Fasteners for a lasting, firm hold
Choosing suitable fasteners
Finally, as a means of maintaining outdoor projects, we rely on all kinds of chemical solutions. We use bleaches and cleaners to kill mildew and revive surfaces. On the downside, we sometimes add salt to dissolve ice on a deck and improve traction. But while these additives may well keep outdoor wood looking good or make it safer to walk on, they abuse and destroy the protective coatings on fasteners. So, after pondering the type of project you're building, carefully read the following pages on screw features and the chart located at the end of the story, to choose suitable fasteners for the job. Then, check out "Screw-Driving Tips" below and the photo, to see how you can best put your selected fasteners to work. If using screws, consider going with an impact driver.
Lubricate: Extra lubrication reduces torque and helps save protective coatings. Beeswax works, and the cheapest and easiest source for the lubricant is a toilet wax ring. Just be sure to clean off the excess wax with mineral spirits before finishing.
Predrill and plug: If you don't have hundreds of screws to drive, it's worth your time to predrill. For a furniture-quality look, counterbore to hide screwheads deep in the wood. Then fill the counterbored recesses with plugs made from leftover scrap. Doing this improves appearance, and protects the fastener as well.
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