Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ode to the Flat Head Screwdriver

The flat head screw driver, being the most common screw driver in existence, is more valuable for other purposes than driving slotted screws. For screw driving, I’ll take a self-centering Phillips driver and matching fastener any day. It has been my experience that the slotted screw strips faster than paint off a road salt encrusted Jetta. For general utility, however, the flat head prevails. This versatile tool can be employed as a pry bar, chisel, can opener, gasket scraper, hole punch, place holder, shear pin, scribing tool, nose picker, bookmark and much more. With a bit of creative engineering and the use of a grinder and file the slotted screw driver can be transformed easily into a spade drill, scratch awl, center punch, throwing dagger and, in a pinch, tooth pick.

Currently, I use a large flat head screw driver as a hood opener for the white Jetta. Years ago, the hood-release cable snapped on this poor car allowing me to discover a new use for the slotted screw driver. Now, I could have fixed the problem the proper way, but what charm would there be in that. Besides, you should see the looks I get at the gas station when I pop the hood with a screw driver to check the oil.

To open the hood on a typical Mark II Jetta or Golf you slide a large slotted screw driver through the 'V' in the 'VW' symbol on the grill until the blade rests on the passenger side of the hood release mechanism. Now, with a bit of force, press the release towards the driver’s side. If done correctly, the hood will pop open. I’m sure there are a multitude of other uses for the ole flat head driver that I have not mentioned. Feel free to add to this list.

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