‘Fastener’ is the catch-all term used to refer to the different types of nails, washers or bolts that are used in construction and related projects. The basic use of these small metallic objects is to fasten or secure something in place, hence their name. Whilst you would not normally think twice about whether you need a nail or screw for the job, it is actually important to properly discern their uses and respective features, so that you can utilize them properly. Here is a quick guide to all the main types of fasteners you would normally use:
Before moving onto the different types of stainless steel nuts and bolts, let us start with the most common and simplest of all fasteners – the nail. Thin, smooth and often incorporating a head, these are basically hammered into different materials to either act as a fastener for two or more materials, or to act as a holder (e.g. for example, to hold portraits or calendars). Nails are generally classified according to the size of their shank (i.e. the thin long part of the nail) or their head. Nails with thicker shanks are used for rougher work, whereas in occasions where you want to hide the presence of the nail, finishing nails (which lack a head) are made use of. It should also be worthy of notice that nails are made of different metals: besides your average steel nails are stainless steel, copper, galvanized, etc. nails as well.
Bolts and Screws
Bolts and screws are similar to nails in their general appearance, save for the fact that they are considerably thicker, and, in the case of screws, have a spiralling pattern to them. Both are more expensive than nails as a result. Screws, including the popular stainless steel screws and other varieties, have a longer length when compared to nails, and the fact that they are screwed in makes them relatively more secure than nails (which are simply hammered in). Whilst nails and screws can be used individually, bolts need accompanying nuts to fasten them in place.
Washers and Nuts
Both washers and nuts fasten bolts into place. The difference between the two lies in their width and shape: washers are generally flat and smooth, whereas nuts are thicker and have a more ‘angular’ shape to them (e.g. their outer ring is often in the shape of a pentagon or hexagon). There are many different types of washers and nuts – this makes it very important to get a complimentary washer or nut to the bolt being used, or the bolt cannot be secured into place.