Fastener Materials and Finishes
It shouldn't’t surprise you to hear that there is no single best material for making screws, just as there is no single best fishing lure or garden fertilizer. It all depends on the application, of course. Hardened steel screws are the work horse for many situations, but are entirely unsuitable for most exterior applications unless properly coated or plated. The following short course should help you determine the best fastener for your application.
1. Un-plated Hardened Steel Screws
Un-plated Hardened Steel screws are the most popular, and are primarily used where they will not be visible or exposed to corrosive conditions. Their color variation from almost pure black through a bronze to silvery Grey does not affect quality – it is simply a result of process-variable interactions as simple as the screw’s location on the heat treat furnace conveyor belt. All McFeely’s un-plated screws receive a Dry-Lube finish which reduces driving torque requirements, but provides virtually no corrosion resistance. Hardened steel screws are the base stock for all our plated screws.
|FSL Flat Head Combo Drive||FAL Flat Head Square Drive||WRL Round Washer Head Combo Drive|
|F2l Flat Head Combo Drive # 2 recess||TST Trim Head Square Drive Metal Screw||TSO Trim Head Square Drive Wood Screw|
2. Stainless Steel Screws
Stainless Steel provides the ultimate corrosion resistance for most woodworking projects. It is softer than our hardened steel screws because stainless steel is not generally heat-treatable – the wire must be soft enough to be formed, yet hard enough to provide the desired strength. We carry stainless steel in a variety of grades. Note: Not all grades are designed to be completely “stainless”! We do not carry the 304 grade of these, the cost to performance metrics does not meet our criteria. 316 is made with more Nickel than the 305's and will hold up to salt water better. Stainless steel is inherently non-magnetic.
|FP5 305 Stainless Steel Flat Head SQ Dr||FA5 305 Stainless Steel Bugle Head Square Drive||FT5 350 Stainless Steel Flat Head Star Drive|
|FT6 316 Stainless Steel Flat Head Star Drive||SD6 316 Stainless Steel Bugle Head Square Drive||TSS Landscape Stainless Steel Hex Drive|
|PM5 Pocket-hole 305 Stainless Steel Square Drive||TA5 305 Stainless Steel Trim Head Square Drive||CSS Fiber Cement Board Stainless Flat Head SQ Drive|
|T41 Trim Head 410 Stainless Steel Square Drive|
3. Aluminum Screws
Aluminum is surprisingly strong because it work-hardens as it is formed into screws. These screws are just the thing for assembling aluminum doors, windows, or gutters because they eliminate the corrosion problems associated with the more common use of zinc-plated fasteners.
PAS Pan Head Screw
4. Solid Brass Screws
Solid Brass screws are also very soft, and virtually demand a carefully sized pilot hole to eliminate installation breakage. (Pre-threading the hole with a steel screw helps minimize this problem.) A Square Recess really makes a difference with these screws. The softness of the brass greatly increases cam-out problems with most other driver types, a situation neatly overcome by the Square Recess. Ideal for installing solid brass cabinet door and hardware
BFC Flat Head Square Drive
5. Fresh Silicon Bronze Screws
“Oxidized” Silicon Bronze screws are primarily used for marine boat building, although many people have used them to build decks made of Western Red Cedar or Redwood because the screws will eventually blend into the color of the wood. The screws right off the production line are generally the color of a fresh penny – after they have been around awhile they oxidize and darken as shown in the “Oxidized” Silicon Bronze picture. Shank diameter is the same as the outside of the treads, completely filling the clearance hole creating a seal.
SFC Flat Head Square Drive
Selecting the proper finish for your screws is a new experience for many woodworkers. After all, most of the time you don’t have a choice! If you don’t like bright zinc, or it isn't’t suitable, it’s just tough luck. We offer a wide variety of finishes and materials – not to add to the confusion – but to make sure you can have the most appropriate fastener for your task!
1. Black Oxide Screws
Black Oxide is a very popular plating because it has a black color (perfect for exposed screw heads on “High-Tech” styled products), and it provides just enough corrosion protection to prevent rusting of imported fasteners during their 3-week boat ride. Plated with Black Oxide for purely decorative reasons.
|WRK Round Washer Head, Combo Drive||FSK Flat Head Square Drive|
2. Statuary Bronze Screws
Statuary Bronze is a decorative finish designed to match the antique appearance of old cabinet hardware. Primarily dark bronze, with highlights of copper. Highlights increase on screws exposed to wear or abrasion, often used for decorative purposes, such as mounting cabinet and door hardware.
FBZ Flat head Square Drive
4. Yellow Zinc Screws
Yellow Zinc resembles Bright Brass plating, but appears more iridescent. It offers a modest amount of corrosion resistance (approx. 100 hours’ salt spray to 10% red rust).
|FMY Flat Head Square Drive||WMY Promaster Round Washer Combo Drive|
5. Clear Zinc Screws
Clear Zinc is another largely decorative plating, although it does offer a salt spray rating to 10% red rust of about 50 hours. A good choice for interior applications when working with acidic woods like red/white oak, or when the screw will be countersunk and plugged. It is a poor choice for most exterior applications.
FMZ Flat Head Square Drive
|SRZ Drawer Front Screws Round Washer Head Combo Drive|
6. NoCoRode Plus Screws
NoCoRode Plus is steel screw with one of the most corrosion-resistant platings we offer. In manufacturer conducted salt-spray testing it has exceeded 1,800 hours, making it almost 20 times more corrosion-resistant than standard Yellow Zinc plating. It works well with most outdoor woods, including ACQ pressure-treated, but use caution with Redwood, Western Red Cedar or similarly acidic woods – these tend to stain, sometimes even with stainless! And unlike the plating on hot-dipped galvanized screws, NoCoRode Plus doesn't’t chip and break. This process can have a minor amount of recess fill so we recommend using our NoCoRode Undersized driver bits. Best of all, the plating is tan colored, so that it “blends” with many pressure-treated materials.
|FCT Flat Head Square Drive||PMT Pocket-hole Square Drive||WCT Round Washer head Combo Drive|
Can’t find the answers you’re looking for? Call 800-443-7937 and ask for our Product Support Department or send us an email at email@example.com