Tuesday, 20 March 2012

PB Swiss; Swiss-Grip Screwdriver Set and Electronic Set Review

My preciousssss
There really is no substitute for quality. I bought my first screwdriver set more than 15 years ago and when I got tired of the drivers caming out of the screws, I started researching. I checked out Wiha, Wera and Felo and even Stahlwille. I stumbled onto PB Swiss and my experience with swiss tools made me take notice. I have 2 Inca machines that I use for woodworking which are top shelf quality and seem to be representative of Swiss manufacturing a quality control.

 PB Swiss; Swiss Grip Set, PB 8244
When the screwdrivers arrived, I was suprised at how little packaging and advertising material there was. PB Swiss seem to believe that less is more and I agree. The product should sell itself. I immediately took the drivers out into better light to check the quality. I was impressed at the feel of the PB Swiss Swiss-Grips. They were immaculate.
PB Swiss mentions their "parallel tips" as reducing cam-out on their blade drivers. They are not quite parallel but having tested the drivers on a variety of screws, I was suprised at how much of a difference this actually made. I will continue to use them them revisit my observations in-case it is more a case of rose-colored glasses
The details for the set can be found here:
PB Swiss Tools
The set comes with a wall rack to mount the screwdrivers. there are 2 philips and 3 blade screwdrivers. The shafts vary in length and the handle size also varies from driver to driver. The pictures show the difference between the smallest blade driver and the largest in the 8244 set.

As you can see by the photos, they fill the hand out well and were comfortable to hold. I have hams for hands and these seemed a good fit. I prefer larger handles like Wera offer, but this can also come at a cost with regards to access and clearance. The rubber on the Swiss Grips is not as soft as you might think however it still offers an excellent grip.

The PB Swiss Swiss Grip drivers have handle caps that clearly indicate which driver you are reaching for. This is a nifty feature and think it should be introduced to all drivers.
You may notice that there is no metal striking cap so I wouldn't recommend slugging these with a hammer to unfreeze rusted screws. I believe that this practice results in unecessary damage to both the screw and the driver for the most part. If you do have to resort to monstering a stuck screw with a hammer, use an old driver, not your nice new Swiss Grip.It's still early but so far I am pleased with the Swiss Grip set. If a driver ever fails, the lifetime guarantee should cover it and by using this individual serial number found on each driver...
... the investigator can track down the details to the individual batch of steel or rubber and find out what went wrong. All the while I will be happily content with my new replacement driver. I love me a lifetime guarantee!

PB Swiss Precision Screwdriver Set; PB 1620C
So how do the precision screwdrivers stack up? I bought this set because I have a large digital caliper that needed batteries changed. I used a cheap precision driver and nearly stripped one of the heads on the battery compartment. Seeing visions of me hunched over a tiny screw, trying to use a cheap driver to get purchase on a tiny screw scared me into holding off and ordering a decent set of precision drivers. I ordered both the Swiss Grips and Precision set at the same time.
The drivers were smaller than I expected however the quality was still top shelf. The tips seemed to be constructed to tight tolerances and the blades featured the "parallel tip".
While doing research on the drivers, I came across comments made regarding the handle material of the precision handles; Cellulose Acetate Butyrate or CAB

In short, this material has a tendency of smelling like a zombie's armpit if exposed to heat and kept confined. PB Swiss has remedied the problem:

Ice Cream Screwdrivers

If for any reason the smell overpowers the vanilla fragrance and it smells like a baby has yakked on your drivers, they will even replace them under their unlimited guarantee:

Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 16:04:00 +0100
Subject: AW: Kontakt

Dear Mr. :pimpflash

The plastic handles do contain Celluloseacetobutyrat (CAB) which is the material causing the smell (especially if you stock them in a closed area without fresh air, like for example in a drawer or in a tool case). If the smell isn’t bearable anymore, the tool can be changed for free (under guarantee). If you don’t like these plastic handles anymore, there would be an alternative, the handles made by Santoprene.

We hope this information is helpful. If you need more information, please let us know.

Best regards

Andreas Burkhalter

PB Swiss Tools GmbH

P.O. Box 182
CH-3457 Wasen/Bern
Direct P+ 41 34 437 71 16

F+ 41 34 437 71 90

Anyway enough of the nattering about handle smell and visuals. How do they perform? Well, the end cap spins freely and the handle material seems non-slip. The drivers differ in size too and although they are quite small, they function well.

 I managed to get the screw in my digital calipers out with minimal fuss. It was actually embarassing how easy it was with these. If you work with small screws, do yourself a favour and get a set of PB Swiss Precision screwdrivers. You will be glad you did. Oh, and this aint far from the truth either:

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