Screws & Fasteners
Assembling cabinets, furniture, toys, and other woodworking projects means getting to know a variety of fasteners, from standard wood screws to brads and several types of adhesives. On these pages, you'll get acquainted with them all.
Screws & Fasteners
The Right Screw Begins With The MetalSteel screws represent the least expensive and most common type. They're strong, but like your car, they'll rust. That's why steel screws normally have a shiny plating of cadmium or zinc chromate. Unplated screws start with a blue hue, but eventually oxidize to a rust-brown color. When you need high strength plus corrosion resistance, opt for stainless-steel screws.
You might have to special order them (your hardware store can do that), as well as pay double the price, but they'll hold up outdoors. Steel case-hardened screws, originally developed for the manufacture of particleboard products, prove exceptionally tough because they've been heat-tempered. Case-hardened screws have a dull, flat-black finish and a skinny shank. They're used most often with a power screwdriver for driving into hardwood and particleboard.
For projects exposed to the weather, you'll want them galvanized or plated, at, of course, higher cost. With case-hardened screws, you can choose from two thread styles. Double-leads, or "hi-lo," have twin threads and work well in hardwoods. One-thread, single-lead styles are best for softwoods and particleboard because they hold. (See illustration below.)
Single-Lead Thread Double-Lead ThreadExposed, brass screws can add a handsome accent, match brass hardware, and endure the elements. But, they're not as strong as steel, and may twist off if you drive them into too small a pilot hole. Their slots also will wear. However, in projects calling for oak, which contains a tannic acid that reacts with ferrous metal, woodworkers choose brass to avoid staining.
Aluminum screws corrode quickly in contact with dissimilar metals and twist off easier than brass if you apply too much muscle. So, they're an unlikely choice for woodworking, except when your project demands aluminum hardware.