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10 Quick Tips and Tricks for Using Fasteners

10 Quick Tips and Tricks for Using Fasteners

As a fastener business we often get some hard questions about fasteners. Sometimes though, we get questions that seem obvious to us because we have been in the industry for so long. Its hard to tell when something is common knowledge or simply something we know because we work in the industry. To remedy this, we sat down and decided to make 10 quick tips for using fasteners that outline some of the basics of fasteners we think everyone should know.

1. Don’t Use 18-8 Stainless Steel In or Near A Salt Water Environment

Salt water is great at causing rust and reducing the life of fasteners. To remedy this, we recommend using stainless steel but the correct grade of stainless steel needs to be used. We recommend using only a 316 grade stainless steel within twenty miles of the salt water environment. Otherwise the risk of oxidization (rust), even in other grades of stainless steel, are greatly increased.

2. Always Mate Hot Dip Galvanized Fasteners With Other Hot Dip Galvanized Fasteners

Hot Dip Galvanized fasteners are coated in a thick zinc protective, called hot dip galvanization, to make them less susceptible to oxidization. This thick coating creates a layer on the threading that will not match other materials that do not have this coating. Fasteners that get hot dip galvanized and have different spacing in preparation for this change in thickness. As such, they should only be used together to avoid any compatibility issues. Pro Tip: When installing fasteners it is recommended that you always try to use the same grade and material. Mixing can lead to uneven or poor results depending on the materials.

3. Always Use Fastener Lubricant on Stainless Steel Fasteners

Stainless Steel Fasteners have an invisible coating on them which makes them less likely to oxidize. The trade-off is that this coating can also cause friction between the fasteners (nut and bolt) during the installation. As this heating up occurs, the threads jam and can actually weld to each other. This is a process known as galling or cold welding. To mitigate such risks, simply apply a small amount of fastener lubricant, such as MRO 2400 Marine Grade Anti-seize, to the fasteners before installation. Not only will it deter galling but it can also help to extend the life of your fastener.

4. Always Use The Right Size Screwdriver

A Phillips head is a Phillips head, right? Wrong. Phillips head screwdrivers can also come in different sizes. These sizes may not seem to make a huge difference to you, but to the fastener the difference between a properly seated drive and one that is loose could mean a stripped head. Always make sure the driver sits fully seated into the drive recess, if there is play room between the drive and the recess, you need to find the appropriate sized drive or risk of stripping is greatly increased.

5. Never Use Stainless Steel and Aluminum Together

Stainless Steel and Aluminum are metals that have very specific cases where they can be used together. If they are used together improperly, there will be a transfer of electrons between them which can compromise the integrity of the materials leading to what is called galvanic corrosion. The easiest way to avoid galvanic corrosion is simply to use materials that match.

6. Always Pre-Drill Hardwood Before Installing Screws

There are times with softer wood where you can get away with not pre-drilling holes (although we do not recommend it). You should ALWAYS pre-drill hardwood. Hardwood is much more likely to crack or split when a screw is installed. This can ruin the finish of many products and weaken the integrity of others. Always, always, always pre-drill to ensure you do not ruin your work.

7. Stainless Steel Is A Soft Metal

This is a question we get constantly. Stainless steel is considered to be a soft metal. There are versions that can become hard metals by heating them up to change stainless steel’s properties. This process is normally called heat treatment.

8. Do Not Mix Fine and Coarse Thread Fasteners

Both fine and coarse thread fasteners have different benefits and should be used accordingly. However, it often seems that people attempt to mix them whether its by not knowing they are different or not understanding the measurements. You cannot mix threading. It will ultimately ruin the threading and result in damaged and unusable threads or a jammed fastener assembly. We recommend utilizing our Fasteners 101 section before purchasing to ensure our customers have a solid grasp on the concepts to help them purchase the fasteners they need.

9. Don’t Over-Tighten Fasteners

Fasteners have a max recommended torque for installations. To achieve this we recommend a torque wrench when installing fasteners. You can set the wrench torque so that it will slip after that force is reached. Over-tightening fasteners can actually damage the threads and compromise the integrity of the bolt.

10. You’re Not Invincible, Wear Safety Gear

We constantly and consistently see people work with fasteners without using the appropriate safety gear. This is our most important tip for you. No one is invincible. Many of the injuries can be avoided by simply wearing the appropriate gear. You will find the safety glasses much less annoying when it is preventing metal shavings from flying into your eyes. This gear exists to protect us from harm so we can build truly amazing things. Use it to keep yourself building.

There you go those are our top 10 quick tips and tricks for using fasteners. If you need more information or have questions we did not answer. Please do not hesitate to call at 866-573-0445.

Top 10 Quick Tips & Tricks For Using Fasteners

10 Tips & Tricks For Using Fasteners
Top 10 Tips & Tricks Transcript

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Bob: Welcome back to Albany County Fasteners – Fasteners 101. I’m Bob and today I wanted to give you the do’s and don’ts of fasteners. So let’s get started.

My first tip is never use 18-8 stainless steel in a coastal environment where you have salt water. You must be (at least) 20 miles away to use standard 18-8 stainless. Only use 316 stainless in a coastal environment.

My next tip is: Only use hot dipped galvanized fasteners with other mating hot dip galvanized fasteners. In other words, use a carriage bolt that’s hot dip galvanized with a nut that is hot dip galvanized. Never mix them with other finishes like zinc or plain.

When using a nylon lock nut, always use a fastener lube never use a motor oil, wd-40 or soap. These things will negatively impact the fastener over time.

My number four tip: Use the correct driver for the screw that you’re installing. A lot of people use the wrong drivers.

Never use stainless steel with aluminum. It creates a galvanic reaction between the two metals. You’ll start to see rusting and pitting between the two materials. Always use a neoprene washer between them. So this way you don’t run into that problem.

Always pre-drill hard wood. That’s a must whenever you’re installing a fastener. Specifically a wood screw, a deck screw, a sheet metal screw into wood it’s very important. Otherwise, in hard wood, you risk the situation of cracking or chipping of the wood.

Tip number seven which is really a question “is stainless steel a hard metal or a soft metal”? The answer is: it’s a soft metal. So it’s not always good to use in a structural application.

My tip number eight: Never use coarse fasteners with fine thread fasteners or OEM. Don’t use coarse with OEM or fine with OEM. Typically they will not work together.

Tip number nine: Do not over-tighten fasteners. By over-tightening, you can damage the threads and the integrity of the bolt.

Do you think you’re invincible? Always use protection! Glasses, hand gear, body (gear) depending on what you’re cutting. Always use a guard on the saw. Never remove them.

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