Let’s give credit where it is due! Developed in the 1930’s, the Phillips head screw was a real breakthrough in technology. There are many advantages of a Phillips over a traditional slotted drive, one of the main ones being how the driver is automatically centred on the screw head. Many older woodworkers will recall the frustration of a Yankee screwdriver (another outstanding invention, by the way!) spinning off the head of a slotted screw and messing up the workpiece. I only discovered recently that the original Phillips screws were specifically designed to cam-out above a certain torque. This prevented aircraft assemblers from over-tightening screws and stripping the soft aluminium threads. We all know how difficult it is to loosen a seized Phillips screw with a screwdriver. It is almost impossible to keep the driver snugly in the recess while applying maximum torque, as it keeps rising out as you turn. Next time, remember it’s only working how it should!
Enter the Game Changer: The Torque-limiting Automatic Screwdriver.
This wonderful invention completely revolutionized the function of the drive in the screw head. Rather than relying on the driver to slip out of the screw head at somewhere near the desired torque and risking damage to the workpiece, the driver and the screw, the new automatic driver designs could accurately and consistently set the screw at the desired torque. Controlling the tightening torque could now be delegated to the screwdriver, not the screw. While maintaining the self-centring advantages of the Phillips head, engineers could now turn their focus to designing drives that wouldn’t slip. Benefits obviously included longer driver life and higher tightening torque with smaller drive recesses.
Star Wars: Advantages of the Star or Drive over Square Drive?
Ok, folks, settle, settle!! This kind of debate can get heated, with Square Drive aficionados only too ready to battle with the Star adherents, and vice versa. I believe it comes down to personal preference in the end, although there are absolutely undeniable advantages to the Star that completely blow the Square drive out of the water in every respect, plus the fact that Square users are generally low IQ dribblers. (You may detect a slight bias.) Seriously, after driving thousands of both Star T25 Torx and No.2 Square Drive #10 x 2” 304 Grade stainless steel decking screws, my personal findings are as follows:
- Star Drive Screws look neater. In high end work, square drive heads need to be turned much like traditional slotted heads so as to line up, while the 6 point drive of the Star is random enough not to matter.
- This also means that it is easier to enter the driver into the screw head, as there are more entry points in one revolution. On a big project, this saves you time and hassle.
- Star Drive can take handle more torque than Square Drives and are therefore more resistant to ‘camming’.
- This makes drivers last longer.
- As a result of the higher torque capacity, generally Star heads are in better condition once the screw is set, making removal easier if ever necessary.
Once we introduced Star Drive screws to our range, most if not all our deck builders moved over from Square Drive. These guys are driving thousands of screws each month, and this is probably the most convincing testimonial of all. If Star is best for them, it’s best for you.
Jadon Allen, President Eagle Claw Tools & Fasteners
6855 Barger Pond Way
Knoxville, TN, 37912