Last Updated on March 17, 2023 by Marsh Fasteners
Working with fasteners involves a few pitfalls. Following are some tips and tricks for using fasteners correctly and safely.
Use the Right Fasteners
Fasteners come in a variety of types, sizes, and materials. With the great variety of fasteners out there, you may end up with a toolbox full of ‘mix-and-match’ screws, bolts, and rivets. Don’t be tempted to use ‘what you have got’ to join materials if you don’t have matching fasteners for a particular join or the right kind of fastener for the materials you need to join.
Use the right grade fasteners: although 18-8, 304 and 316 grade stainless steel fasteners are all anti-corrosion, only 316 fasteners for marine applications.
Join Fasteners to Same Type of Fasteners
Join fasteners with other fasteners made from the same materials and the same grade, e.g. 316-grade stainless steel fasteners should always be joined with 316-grade stainless steel fasteners; hot dip galvanized fasteners with other hot dip galvanized fasteners.
The protective layer of zinc coating on ‘hot dip galvanized’ fasteners slightly alters the thickness of fastener threads. This means that these kinds of fasteners are thus only truly secure when joined with other hot dip galvanized fasteners.
Use Fasteners to Join Same or Compatible Materials
Never use aluminum fasteners to join stainless steel materials. Aluminum rivets will corrode when used on stainless steel. This can quickly compromise the strength of the join and destroy the fasteners.
Only Use Marine-Grade Fasteners in Saltwater Environments
Saltwater rusts steel and stainless steel, including all but the highest grade stainless steel fasteners.
- If the fastener will be exposed to saltwater, make sure you use the correct grade of stainless steel. This would be a minimum of a 316-grade stainless steel fastener.
- Do not use 18-8 stainless steel in a salty or saltwater environment or the join will not remain secure due to oxidation.
Use Fastener Lubricant For Stainless Steel Fasteners
Always use a fastener lubricant when joining stainless steel fasteners. This prevents ‘galling’ (jamming) and stress on the fastener from friction. This will improve the strength and durability of the join.
Galling can also occur with other metal alloy fasteners, including with Titanium and Zinc fasteners.
Use the Correct Tools for the Fasteners and Join
Fasteners must be tightened or loosened with the correct size screwdriver and bit heads and tightened correctly with a torque wrench.
Use of the Right Size Screwdriver or Drill Bit
Make sure you always use the correct screwdriver or drill bit for the fastener’s head, or you may strip the fastener head in the process of tightening or loosening the screws or bolts.
Make sure the drill bit covers the length of the fastener head. Similarly, don’t use a screwdriver that is too short. The result could be breakage or damage to the materials being joined together.
Don Not Overtighten (Overtorque) Fasteners
Use a correctly calibrated torque wrench to tighten fasteners. This will prevent overtightening. Overtightening fasteners can cause the fastener to break. Also called ‘overtorquing’, overtightening fasteners can strip screw heads, damage threading, or break the screw head off completely.
Overtightening can be dangerous. Any fastener or material bits that fly off have the potential to cause injury. Stripping, slipping and breakages from using the wrong size screwdriver or drill bit can also be a safety hazard.
Wear Safety Glasses When Joining Materials with Fasteners
Working with fasteners can involve risk of injury. It is always prudent to wear safety glasses and any other recommended safety gear when torquing fasteners or joining any wooden, plastic, or metal materials together.
Marsh Fasteners carries an full inventory of highest quality stainless steel fasteners, 18-8, 304 & 316 stainless steel, in addition to other types and fasteners and hardware. For more information on how to use fasteners correctly, and safely, and for what kind of fasteners and tools you need for your application or project, contact us now.