Author Topic: Decent Slotted Screws?  (Read 5317 times)

dkeller_nc

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Decent Slotted Screws?
« on: June 03, 2008, 08:33:47 AM »
All - Never thought I'd post something like this, but I'm having trouble locating high-quality unplated slotted wood screws.  I've been using a giant stash I inherited from my grandfather's workshop for the last 5 years or so, and I'm about out. 

I find square-drive and phillips all over the 'net at the usual suspects like Rockler and McFeely's, and I can get really crappy zinc-plated soft slotted screws at the local hardware store, but nothing like the ones I'm used to that were made in the 1950s.  I realize it may not be possible to find any additional stock that are the same quality, but I'd settle for un-plated, slotted, wood screw thread, and reasonably well hardened.

Any ideas?
Period Furniture & Carving as a hobby - about 20 years woodworking

Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 09:50:21 AM »
Many years ago suppliers made unplatted slotted wood screws but only if you bought in quantities of 1,000.  I have not found any since.  You have to strip the platting in muratic (sp?) acid.  15-30 seconds is all it takes.  But only do it outdoors.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Retired Dec. 2018.

msiemsen

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2008, 10:22:44 AM »
A quick search on the web found plated screws, these are unplated but you would have to buy in bulk
http://www.schneiderpipeorgans.com/Screw_Inventory/
Mike
Mike Siemsen
Green Lake Clock Company
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dkeller_nc

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2008, 01:14:43 PM »
Mike/Dennis - thanks for the advice.  I dang sure wouldn't have thought of a Pipe Organ company as a source for wood screws, I may give them a try.

Dennis - The issue I have with removing the plating isn't the danger (I'm a chemical engineer - HCl (muratic) acid is no big deal), it's the fact that the plated ones I can get aren't hardened.  I couldn't quite figure out why I kept breaking them off in hardwood (even with pre-drilling the holes) until I read Chris Schwarz's article in the latest Woodworking Magazine where he identifies the issue.  Well worth a read if you have a subscription or a copy of the latest issue.
Period Furniture & Carving as a hobby - about 20 years woodworking

msiemsen

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2008, 01:59:13 PM »
here they are by the thousand http://www.freemansupply.com/IndustrialPackSlot.htm

another place http://www.boltdepot.com/wood-screws.aspx  smaller quantities would be easier to test

custom http://www.oemfasteners.net/My_Homepage_Files/Page1.html  roll your own!

I believe the screw article was by Glen Huey, Chris can't get credit for everything
Mike
Mike Siemsen
Green Lake Clock Company
There are II kinds of people in the world. Those that can read roman numerals and those that can't

Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2008, 02:23:16 PM »
I don't understand why you would want hardened wood screws.  Just drill a little larger pilot hole for the threaded part of the screw when using hard maple and make sure it is drilled deep enough.  I do this and it works just fine.  Fastenal.com also sells slotted wood screws bulk.  This company and Freeman Supply are the two that I use.

Dennis Bork
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Retired Dec. 2018.

klkirkman

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2008, 07:45:15 PM »
If you would consider bronze screws, the wood boatbuilding field went through the chewing gum screw situation, and now has some trusted suppliers of high quality slotted screws.

I understabnd that this may not be useful to you due to authenticity.

Karl
Karl

dkeller_nc

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2008, 10:21:11 AM »
Dennis - One reason for wanting hardened screws beyond the potential for snapping the screws off in the work is preserving the slot.  The antiques I've been using have perfect slots after I drive them (by hand with a screwdriver).  The ones from Lowes/Home Depot seem to be so soft that the slots are quite torn up by the time they're driven in, though the screwdriver fits the slot perfectly.

Mike - Quite right about the author.  I tend to associate everything in Woodworking Mag with Chris Schwarz because he (almost) always writes the Woodworking Mag Blog. 

Karl - I'd be interested in bronze screw suppliers.  Unless I'm willing to buy wrought iron from the Real Wrought Iron company in the UK and file my own screws (I'm not!), nothing I use is going to be authentic anyway - I just don't want the screws to scream "reproduction!" by virtue of a square-drive or phillip's head.
Period Furniture & Carving as a hobby - about 20 years woodworking

Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2008, 10:50:23 AM »
The slotted screws I buy from Fastenal and Freeman Supply hold up quite well (no stripping of the slotted head). 

I off the wood working subject here, but-
Might I suggest you not buy the screws (or other quality items) from Home Depot.  I have found out that they contract with name brand suppliers to have items made cheaper for them.  That way the public sees a name brand item but for less money.  The same might be true for the screws.
Don't get me wrong, I still shop at HD but with caution.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Retired Dec. 2018.

dkeller_nc

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Re: Decent Slotted Screws?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2008, 12:47:41 PM »
No argument here.  I bought a few packs of screws at HD when I was running low on the antiques, used a few, and threw the rest away. 

I developed the attitude that I would not set foot in a Wal-Mart about 10 years ago after they started forcing suppliers to close plants in the US and move them to China.  So far, I've stuck with it.  I'm considering applying the same attitude to Home Despot and Lowe's, as they've increasingly applied the "cheap at all costs" philosophy - their plywood now seems to be exclusively sourced from China/Asia, which is not acceptable to me, particularly when they're shipping North American species to China, getting it made into plywood, and shipping it all the way back.  A completely unacceptable use of petroleum, in my view, and the product quality is really, really bad - well undersized and full of voids and de-laminations.  But it's cheap, and that's all their customers seem to care about.
Period Furniture & Carving as a hobby - about 20 years woodworking