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Yankee Screwdrivers are the “semi-automatics” of the screw-driving world. You might have seen these growing up in your dad’s shop, but in an ironic twist the Yankee drivers are only available through Stanley in the UK. 

Once in normal driving position, you push straight down on the handle that turns the chuck and bit on the end, which in turn drives the screw.  The amount of “twist” is determined by the length of the barrel on the driver.  The longer the barrel, the more rotation you receive on the other end.

All the drivers have a 3-position selector: locked, spiral-in, and spiral-out and range in sizes from small 11″ fully extended, medium 17″ and large  which comes in at 25″ fully extended.

It’s an elegantly simple machine that has been around for decades, and though it may not be as fast as a newer electric driver, it does provide an old world craftsmanship “hands-on feel” that many woodworkers crave.

Street pricing starts at $49 plus shipping — which might be significant since they’ll be travelling overseas to many of you.  The next time we talk to Stanley we’ll beg ’em to bring ’em over to the States.

Yankee Screwdrivers [Stanley]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


9 Responses to Finds: Stanley Yankee Screwdrivers

  1. Myself says:

    Currently out of stock but distributed in the US: http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=4063

    A lot of old Bell phone guys carry Yankee drill/drivers for the occasional backboard mounting job. (You’ve seen the pile of phone crap screwed to the wall, right?) They’re faster than a manual screwdriver, more compact than a manual drill, they never leave you with a dead battery, and you’d be surprised how hard it is to find an outlet in some phone closets!

    The oddball notched-shaft chuck is a hindrance, though. They’re available with a 1/4″ hex adapter, but it adds to the length and weight of the tool. I’m disappointed that nobody has a 1/4″ native version yet. Maybe eMachineShop and I should work something out. 😉

  2. Rob says:

    There is a version (not a Yankee) with a 1/4″ hex instead of the slotted chuck. It’s supposedly made in the USA too! It has a blue plastic handle and works like the original except for the quick release hex bit end. As soon as I get a chance I’ll take a look at mine and see who the manufacturer is. One of the nice things about it was it was only $20 (the larger version was less than $25).


  3. Simon says:

    Here are some made in Japan – available from Lee Valley:


  4. bodiby says:

    I will second what Myself said about the Bell guys. The first time I ever saw this tool was when the phone guy was installing a second line for me. This was back in the early 90’s.

  5. byates says:


    For a hex drive version from several merchants, might want to avoid ACE at that price.

  6. John says:

    I have a Yankee by Norton Bros Mfg Co Dates back too around 1920.One of the handist tools I have.And yes it did belong to my father.I just turned 70.

  7. Jim says:

    I’m trying to get a medium or large version of an Original Stanley Yankee. I used to use one when I worked for a sporting goods store when I was in Highschool a good 30 years ago. I used to snap off the heads of screws when mounting ski bindings. I really would like to have one at my new job as there is a lot of screwing involved, and the rechargables always seem to let me down.

  8. Dick says:

    I have made my own 1/4 inch bit holders for my “Yankees”. I bought regular factory made screwdrivers with the !/4 inch bit holder. Make sure the shank is of 1/4 inch at least, most are. With a hacksaw and a small hand file, I had a very usable 1/4 inch bit holder for the #30 “Yankees” I have. I also made one for the #135 size by chucking the cut off screwdriver shaft in my drill press and using the hand file to turn down the shaft to the size necessary for the #135 size. You will need one of the old yankee bits to get the right spacing for the notch spacing so the new bit can be held in the “Yankee”. I used the “Yankees” in high school and also in the US Navy as a boat repair specialist.

  9. John Adams says:

    Is there a cataloge available ( with the older style bits and components? I have older units that belonged to my father and I love them and use them regularly but am short of usable bits. Many of the hardwares in my area know the Stamley Yankee Screwdriver but are not able to get components for the old style. Why is the company not premoting this valuable tool in the USA.

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