June 16, 2010

The turn of the screw

I'm writing today about one of the best things ever to come out of Canada--and that's saying something--and I'll do my best not to be puerile. But I'm talking about a great screw. If they're so great, why aren't they used universally, you may ask ... the story seems to be one of greed, poor marketing, and politics. As interesting as that sounds, it's not my story to tell, but if you're industrious, you'll probably be able to find it on the internet.

Incidentally, am I the only person who thinks "puerile" ought to be pronounced "poo AIR isle" and not "Pure Ill"?

So ... I was talking about screws and screwing. Every now and then I find myself taking something apart, and because I'm amazingly cheap when it comes to little things, I remove and save the screws and bolts I might be able to reuse ... because I hate having to run downtown for the odd screw (come on!), and in fact I keep my nuts in a coffee can.

Now can we just get on with it?

I'm to the point where I will generally throw away slotted screws when I find them, because they're just a pain to deal with. It's good to have some around if you want to match hardware on an older piece of furniture, but generally, they're of little use to me.

I feel the same way about Phillips head screws. They're better, and they're the home center standard, I guess, but the screws you find in the home centers are, in my experience, pretty crappy, especially if you're driving them with a power driver ... even if you drill appropriate pilot holes and use the clutch on your driver. And when you strip out the head of one of these, you're well, screwed.

Note that I'm talking about wood screws here, not deck screws or drywall screws ... I do not encourage the use of drywall screws except for hanging drywall due to their brittle nature. In particular, I don't love seeing heavy upper cabinets hung with them. Probably it's fine to do so. Probably.

But for the projects I'm working on, and for all my wood screw needs for the foreseeable future, I'm going with Robertson or square drive screws. Like this guy and this guy, Robertson screws are a Canadian product, and once you've used square drive wood screws, other screws will just annoy you. Why? First and last, they do not tend to strip out. They'll also stay on the end of your square-head screwdriver, so you can probably get a screw started with one hand ... very convenient.

I'll wait.

Not sure what else you need to know, except where to get them, since most stores don't carry them, except the pan head variety used for pocket hole joinery. Where to get them is McFeely's ... check out their catalog, which will tell you more about screws than you thought it was possible to know. It's like the Kama Sutra of screws. And they sell square drive deck and drywall screws, too.

It's ... well, it's this.

This is not a paid endorsement! I just want you to be happy.

2 comments:

Rosemary said...

Wow, this post is simply festooned with links! (BTW, shouldn't that be in your list of "themes"?)

Jim said...

Yes, and the links amuse me endlessly, I must admit.