The Yankee screwdriver was designed to translate the forward motion of the handle into a rotational movement of the bit. A typical full forward movement of the handle results in two and a half revolutions. The universality of this tool lies in the possibility to use it as a regular fixed screwdriver as well as a ratchet screwdriver.
The screwdriver can boast an almost universal usage as long as you have bits of necessary size. Which Yankee screwdriver bits to use (if you still haven’t got a set) is entirely up to you. But you will typically be choosing between slot head bits, Phillips bits and Pozidriv bits. Pozidriv bits, for instance, offer faster and more efficient installation, as well as precise control and decreased operator fatigue. Screws compatible with Pozidriv bits are self-centering and nearly impossible to damage.
You can make any hex bit work for your screwdriver as long as you get a suitable hex driving chuck. However, each of the screwdriver sizes requires a different size of a fitting adapter. Adaptors available for models 133, 125 and 233 are 5.5 mm in diameter, for models 30 and 130 – 7 mm in diameter, and for models 31 and 131 – 8 mm.
When choosing a hex bit adapter, you may be presented with different options of keeping the bit in place. The most common ways include a magnet, a screw-down friction lock and a spring retainer. A combination of a magnet with either of the other two options will provide a greater control – the adapter will hold the bit in securely.
If you already have a Yankee screwdriver and need some fitting bits, it’s best to look for those online or at a local flea market. Online stores offer a great variety of Yankee screwdriver bits and adapter chucks to use this timeless classic for many years to come and for an overwhelming variety of tasks. If you are shopping for the screwdriver itself, you can order it online (currently made by the Schroeder company, Germany) with a set of fitting double-sided bits.