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I hit a yard sale this weekend and spotted a small plastic box with hex keys and ignition wrenches for a buck. I have a terrible weakness for ignition wrenches, so I bought it.

When I spilled out the contents of the box I noticed that what I thought were hex keys were in fact Bristol Spline Drivers. I probably would have thought they were Torx, had the previous owner not labeled the masking tape that held them together in a set.

As you can see, they have 6 splines for positively engaging the Bristol screw head. There was one 4-flute driver as well. Of course I have only one object with Bristol spline screws — the rear sight on one of my vintage Sheridan air rifles uses a 4-flute screw. Unfortunately the wrench I have now is not the right size, which is typical. But at least I have them now in case I run across any other Bristol screws in the future! I do appreciate the previous owner taking the time to keep his oddball tools labeled.


5 Responses to Yard Sale Find: 6 and 4-Flute Bristol Drivers

  1. turtleman1 says:

    I bought a set of Snap-On Bristol wrenches about 30 years ago. I can’t remember why (or if) I needed them…and to this day I never encountered a Bristol screw on any of my jobs.

  2. fred says:

    I have a set of Xcellite bristol drivers (blades that fit 99 series handle) that were used to get into some ancient hi-fi equipment that I once had

  3. steve says:

    From Wikipedia:

    “Bristol set screws are currently used in avionics, higher-end communications equipment, cameras, air brakes, construction and farm equipment, astronomy, and military equipment. At one time they were common in refrigeration equipment as well. They are frequently used to secure knobs on front panel controls or gears on shafts, where extreme tightening is required.”


  4. Bob in IL says:

    I bought a set of Vaco Bristol Spline wrenches back in the 1980s and used them to dismantle military communications equipment. As stated above, they were often used as set screws to fasten knobs to control shafts.

  5. KaiserM715 says:

    Why not give whole post dedicated to how to find yard sales with tools, what to look for, negotiating, etc. I would like to buy more things at yard sales, but all it seems anyone has is clothes and abused furniture….

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