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IKEA Tips and Tricks: What the bit?

Posted on December 29, 2009 at 3:06 am
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ikea-pozidriv-hex-screws-allen-wrenches-3

Find out why you’re always cursing IKEA when trying to drive a screw (hint: IKEA doesn’t use Phillips head screws!) More on what type of screw they DO use, and what type of screwdriver, driver bits and other simple tools you might need in order to drive the included screws effortlessly and without damaging either the screw or your driver (or your sanity!) after the jump!

Pozidriv

The secret is out – IKEA doesn’t use a standard Phillips head screw. They use a Pozidriv screw! They may look the same, but believe me – getting a Pozidriv screwdriver or driver bit will save you some headaches, not to mention the screws! The main problem with it is that it looks too much like the Phillips head screw that most people are familiar with! The main advantage is that it withstands the application of greater torque, and has a “decreased liklihood to ‘cam out.’” Note the visible differences in the image below:

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The Phillips head is on the left; the Pozidriv head is on the right.

According to the Wikipedia entry on Pozidriv, “The differences lie in the way that the drivers are machined. The Phillips driver has four simple slots cut out of it, whereas in the case of the Pozidriv, each slot is the result of two machining processes at right angles. The result of this is that the arms of the cross are parallel-sided in the case of Pozidriv, and tapered in the case of Phillips. The pozidriv has four additional points of contact, and does not have the rounded corners that the Phillips screw drive has.”

Seriously, using a standard Phillips head screwdriver when a Pozidriv is called for can cause many problems, including stripping which is not pretty for either the driver or the screw! Do yourself a favor and pick up a Pozidriv screwdriver- especially if you have a big project like a kitchen or an entire wardrobe ahead of you. You’ll thank me later!

Hex key / Allen Wrench

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Hex key or allen wrench is also known as Allen, Inbus, zeta, or Unbrako key or wrench. It’s a tool that’s hexagonal on a cross-section and is used by IKEA extensively. IKEA frequently includes this inexpensive tool with their flat-pack furniture. According to the Wikipedia entry on Hex Keys, the advantages of hex keys are:

  • The tool is simple, small and light.
  • The contact surfaces of the screw or bolt are protected from external damage.
  • There are six contact surfaces between bolt and driver.
  • The tool can be used with a headless screw.
  • The screw can be inserted into its hole using the key.
  • Torque is constrained by the length and thickness of the key.
  • Very small bolt heads can be accommodated.

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I have to say that personally, I think hex screw heads are fabulous. They practically never skip, strip or pop out. But the hex keys and/or allen wrenches that IKEA provides are pretty cheap pot metal. Get yourself a good (metric) set and you’ll be ahead of the game.

See more on Assembly: What Tools to Use

* Pozi-driv is also sometimes misspelled as Pozi-driv, Pozi-drive, Pozidrive, Posi-driv, Posi-drive, or Posidrive and also known as Supadriv!

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6 Responses to “IKEA Tips and Tricks: What the bit?”

  1. jdanforth says:

    Thanks for the tip (no pun intended)!

    Do you know what *size* they use? #1, #2, #3?

  2. Another Chris B says:

    They vary, but mostly #2 for furniture. You’ll find some #1s on smaller items but very few #3s. #3 is big and for screwing your house together, not the contents!

    For hex keys, 3, 4, 5, 6mm should cover all Ikea stuff.

    I’m surprised about the screw head thing – here in the UK Philips screws went out in the 70s and we’ve been using ‘pozi’ pretty much exclusively since, even when they’re not metric sizes…

  3. Gyrithe Startup says:

    When will you open a store in NANAIMO? (in the middle of the island) Vancouver IslandB.C.
    CANADA???????????????????????

  4. Susan says:

    I feel your pain. Read up on IKEA’s criteria for choosing locations for their stores here: http://www.ikeafans.com/home/ikea-coming-to-my-town-new-stores/

  5. Beryl Woodhead says:

    Brill tip regarding Pozi-driv. Wish I’d known earlier! Now I have the same trouble undoing the damn screw! Off to buy a Pozi-driv now!
    Bez

  6. thank you so much for this article. I was searching for what kind of hex the sweedes over at ikea use, metric, thank you!

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