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If you buy your screwdriver tips at the home center, then you have probably figured out they are made from recycled chewing gum. They are, for the most part, worthless. The steel is too soft, the tips are malformed and they fall out of the driver constantly. (Other than that, they’re great!)

And if you happen to use slotted screws (as I do), then you are in even more trouble. The slotted tips are wedge-shaped, not parallel. As a result, there is little contact between the driver and drivee. And so your bit is more likely to slip.

Lucky for us, gunsmiths are particular people. So we can buy a very well-made set of these bits and use them in any driver. I bought my kit from Brownell’s more than a year ago, and I am happy to report they are outstanding. They fit so well I can stick a fastener on the end of the bit and conduct an orchestra.

Brownell’s offers a dizzying array of bit sets. I bought the Standard Set No. 2 with 24 bits. The price? $43.

Yes, I know you can make your own hollow-ground bits. You can also make you own tack rags.

— Christopher Schwarz

Want to read Day 1 of my gift guide? Click here.

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Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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