While cleaning out some of my shop drawers I came across my screwdriver shanks I purchased from Lee Valley (unfortunately, they have a limited supply and no longer stock the shanks, I believe) along with the brass ferrules and the 5mm brad point bit (I had a 6mm and 8mm already). I purchased the screwdriver shanks after I saw a great video on youtube by Shawn Graham (wortheffort) called Screw the Skew. If you want to make your own screwdrivers I suggest you purchase these. The price is great (around $57 for all 9 shanks, ferrules, three drill bits, and shipping) and you will have them forever. Shannon Rogers of The Renaissance Woodworker also has a great video on making handles for files and rasps.
Since I don’t use slotted screws often I chose to use the remaining cherry blank I used to make the Awl from a previous post. I mounted the blank between centers and started making chips fly. I used a carbide roughing tool by Harrison Specialties LLC to true the blank. I have their rougher and finisher and I used both to make these handles but I can honestly say I do not like the finisher one bit. I got more catches than I care to admit. I prefer to use traditional turning tools but mine are all dull so I had to suck it up and practice. Hence the slotted screwdrivers and the cherry handles. I am saving my better turning blanks for the other handles.
One thing I have not quite figured out yet is the best way to part off and finish handles that do not have finials as the Awl did. I just left about 1/4″ of material at the end, finished the handle, cut the handle off the blank with a saw, and pared the remaining material away with a sharp chisel. Then, I sanded by hand from 150 to 600 grit and finished with the Hut Crystal Coat.
While the handle is on the lathe I sand and finish all but the small portion holding it to the blank. I then part the handle off, sand by hand, and finish the end on the buffing wheel with carnuba wax. This seems to work just fine but I will continue to seek out better options.
I am pleased with the feel and shape of this handle.
Here are the three slotted screwdrivers with cherry handles.
The process was the same with the Roberts screwdrivers. I used African Mahogany for these and changed the shape of the handles slightly. Also, the smallest shaft was 6 mm vs. 5mm on the slotted drivers so keep note of that when making your own if you choose to do so.
For the more commonly used Phillips screwdrivers I used Curly Kamani I purchased from islewoods on Ebay. They have a great selection of interesting turning stock from pens to bowls.
The Kamani (Calophyllum inophyllum) tree’s sap is poisonous and was used by the Samoans as a toxin on their arrows. The wood was used to make the keels of their canoes. While I was working with this wood it has a similar working property as cocobolo and bubinga. It is slightly oily and polishes very well.
I am not entirely satisfied with the large Phillips screwdriver handle. I feel it came out too narrow and had a bit of defects in the wood. I may remake it some day but for now it will do.