When you walk down the hardware aisle in a home repair store you can’t help but notice the many different types of fasteners available. This can make choosing the right fastener for the job a little confusing. The range of choices is overwhelming and knowing which one is best for your job is difficult. Anchors, eye bolts, machine screws, spring nuts, weld screws, and simple wood screws are just a few of the possibilities you have to choose from when looking at fasteners. And you have an even bigger list including specialty fasteners if you go to a special fastener store.
So how do you choose the right one?
There is one basic starting point when it comes to fasteners. What kind of materials are you looking to fasten together? Or what kind of job are you trying to do.
Are you looking to hold two things together?
Are you trying to hold something to a wall or hang it from a ceiling?
How heavy is the object?
How much use or abuse will it get?
How long do you want them to stay together? (Permanent or temporary just while you are doing something else)
Then what kind of materials are you working with?
Fasteners (nails, nuts, bolts, screws, washers, etc.) hold together a myriad of manufactured products from toys to spacecraft and everything in between. They are also used by almost every home owner regularly for projects around the house. Fasteners are manufactured in a wide range of materials from common steel to brass, titanium, plastic and other exotic materials. Many materials are further separated into different grades to describe specific alloy mixtures, hardening processes, etc. In addition, some materials are available with a variety of coatings or plating to protect from corrosion, to improve appearance, or to achieve some special property such as controlling the amount of torque required to tighten a threaded fastener.
Today, the U.S. fastener industry is a multi-billion dollar segment of the economy. There are a large and varied number of companies centered on the main purchasers of fastener products, including the automotive, aerospace, and military sectors. But despite this fact or maybe because of it, there are a huge number of different fasteners manufactured for use around the home and there are more being invented every day.
If you are anything like the average “do it yourself” handyman, you have a large collection of screws, nuts and bolts etc. store around the house. They may be stored in jars or in neatly labeled organizers. Unfortunately, no matter how many you have, you are always needing more or a different one then the ones you have. You never seem to have just the right one for the job at hand.
It’s been said that man’s invention of nails, rivets, screws, and other basic fasteners helped pave the road from the Stone Age to the Space Age. And this is probably true.
While it would be impossible to review each of the different fasteners and their use, over the next article or two I will be talking about some of the main ones that we use around the house on a regular basis.