Every now and then we get tools sent to us from companies we’re unfamiliar with. When some Vessel hand tools came to our door our curiosity piqued around both the brand and the build quality of the tools. Japanese Vessel Co, Inc makes (in Japan) hand tools, bits & holders, air tools, air nippers, and even a gasoline impact wrench & hammer drill.
Vessel Hand Tools Lineup
In the Vessel hand tools category, they have an assortment of drivers, ratchets, hammers, and cutting tools. Drivers of one sort or another make up the majority of Vessel’s products. Vessel tools has their Megadora line, eco-friendly driver, fusion grip drivers, wood-handled, and standard cellulose acetate handled models that look like your father’s old Craftsman screwdrivers. On the fancier side, they offer ball-grip, tang-through drivers like the Milwaukee demo driver screwdrivers, and precision tools for more detailed work.
The following tools came to us for an up-close examination:
- No.TD-6816MG Ratchet Screwdriver (16-pc bit set)
- No.930 Megadora Tang-Thru Screwdriver
- No.8806BP/ No.8809BP Rainball L-Wrenches
- No.2200 Ball Ratchet Screwdriver
Vessel Ratcheting Screwdriver 16-pc Bit Set
Aide from those more traditional drivers, they have ratcheting models, offset drivers, and hex key wrenches. Of these we thought the ratcheting driver was rather compact and efficient. The bits are contained within the handle—but the ratcheting mechanism is one of the narrowest we’ve seen, and they have two bit inserts which hold 8 1-inch bits each. In that way you can load up two different sets to bring with you depending upon what kind of work you have that day. That’s one driver and 16 bits in your bag. Even with the bit storage, it’s the ability to have more clearance which is the big win for this set.
We grabbed the Vessel ratcheting screwdriver and used it to quickly take the Schlage Camelot Touchscreen deadbolt hardware off a new Simpson Craftsman door. We were putting a coat of urethane, and that requires that the door be free of handles and locks. The catching mechanism feels confident, and we had no slips. The mechanism also uses a nicely recessed dial. While out of the way, the dial stays accessible—so you don’t automatically turn it off or reverse it. I can’t tell you how often this occurs with some other ratcheting screwdrivers we’ve used.The 8-bit insert stays int he tool and doesn’t fall out, yet it doesn’t take a herculean effort to free it or to pop out whatever bit you need. Speaking of bits—our set came with seven Torx security bits.
Vessel Megadora Tang-Thru Screwdriver
The Vessel Megadora tang-thru screwdriver is apparently what happens when a Milwaukee demo screwdriver mates with a hexagonal bolstered Southwire screwdriver. You get the additional torquability of the hexagonal bolster just south of the handle. The tang-through design lets you beat on the driver handle when needed. You know you do it, so why not just get a set of drivers that can take it and keep going?
Vessel Ball Ratchet Screwdriver
The Vessel ball ratchet screwdriver has a handy magnetic tip, convenient for putting in screws when in close quarters. We used it to replace the Schlage handle on our aforementioned front door project. Like the ratchet screwdriver and bit set, the mechanism is easy to use but out of the way. The ball driver gives you a bit more ergonomics, and also offers some precision control. For higher torque applications you’ll want to go with something a bit more robust. Still, I found it handy for a lot of lower torque applications.
Vessel Rainball L-Wrenches (Allen Wrenches)
The Vessel Rainball L-Wrenches were a favorite of the set. Their colorful presentation and simple packaging was easy to notice and appreciate. While compact, I do think the removal and storage of the Allen wrenches was a tad difficult—at least initially. This is due to the tight fit within the small hinged holding case. Still, once you realize that you just need to twist the desired bit in one direction (and the adjacent bit in the other direction) to remove it, things became much smoother.
Vessel hand tools bring some excellent design to the world of drivers and ratcheting products. The downside may be that you can (currently) only buy them online via eBay and some small storefronts. Will we see them in a wider distribution anytime soon? Who knows. What we do know is that these drivers seem well-made, and they have some nice features. We’d love to see them in wider U.S. distribution and think that other manufacturers could stand to pick ups few of their cues.
For more information, check out Vessel website.