Author Topic: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver  (Read 392 times)

Online Coal Creek Griff

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Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« on: March 20, 2020, 05:47:32 pm »
I posted this under the Colt section too. I'm not sure of the best location. Sorry for posting more than one identical posts.

I'm contemplating trying to make a screwdriver similar to the ones issued with early SAA revolvers. Can anyone provide approximate measurements to guide my efforts? I'm thinking of hollow grinding the tips and fitting them to the screws of my reproductions.

Thanks.

CC Griff
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Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2020, 06:50:27 pm »
I made one a number of years back, maybe 10.  I used a weldable bar stock so I could heat treat it for some strength.  But, I do believe it was strong enough as shaped.

I do not remember if I found actual measurements or if I did a proportional calculation from a photo.

But here are the final measurements of my finished screwdriver.:::: Long leg on the outer edge 3 - 3/8" & on the inside edge is 2 - 7/8".  Short leg on the outer edge is 15/16" on the inner edge is 9/16".  The short leg is 5/16" tapered to 1/4" at tip.  The long leg is 5/16" tapered to 3/16".  I also hollow ground both tip but I used a round file the best I could.  I filed the whole screw driver.  It is not factory perfect but it works.

Good luck, I really like how mine came out and I did use it to remove some screws to check strength and for screw slots.  I still use my Brownells' for all repairs.  But to me it would look cool at shoots or reenactment.
Black River Smith

Online Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2020, 07:27:46 pm »
Excellent! I appreciate the detailed response. The only time that I envision using one is to snug up the base pin retaining screws on my old model revolvers when I'm at the range. Mostly I just think that accessories like those are cool AND it's a project that I can work on while the world has come to a halt...

If anyone has an original, I'd still like to confirm the measurements, including the thickness.

CC Griff
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Offline Dan Topper

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2020, 10:48:15 pm »
I made one once using a nipple wrench from Uberti. I ground the one end off until flat and then filed until I had a screwdriver on the large end. I don't remember where I read it, but I had heard that was how Colt had started making them. I have no idea if that has any truth to it or not. This determined the size I ended up making it. Hope this helps you some. I would love to hear the dimensions of an original too. 

Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2020, 07:54:15 am »
I have a cased 2nd Gen Colt Navy that came with a nipple wrench.  It is 3 7/16 on the long leg and 11/16 on the short leg to where it flairs into the nipple wrench portion.  The legs are 5/16 at the L tapering to 3/16 at the beginning of the screw driver.  I hope this helps.
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Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2020, 03:22:16 pm »
Sorry forgot about the thickness factor.  I used 3/16" bar stock.

For myself I went for two widths of the screwdriver blades so that they would fit the width of the different screws to be taken out.  The small blade was used for the trigger and hand screws, less tension.  The wider blade was used for the hammer, hand/trigger spring and the main spring, that have more tension on them.  This was my logic and from the looks of originals, this made sense, also.
Black River Smith

Online Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2020, 04:43:19 pm »
Thanks again. This is another one of my quarantine projects.

CC Griff
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Offline St. George

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2020, 09:12:03 am »
If you're going to do this - mark it so you don't further muddy the waters.

Scouts Out!
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Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2020, 11:32:53 am »
Coal Creek,

So, I went looking for pictures of these in my books.  The first good picture I came across was in 'The Peacemakers' by Wilson on page 108.  Think that is the one I used.  That one has a tapered edge and cut at an angle.

Also Graham, Kopec, and Moore's book 'A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver' has a nice photo of all accoutrements on page 291.  But no measurements given.  It is also tapered like your picture.  I did not have is book back when I made mine.
Black River Smith

Online Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2020, 12:08:20 pm »
If you're going to do this - mark it so you don't further muddy the waters.

Scouts Out!

Good point. I have a small Celtic cross stamp to mark the metal.

Coal Creek,

So, I went looking for pictures of these in my books.  The first good picture I came across was in 'The Peacemakers' by Wilson on page 108.  Think that is the one I used.  That one has a tapered edge and cut at an angle.

Also Graham, Kopec, and Moore's book 'A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver' has a nice photo of all accoutrements on page 291.  But no measurements given.  It is also tapered like your picture.  I did not have is book back when I made mine.

Thanks for the info. I'll also look more into my own library too.

CC Griff
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Online Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2020, 12:46:27 pm »
Here's a picture from p.356 of Keith Cochran's "Colt Peacemaker Encyclopedia" Vol. 1.  The text indicates that the round screwdriver is 1.310 inches in diameter. Now I have some math to do, but it should give me a pretty good idea of the dimensions.

CC Griff
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Online Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2020, 03:21:47 pm »
It's nice to be married to a mathematician. I took some measurements from the above photo and she did the calculations. We could have saved the effort; it came out virtually the same as Black River Smith's. I think that I'm on the right track. Hopefully I can work on it this week.

Thanks again, fellas.

CC Griff
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Online Coffinmaker

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2020, 10:44:59 am »

 ::)   I got kinda curious about this "Colt" screwdriver thing.  I finally found one, touted as an "original" (It certainly wasn't) with an absolutely absurd price tag.  It was the same as the photograph Coal Creek originally posted.  Absolutely brandy Damed new.  $95 Yankee Dollars.  Atz an absurd price tag.

What I don't understand about the tool is the inability to get any real torque on it for stubborn screws.  I think the short end (for larger screws) might be viable but the long end is only large enough for the thumb and a folded index finger.  It would work to get loose screws back to "snug" but I doubt "tight" would be a consideration.

Still a cute accessory tool for a display though.  I have a really neat "cross" tool that does a real good job though.

Online The Pathfinder

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2020, 12:56:18 pm »
Ok, had to dig, but I found two of these in my parts box. Both, I believe are replicas. Here is a pic with measurements of both of them. Hope it helps.

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Online Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2020, 10:57:57 am »
Thanks, gents.  Pathfinder, I really appreciate the measurements that you sent.

Coffinmaker, I pulled the image from the same eBay ad that you found.  I was just using it to illustrate which kind of screwdriver I was talking about.  You're right--at this point they are of rather little practical use.  I was hoping to have something that I could use to make sure that none of the screws were getting loose while I was at the range, but for any real work, my Brownell's screwdrivers will be used.  Mainly, though, I just think that this kind of stuff is interesting.

I'm attaching a photo of my first attempt to make one of these.  I marked it with my Celtic cross stamp, although I doubt that anyone would have taken my product as an original; I am not the craftsman that many here are.  Note that it is hollow ground to fit my guns' screws.  With this attempt, though, I made a fundamental mistake.  I'm among friends, so I'll admit to it.  I had thought that I had grabbed a piece of high-carbon steel from my scrap bin.  I should have realized that it was low carbon by how easily I was able to work with it.  Just after I took the below picture, I attempted to harden the piece in preparation for tempering it.  No, it didn't harden.  It is way too soft to actually be used, so I now have a template/practice piece for my next attempt.  Oh well, it's not like I have plans to go anywhere these days...

Again, I appreciate all who have added to my efforts here!

CC Griff
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Online Coffinmaker

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2020, 03:56:37 pm »


He likes it!!  He likes it!!  Hey, I think your first attempt is really KOOL!!!  I especially like the cross stamp.  While I don't see the thing as really and truly useful, I do think it is an excellent curio to go with one's pistols. 

Actually though, with a hardened sample example and being hollow ground it will be quite useful to snug up screws on a gun that constantly shoots it's screws loose.  Do include that cross stamp though.  The cross is just a great topper.
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Online Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2020, 04:11:50 pm »
Thanks, Coffinmaker!

CC Griff
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Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2020, 01:09:29 pm »
Interesting project. I believe I might have to do this if and when I can ever piddle in the knife shop again.

Pathfinder, what is the thickness of the material those you have are made of?
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Online The Pathfinder

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2020, 01:46:26 pm »
one measures .08" and the other between .08" towards the long end and .09"at the 'L'.

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2020, 11:14:38 pm »
Thanks Pathfinder. Probably made from 3/32 stock, thinner than I would have thought.
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Offline St. George

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2020, 11:27:16 am »
These weren't issued to every soldier - they were found in the Artificer's tool kit, as were the other cleaning tools for small arms.

They were also used with the M1909 DA revolver and even the Model 1896 DA .38s and variants - but smaller.

That's why they're found in new condition - not because they're modern-made replicas.

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Online Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Colt L-Shaped Screwdriver
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2020, 01:17:13 pm »
Thanks for the updated background info. I have yet to start on my Mk. 2 version.

CC Griff
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