TOOL SCHOOL: Screwdriver Types


The screwdriver is a necessary and required tool for those of us in the art and set dec department. My preference goes to the all-in-one retractable bit screwdrivers which are great for quick on-set use but for during construction or set decoration I prefer using my 65 piece screwdriver set. Make sure your screwdriver set is made of strong metal and magnetic alloy to keep your screws from dropping and reduce stripping. I find the worst is the Black & Decker bits and screwdrivers which are weak and prone to stripping the Phillips, PoziDriv, and Robertson bits. Mastercraft and Craftsman are excellent.

screwdriver retractible

Craftsman Auto-Loading Multi-Bit

screwdriver set

I love my 65 piece Mastercraft screwdriver set

One of my pet peeves during the prepping of a set is when I ask a set dresser or Art PA, etc. to pass me a Robertson #2 and they stare at me blankly and then say, “What’s that?” While I expect this from newer, more green crew members it always surprises me how many people don’t know the names and sizes of certain tools, most annoying and simplest of which is the screwdriver. So I figure everyone has to learn somewhere and hopefully you get something out of this next time you’re asked to pass a specific screwdriver. When I was first starting out I thought Hex Keys were called X-Keys. I felt like the biggest loser when I found out I’d been saying it wrong because I didn’t bother to find out differently.



Names of screwdrivers:

A) Flat Head (or Slotted or Straight Head)

B) Phillips

C) Pozidrive (or Crosspoint)

D) Torx

E) Hex (or Allen) * (Ikea loves this one)

F) Robertson (Canada’s own; most common)

G) Tri-Wing

H) Torq-Set

I) Spanner

Note: Many retractable screwdrivers and screwdriver sets don’t come with the Hex or Allen key bit so you should always keep a Hex-Key in your pocket for that pesky Ikea furniture.

Head Sizes:

#1- is the smallest of the 3 common sizes

#2- the medium and most commonly used size

#3- the fattest of the 3

There are of course other sizes but these are the most commonly used and required screwdrivers on set.

What is your favourite tool? Why do you love it? Do you have a brand that you do not stray from?

Rose Lagace | @artdepartmental

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

  1. Garland Split Head leather faced hammer

    Non-marring hammer for ‘adjusting’ things.
    Mine has actual white rawhide rather than the stuff they issue. It beats a deadblow hands down as well as those plastic ones. Only thing to remember is don’t store it in a hot, dry area or the rawhide shrinks down and you have to soak it to swell it back up to size.


  2. I like screw drivers, too. When I moved out on my own I bought all the necessary tools I would randomly need like a hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers (I have several different kinds- one with a ratchet.. ooh), allen keys, etc. My dad was really proud that I had all these great tools- and although I’ve only used my drill a dozen times, it’s there when I need it. My tool kit is so much better tricked out then my boyfriend’s. Ha!



    lol.but thats prob because so far i work on low budgets


  4. Amazing info really appreciate you sharing


  5. The Germans make some beautiful, high quality screwdrivers. The Torx screwdriver by Wiha or Wera are great examples. Time to pick up one because Torx screws are found everywhere today. 


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