One of those tools that few people have even heard of, yet is so very helpful. And it's pretty cheap, too!

Screw Holders

Ever try to get a screw started where there just isn’t room to hold the screw?

With “regular” screws, you might be able to use a magnetized screwdriver and get the screw to stay on the end of the screwdriver as you work it into position. Even that’s impossible when you’ve got a stainless screw.

I never did figure out a good way to do this. I’d tried all sorts of things like taping the screw to the screwdriver and using my (at one time) long fingernails to try to hold the screw. All I got was an increased ability to find where screws had dropped . . . and a bunch of torn fingernails.

Dave, with his background in heavy industry, knew just the answer: screw holders.

No, not something to store all the spare screws in, but a little gadget that holds the screw onto the end of the screwdriver while you get it started. No need for a hand holding the screw. I’d like it better if it clipped a little more tightly, but they’re a lot better than nothing.

They work with spade or Phillips screwdrivers, and screws from moderately small size to large. Really small screws don’t fit well, but I have used a bit of tape around the screw holder to keep a small screw from falling out (if you do this, fold the end of the tape under so it’s easy to remove in that inaccessible place).

This photo shows how they work — of course, you wouldn’t need them in an accessible place like this. But I can’t get my camera in the types of places where they’re needed!

Screw Holders: How to hold a screw when you just can't reach it. One of those tools that few people have even heard of, yet is so very helpful. And it's pretty cheap, too!

You have to use them with a “traditional” screw driver and not one with interchangable tips. The screw holders fit on the long shaft; a set has three different size holders for different size screwdrivers, not different size screws.

Of course, we left the first set of screw holders on our previous boat when we sold it. So I had to get another set for Barefoot Gal. We don’t use them often, maybe once every month or two, but when we need them, they are so helpful.

The only place I’ve ever found them (and believe me I’ve looked in lots of hardware stores and home improvement stores all over the US and clerks don’t even know what I’m talking about) is on Amazon. Good news — a set of three is pretty cheap and has free shipping!

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  • Eric Hendricks
    Posted at 24 February 2015 Reply

    tape works as well. a little scotch tape around the shaft of the screwdriver and the head of the screw hold it long enough to get it started and comes off easily- and – everyone has some tape…

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 24 February 2015 Reply

      That somehow never worked for me — I just ended up having to find the screw . . .glad to know some have figured out how to make it work.

  • Susan Lynn
    Posted at 24 February 2015 Reply

    Looks great – thanks Carolyn.

  • Pierre
    Posted at 25 February 2015 Reply

    Even simpler would be to use the more common Robertson ( square head) screws. No additional equipement needed The screws tend to stay on the screwdriver naturally

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 25 February 2015 Reply

      I’ve never seen them in stainless. Have you?

      • Pierre
        Posted at 25 February 2015 Reply

        Yes, use them all the time, they’re as common as dirt. Slotted screws are hard to find unless you’re reusing old hardware

  • Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream Puff
    Posted at 25 February 2015 Reply

    I had no idea these existed. Thanks!!!!


    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

  • Frank Collins
    Posted at 25 February 2015 Reply

    I like a screwholder and another thing I have around is a earth magnet that is mounted on an extending rod( small powerful magnet mounted on a collapsible rod-like the old transistor radio antennas) You can reach metal things that your hand can not. I also when I first bought my boat i gave it a few quick drags around the bilge pump and other parts of the bilge. You should have seen all the little broken metal pieces, nuts, bolts, etc, that would for surely cause you to eventually have drainage problems. I found pieces that would have fit in the bilge pump strainer and cause one of those not needed problems

  • Pierre Mitham
    Posted at 27 April 2016 Reply

    even simpler use robertson screws! don’t need the extra gizmos. they just work! and the screws tend to “stick” to the bit in all orientations!

    • Mike Sweeney
      Posted at 27 April 2016 Reply

      If only all screws were Robertson screws! Even the builders of our Canadian cat used Phillips screws. 🙁

  • Mike Sweeney
    Posted at 27 April 2016 Reply

    Pretty cool!

  • Carol Daniels Smith
    Posted at 27 April 2016 Reply

    Just had this experience on Valentine! Needing to get back into yoga do I’m a bit more flexible

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 27 April 2016 Reply

      That looks interesting, but far pricier for a screwdriver that will only hold one size screw!

  • Helen Chien
    Posted at 28 April 2016 Reply

    Oh my gosh, ll these years I’ve seen these on some screwdrivers wondering what the heck it was?! Thanks for sharing

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