Screws are common items found in any construction or repair project, often working with metal and wood. They are ultimately a type of fastener, as are nails and staples, and are critical for holding pieces together, since their threads create a surface that materials cannot easily slip over. Because different projects call for different materials, strength of fasteners, and expected rigors of use, different screw types can be found for any project, big or small. And while a nail is merely struck into place, screws are designed to rotate in place, meaning that specially shaped tools, mainly screwdrivers, will be employed to get them to move. Undersized screws, for example, may be used in projects involving finer or smaller parts, and besides undersized screws, one can find other fastener options like micro screws, custom screws (using or ordering these may require professional guidance), and more. A screw head may vary in shape and size based on the job, and a screw manufacturer should hold its products to high quality standards for the screw head shape, the screw’s strength, and more.
Big screws, undersized screws, and more are part of a big business of construction materials. In fact, around the United States each year, over 200 billion fasteners of all kinds are used, and the whole industry for screws, nuts, and bolt manufacturing earned $30 billion in the year 2017, and this total may very well rise in the future. This industry also employs some 131,949 people, and today, screws and similar materials have standard gauges and sizes, but this was not always so. Screws, at least as a concept, date back to 200 B.C., and until 1928, when the National Screw Thread Commission established standard sizes, early screws were handmade and thus varied in shape and size (like many handmade products do). How can undersized screws and more be used today?
Screws on the Job
Screws have more tensile strength than nails do, so they can hold pieces together with greater power than nails, and they can also draw pieces together, unlike nails, making them best for long-term strength, according to Popular Mechanics. By contrast, nails are the better choice when the constructed item or materials are expected to bend or twist often.
Drivers are the indented shape in the screw head, and they come in different patterns, with the four most common ones being slotted/flathead (one long line across the head), Phillips (a plus shape), square (simply a square in the middle of the screw head), and Pozidriv, a common driver shape used in Europe (but is rare in the United States). Phillips screws are very popular in the United States, and are not as likely to have the screw driver slip out of the driver area as in a flathead, although the flathead style is still commonly used. Similarly, the square type is rapidly growing in popularity since the screw will almost definitely not slip out of the head, and the screw driver is very unlikely to be warped from being used on such a screw. On large or undersized screws alike, the shape of the head itself may vary; flat, or countersunk, screw heads are effective for centering possibilities, and whenever the screw head should not stick out of the material’s surface. An oval head is similar to a flathead, but has a rounded top, and the round type, which was mainly used in years past, has a flat bottom and round top taht sticks far above the material’s surface.