Picture Proof: Why It's Worth Paying For The Proper Tools

One of our core pieces of advice for home renovation is always to buy decent tools rather than trying to improvise. Our night editor Elly proved the wisdom of this approach today by wrecking a screwdriver which she was using as an impromptu hammer.

Result? Time to shop for a real hammer, and a new screwdriver. Lesson? Do it right the first time.


    Elly: I put the very same basket stand thing together using a screw-driver hammer. Your problem is you have the wrong brand. Get the Stanley screwdrivers and use the big yellow one.

      Don't get Stanley screwdrivers!
      Goes against the entire point of the article.. Although they used to be a quality brand, I now find Stanley tools to be mid-tier at best.

    Someone needs to invent a hammer with a screwdriver on the end. I was going to suggest "screwhammer" as a name but that sounds a bit too dirty.

      A hammerscrew sounds dirtier.

      Mmmmm HamDriver... *salivates*

    Shouldn't this be filed under Use-a-hammer-as-a-hammer-and-a-screwdriver-as-a-screwdriver

      yeah and RTFM

    Those IKEA basket sliding shelves are a biatch to get hammered together. Regardless of tool, Elly should have been using a block of wood between the 'hammer' and baskets frame to save both from damage.

      You're right. The instructions did say to use a piece of wood, but that to me screams "poor design". Where could I go to reasonably hunt down a stray bit of wood?

        The pile of mangled previous attempts at Ikea assembly :P

        At the same place you would find a 'stray' hammer - a friend or a hardware store.

      Ironically, you're suggesting that a hammer is the wrong tool for the job in the first place, and that she should have been using a rubber mallet.

    Improving tools is what i do best, using metal nail files/knives as screwdrivers, nail clippers as a claw to remove nails (depending how tight and size of nail head), screwdrivers/pliers as hammers, hot soldering iron as a wire stripper/putting holes in plastic when a screwdriver wont work (mmm toxic fumes).

    Where is the fun if you have all the tools you need at your disposal. Yes sometimes it fails and on rare occasions with some loss of blood, hasn't stopped me yet.

    Or some smarter advice would be to use the correct tool for the job at hand

    Erm.. That's the wrong way to use a screw driver as a hammer..

    Jeez.. Some people just shouldn't use tools.

      What's the correct way to use a screwdriver as a hammer? I'd love to know.

        Heh, I wouldn't take him too seriously - he spelt MacGyver's name wrong :P

        The slightly less iffy way to use a screwdriver as a hammer is to hold it by the handle rather than the blade and pretend you're stabbing the object with the blunt end. Just watch you don't stab yourself in the eye - "Mate, is there a screwdriver in my face?"

    The "screwhammer" has already been invented :) See Simpsons S18E13.. Thank you Professor Frink!

    Really? She's not serious

    I've been screwed so many times (literally) with el cheapo tools from chinese junk shops it's not funny.

    I've got to get myself a proper toolkit. Not one that strips the screwhead every single time...

    I demolished a couch with a serrated knife once. And have done many impromptu tool DIY projects. :D

    Buying a good brand of tool is not going to help if you are abusing them. On the other hand, i know cheap tools all too well, like when a spanner breaks you inevitably end up punching hard the sharpest object you never noticed was there.

      Yep, done that one. I seem to inevitably end up bleeding from at least one knuckle every time I work on my car. Kinda used to it now...

    Never buy tools cheaper/crapper than Stanley tools. It's always a stanley or better. If you can get a Snap-On tool.

    Then again if you want to abuse your tools...

    Thats a poor argument for buying decent tools. A screwdriver wasn't designed to be a hammer, and buying a brand version may not have made a difference.

    Plus, for the cost of a decent screwdriver, you could probably buy 5 cheap ones. If you're like me, they're more likely to 'walk off' before they wear out, its a pretty easy choice.

    Meh...Scotty said it best in Star Trek V - "The right tool for the right job"

      Wasn't this this the same Scotty that everyone wanted to be "beamed up"?

      In my best Sean Connery accent, "beamed up Scotty my arse"!

    I stopped using a screwdriver as a multitool after accidently sticking it through my hand. Lesson:tools are made a certain way for a reason, the right tool used correctly will not hurt you

    I personally have a couple of thoughts on the topic that contradict Gus’ arguments.

    Firstly, I take a similar philosophy to that used for photography; “The right tool for the job is the one you have with you”. Using a hammer as a hammer, and not a screwdriver is well and good and all – assuming you’ve got one with you at the time. In Elly’s case, the screwdriver she had was the next best thing. While I wouldn’t use a screwdriver for any serious hammering, I’ve definitely been an offender for using a screwdriver handle, a heavy spanner, and hell – even scissor handles as an impromptu mallet for light duties. Arguably though, having half dozen basic tools (claw-hammer, screwdriver set, a couple of adjustable spanners in different sizes, and a pair of pliers) around the home is something everyone should have.

    Secondly, I’m a big proponent for value for money. In some cases, you’re well buying of several of a cheaper variant, than one expensive one. My uncle once summed it as “What’s going to last longer over-all, one BMW motorcycle or three Kawasaki’s?”. Buying expensive tools is no different, if the price exceeds 3-4 times that of a cheaper equivalent, what’s the point for general light duties? It’s a general rule for everything – buy quality based off the expected level of use.

    It has to be said, but isn't the real lesson of this article "do not let a woman near your tools"

      I'll have you know I put those drawers together on my own without further incident.

    I'd suggest a Leatherman. Mine has been my de facto screwdriver/pliers/hammer/canopener/wirestripper/wirecutters/ruler/saw/file for well over a decade.

    Oh, it's also a handy pocketknife. :)

      Get back to work Nick! ...oh, wait... :P

    Any tool can be used as a hammer and a hammer can be used as any tool. I live by those words!


    one of the first things you learn when you work with tools is that screwdrivers aren't meant to be hit with hammers. Unless you buy specific ones where the shank goes all the way through the handle

    go sit in the corner and think about what you have done

    The screwhammer has already been invented, called a through tang screwdriver. Use it as a hammer, drift, punch or chisel to your heart's content.


      And it's a Stanley!

    I looked reproachfully at a friend who was using the butt end of his drill to tap roof sheets into place. His response was "Hey, it's a hammer drill isn't it?"

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