Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Screw it all
A tool with all the bits in the right place
By MAG RUFFMAN, Special to QMI Agency

The Scruzol is a Canadian invention that elegantly merges screwdrivers and drill bits.

More from Mag Ruffman:
Tool school
Don't be a tool

I have a new favourite tool – the Scruzol. It’s inspiring in 7 ways:

1. It was invented by a Canadian.

2. When you use it, you think, “Well, that’s just plain hot.”

3. You’ll never drop another screw again, nor have to climb down the ladder to retrieve it.

4. It sticks to the fridge, so you always know where to find it.

5. It’s the last multi-bit screwdriver you’ll ever buy.

6. You have every driver bit you need, whether you’re working manually or with a power drill.

7. If you drop your keys down a sewer grate, you can get them back fast by securing the Scruzol to a string and lowering it into the breach.

Bit for life

When Ottawa inventor Peter Kielland (a descendant of the Norwegian physician who invented the Kielland forceps, which some of us will remember from birth) decided that the world needed a better multi-bit screwdriver, he didn’t mess around.

He engineered a kick-butt little unit that carries 12 bits (including the superior Robertson square-head, also invented by a Canadian). The bits are magnetized in position, so they’re really easy to remove with a flick of the fingernail, unlike many multi-bit screwdrivers that make a grunt-fest out of removing a bit from a tight shaft.

And the inventor also gave the Scruzol a double-ended socket so you can insert the entire tool into your power drill OR use it as a manual screwdriver. This is insanely convenient, because you no longer need a set of manual screwdrivers and a separate set of driver bits for your power drill.

Stick at heart

The powerful rare-earth magnet embedded in the centre of the Scruzol handle transmits magnetic force into the screw you’re using, so you never drop the screw from the bit-tip. And rare earth is the lamprey leech of the magnetic world, with five to 15 times the sucking power of a common magnet, so even a really long screw won’t fall off the Scruzol.

If you’re working on a lawnmower, boat or car, the Scruzol adheres conveniently to a nearby steel surface, or you can store the unit somewhere obvious, like on a toolbox, the fridge door, the glove compartment or your belt buckle.

Steel away

I used my Scruzol to undo rusted-out old screws on an aging mailbox, so I can vouch for the quality of the S2 steel bits – they’re not cheesy and don’t strip. You can interchange Scruzol bits with your own bits if you’re working with specialized sizes or types of screws. The Scruzol comes with 12 of the most commonly used bits:

• Flathead or slothead 1/4, 3/16

• Hex M4, M5 (Allen keys)

• Phillips 1, 2, 3 (the kind with an X in the head)

• Square 1, 2, 3 (also known as Robertson)

• Torx 25, 30 (star-shaped heads commonly used in automobiles)

At $19.99, the Scruzol is a little pricier than some of the bone-cheap multi-bit screwdrivers out there, but if quality means anything to you, you’ll be happy to spend that much for the excellent thinking and materials that have gone into its compact design.

Oh, and here’s a fitting Canadian epilogue – the first retailer to pick up the Scruzol was Canadian Tire. We Canadians know a good tool when we see one.

Mag Ruffman appears weekdays on “Real Life,” starting October 18 on CTS. Visit her website at

Renovation archive

What do you think is a reasonable price for a kitchen renovation?
$10, 000
$25, 000
$50, 000
$100, 000