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Confused by screws - wanting to get kitted out

Discussion in 'Tools and Materials' started by d000hg, 10 Apr 2019.

  1. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Not common, but I did a restaurant fit-out last year which was in a listed building and the fit-out was all hardwood with solid brass furniture, etc - in keeping with the general "feel" of the building we used slotted brass screws throughout (where the screws were visible) and every single screw head was "dressed". A minor detail, I know, but nonetheless when the client is paying out several millions it's worth getting the detail just so

    We certainly nailed a lot more stuff than we do nowadays (I started in 1970) - partly because screws were a lot more expensive, especially brass and bronze ones. On rip-outs we used to remove and keep non-ferrous screws to fund the tea kitty. We also used to pilot drill a lot more than nowadays - generally with either a corded electric drill (B&D, Wolf and Stanley-Bridges were favourites), an "egg-whisk" or a Stanley Yankee Handyman 46 (pump action pilot drill). Did you realise that B&D started to manufacture electric drills in the UK in the early 1930s? Electric drills were therefore in ever-increasing use from the 1950s onwards. Stanley screwsink bits were a godsend on lower grade tasks where you needed to drill many dozens of holes (e.g. a pub bar unit) as they speeded things up considerably. Bigger size screws (#14 and above) were often driven with either a "Scotch spindle" (a massively long, heavy screwdriver which could be used in "deck screws" whilst standing up) or using a brace and turnscrew (screwdriver) bit. Electricians sometimes had a special 5in throw brace specifically designed to make driving smaller screws faster (the bigger the throw the slower the speed you can operate the brace). Smaller stuff was often handled with a Yankee screwdriver (they came in 3 main sizes) but polished work was ALWAYS screwed together using a cabinet pattern turnscrew unless you had a death wish because Yankees were prone to slipping out of the screw slot and skittering across the workpiece! This ruined the carefully done stain and polish and was a finable "offence" where I worked.

    Still the case - screws are slower and more costly than nails and always have been and flooring and stud walls are fundamentally high volume, low cost (relatively) jobs. The only difference is that these days we tend to gas or air nail
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2019
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  2. EddieM

    EddieM

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    @JobAndKnock why did you use longer screwdrivers for big screws? (sorry, it is a bit of a trick question :D: )
     
  3. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Oddly enough the bigger the screw head size the longer the screwdriver. Screwdrivers had (once upon a time) graduated handle sizes as well, so a bigger size screwdriver would also have a longer, larger diameter handle which would be easier to grip and turn than a smaller diameter one. It would also allow you to apply more power by dint of slightly tilting the screwdriver to one side (or "camming out"). BTW it was quite common in my trade to have to regrind tips to exactly match odd sizes of screws in order to get a good fit of the tip in the slot (and thus prevent the tip from slipping out of the slot). The flat sections on cabinet turnscrews and London-pattern turnscrews also allowed you to attach an adjustable wrench to the screwdriver spindle to exert more pressure on stubborn screws

    The Scotch spindles mentioned above allowed you to put a fair bit of your body weight onto the screw in order to exert even more pressure when trying to release really stubborn screws
     
    Last edited: 3 Aug 2019
  4. EddieM

    EddieM

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    A very good answer if I may say so. There is a popular misconception that the longer the shaft on a screwdriver, the greater the torque it can apply.... well not by any laws of physics it can't. But.... There's always a but, the longer the shank of a screwdriver the chance of locating the head squarely in the screw goes up, just geometry, hence the misconception.
     
  5. d000hg

    d000hg

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    Maybe in construction... Nail guns are awesome... But I've seen a lot of MDF flooring which is screwed. Possibly it is less likely to bounce, or maybe for DIY use most people have an electric driver but very few have a nail gun.

    Personally I'd love a DeWalt battery nail gun but I can't justify it :)
     
  6. EddieM

    EddieM

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    Justification?? dirty word, I have a paslode IM360Ci it's great!! get one only about 500 sheets :LOL:
     
  7. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Yes, well, you'd expect that from a chippie..... As to flooring - it will be probably be plywood or chipboard or just possibly OSB that you've seen screwed and is unlikely to be MDF which is neither as strong nor as waterproof and so isn't much used (although it is used in stair treads where the fine grain allows for bullnoses on the treads). Bounce iin floors is removed by using appropriate size and grade joists and installing strutting (solid or herring bone) as required.

    Personally I don't like nailing sheet materials in domestic environments. I think that screwing and glueing are far preferable, especially on single-skin floors, although in some circumstances, such as stabilising old mill floors, etc where multiple layers of plywood are being applied nailing is really the only option due to the area of flooring and sheer volume of fixings required. On that task, though, no cordless or gas nailer can survive (believe me, I've tried 'em) - they all overheat and seize-up (especially the newer Passlodes) so we tend to use pneumatic nail guns which seen to go on forever
     
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