of drama over
a trival matter. For me, though, it is representative of the pleasure
I get from finding things out. Plus, I think it would please the former
owner of the Yankee Screwdriver to know that I eventually solved
the puzzle of the mystery bits. I am glad I didn't throw those
seemingly useless bits out during a cleaning blitz years ago.

A lot of you will know about the Yankee screwdrivers. Here's a couple
of nice write-ups about them for those who don't:

Zachry T. Furbish and The Forest City Screwdriver Co.
The Roots of "Yankee" Screwdrivers (http://cfales.sos4net.com/articles/Furbish-ForestCity/Furbish-ForestCity1.html) by Clifford D. Fales
Ron's Woodshop Featured Tool: Yankee Screwdriver (http://ronswoodshop.blogspot.ca/2010/08/tool-of-week-yankee-screwdriver.html)

Edit: Fixed 2nd link, thanks Thomas

.

kendall
11-19-2014, 04:12 PM
Very nice, your old Yankee must not have had any bits with it?

I've had several of them, very useful tool. I have sacrificed several screwdrivers, nut drivers and quarter inch extensions to increase my Yankee bit selection. Often all it takes is a file and hacksaw, sometimes a lathe to turn the shaft down a bit.

Daveb
11-19-2014, 04:21 PM
About 50 years ago I worked for a security company. A regular job was to fit 1/2" tubes to the inside of window frames, the tubes were 4" apart and were fixed at each end with a saddle, with additional saddles every 30" length. Each saddle needed 2 screws. We used Yankee screwdrivers and slotted screws. If Yankee screwdrivers are well oiled, they are as quick to used as a modern battery drill. Every now and then you would hear a bang and a tinkle as screwdriver slipped off the screw and popped through the window glass. The company banned the use of Yankee screwdrivers but only for a couple of weeks, it was cheaper to pay for the glass than to do the job any other way.

Alan Douglas
11-19-2014, 04:25 PM
I found the same thing a while ago, not because my Yankee had no bits but because it had one installed that I couldn't get out, so I assumed it wasn't removable. But when I found several of those bits in a box of tools, I started wondering what they were for. And finally figured the trick to remove them.

Thomas Staubo
11-19-2014, 05:09 PM
Eddycurr: The second link had an error in it, but I fixed it for you.

Here:
http://ronswoodshop.blogspot.ca/2010/08/tool-of-week-yankee-screwdriver.html

boslab
11-19-2014, 05:17 PM
I have to admit to owning several, I like them, one is the really long one with a purple handle, I broke the ratchet somehow, amazingly I was able to buy spares!, when I ordered them I ordered a countersink bit and some drill points, they are really usefull.
Mark

garyhlucas
11-19-2014, 07:21 PM
When I was an electrician I drove a hell of a lot of #12 x 1" sheetmetal screws into wood beams with a Yankee while holding a light fixture over my head with the other hand! It was the original cordless screw driver.

Rich Carlstedt
11-19-2014, 07:24 PM
About 50 years ago I worked for a security company. A regular job was to fit 1/2" tubes to the inside of window frames, the tubes were 4" apart and were fixed at each end with a saddle, with additional saddles every 30" length. Each saddle needed 2 screws. We used Yankee screwdrivers and slotted screws. If Yankee screwdrivers are well oiled, they are as quick to used as a modern battery drill. Every now and then you would hear a bang and a tinkle as screwdriver slipped off the screw and popped through the window glass. The company banned the use of Yankee screwdrivers but only for a couple of weeks, it was cheaper to pay for the glass than to do the job any other way.

Dave, my brother-in-law had the same issue, but his company made them remove the spring..no more broken glass after that
( Took two hands to work the driver)

Rich

Mr Fixit
11-19-2014, 08:13 PM
As an early electricical apprentice I brought a Yankee screw driver that was my grandpa's to a job one day, and was told that I could not use it because it was too efficiant and would make the rest of the "JOURNYMEN" look bad so I had to put it away.
Was a UNION job by the way. Still have it and use it every chance I get but only at home.

Mr fixit for the family
Chris :)

EddyCurr
11-19-2014, 08:27 PM
What's great about the Yankee in its various versions is that
as mentioned on the Ron's Woodworking site, new replacement
drivers as well as a Hex Adapter are sold by Lee Valley. Or,
as Kendall points out above, these can be sourced by cutting
and modifying shanks from conventional tools.

Back to the theme of the pleasure of finding things out.

A few weeks ago, I purchased a heavy 13" benchtop drill press
at an auction. An import, but from the era when these imports
were made in Japan. I didn't see it run beforehand, but knew
of the owner and could see the machine was in good condition.

To transport the drill, it was necessary to separate this from what
looked like a shop-made tripod stand that had been adapted for
use as a base, then break the drill itself down into its component
parts.

Underneath the grunge on the tripod stand was a sloppily
applied coat of yellow paint. I planned to mount the press on
a nice cabinet I have that was originally intended for a
Boyer-Shultz grinder, so had no immediate need for the tripod.
With little interest in the effort necessary to clean up this piece,
I was thinking about discarding the tripod at the sale site, but
relented.

Then, as I am loading the tripod into my vehicle, I notice under
the paint an old-school embossed plate riveted to one leg. On
it are the markings:


Description: Tail Steady
Insp: R0102 ... Dec.27.51
A.V. ROE CANADA LTD
{stamped image of AV Roe logo}

I figure that after I get around to cleaning it up, this tripod might
make a nice base for a workshop chair.

.

Paul Alciatore
11-19-2014, 09:47 PM
I have one of those from the 50s I think. It was my dad's and he gave it to me, probably when he got an electric one. I still use it from time to time. I'm a "clumsy bastard" so I often lock the spiral and just use the ratchet feature.

Phillips head screws solve the slipping problem.

boslab
11-19-2014, 09:53 PM
All you need now is the other two and one of these to sit on it!
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Canada_VZ-9_Avrocar
Mark

J Tiers
11-19-2014, 11:06 PM
I have two of those "punch drills", as we called them. I used the heck out of the one we had when I was a kid. The biggest problem was the tendency to tilt when pressing, which sometimes broke drills, or bell-mouthed the hole, depending on the drill and material.

Nice thing about them is no batteries, they always work if you can reach the place where the hole goes.

I don't think any of ours, nor the ones I have now, are "Yankee". At least one is a Craftsman, the others, I am not sure, I'd have to read the worn stamped-in logo etc.

ptjw7uk
11-20-2014, 04:36 AM
The 'Yankee' is still the best for pozi screws as you have to lean into it for it to work, nothing worse than a ruined head on a screw when you are tired or lazy using the electric one!

peter

SGW
11-20-2014, 06:13 AM
I've got a Millers Falls equivalent. A while ago I made an adapter so it would take a DeWalt chuck for 1/4" hex screwdriver bits. I found the chuck at Lowe's. Works great. I think I used epoxy to hold the shank of the chuck in the adapter.

http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o686/sasgw/DSC00447_zps9f68c46a.jpg (http://s1338.photobucket.com/user/sasgw/media/DSC00447_zps9f68c46a.jpg.html)

Black_Moons
02-01-2015, 10:54 AM
The 'Yankee' is still the best for pozi screws as you have to lean into it for it to work, nothing worse than a ruined head on a screw when you are tired or lazy using the electric one!

peter

Iv started using an impact (manual, hammer driven) screwdriver for all the Philips screws I remove on motorcycles.

So far the only one I have stripped was the one that was loosening but striped after 2 turns, then snapped in half after I put visegrips on the exposed shaft and gave it 1 more turn. the job got worse from there...

I guess impact screwdrivers are really just 1/4" turn yankee screwdrivers with a REALLY hard spring/body?

If anyone here does not have one, BUY ONE NOW! $20 and will save you more then an hour cursing at stupid Philips and flat head screws that refuse to move the first time you need it.

davidh
02-01-2015, 12:46 PM
don't forgot the heat. . . really nice and warm is another of your best friends. . . hair dryer will even help. what was it someone said to put into the semi stripped phillips head for extra gripping power. tooth paste ? arm and hammer soda? slips my mind. . .

Bob Fisher
02-01-2015, 01:09 PM
Years ago, before battery drill-drivers,my Yankee screwdrivers were my go to tool for anything repetitive. Still got 'em, saving them for my kids to discover and they wonder, what the hell are these. Bob"

dp
02-01-2015, 01:35 PM
don't forgot the heat. . . really nice and warm is another of your best friends. . . hair dryer will even help. what was it someone said to put into the semi stripped phillips head for extra gripping power. tooth paste ? arm and hammer soda? slips my mind. . .

Gunpowder. And a fuse.

Toolguy
02-01-2015, 02:41 PM
don't forgot the heat. . . really nice and warm is another of your best friends. . . hair dryer will even help. what was it someone said to put into the semi stripped phillips head for extra gripping power. tooth paste ? arm and hammer soda? slips my mind. . .


Valve grinding compound or Clover lapping compound. The grit between the surfaces helps it grip better.

sasquatch
02-01-2015, 06:26 PM
Very good interesting post Eddy!

Glug
02-01-2015, 08:50 PM
Robert De niro's use of a Yankee in Brazil was inspirational.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZD8iVpZPKk
http://share.gifyoutube.com/m6qGpX.gif

Euph0ny
02-02-2015, 05:45 AM
Not to mention the Blues Brothers lift scene...

http://youtu.be/2quc-iQ96R0?t=10s