I saw a meme this morning that got me thinking. The meme had a picture of a screwdriver, and read:
“If it looks like a screwdriver, feels like a screwdriver, and turns like a screwdriver, it IS a prybar. ALWAYS use a screwdriver as a punch, chisel, or prybar.”
Except, IS and ALWAYS were taped over the original words on a SnapOn “The Right Way Every Day” hand tool safety poster.
Screwdrivers, quite simply, are not prybars. The big ones might work like one in a pinch, but you’re way better off using a claw hammer, or – *gasp* – an actual prybar if you need a prybar.
Why wouldn’t you want to use a screwdriver as a prybar? Because you can break the tip on the screwdriver – especially if it’s a cheap one – and the tip can fly up and cause injuries to all sorts of things you don’t want hurt – especially your eyes.
Screwdrivers aren’t punches either, although with drywall, with nothing behind it, a Phillips screwdriver can be used as a punch – in a pinch. But you’re better off using an actual punch, or a drill, if you need to put a hole in something.
Why? Same reason you wouldn’t use a screwdriver as a prybar. You can break the screwdriver. Say you’re trying to punch a hole in drywall, but there’s a stud behind where you put the screwdriver. The screwdriver bends. You’re out a good screwdriver.
Stud finders are much more useful for locating studs in the wall than knocking on it and listening for hollow spaces, or punching a screwdriver through the wall repeatedly until you hit something.
And as for using a flathead screwdriver as a chisel… again, they may look similar, but they aren’t the same thing. Chisels are made to cut things; they’re sharper than screwdrivers, sometimes considerably. Your screwdriver might work, in a pinch, but again, chisels are harder than screwdrivers, especially cheap screwdrivers, and you don’t want to break your screwdriver.
Trust me, a bit of metal in the eyeball is NOT a good idea!
If you do have to do any of these things, for $DEITY’s sake, use eye protection, and no, your glasses do not count! Make sure everyone around you is using eye protection too. It’s generally safer – and less expensive – to just go get the right tool for the job.