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We've been screwed!

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  • We've been screwed!

    In my 70 years of repairing and making things I have screwed and unscrewed what must be hundreds of thousands of screws.
    Here are some observations and lamentations -----

    When I first started using a screwdriver all of screws were simple slotted designs. They are beautilul especially when the slots are all lined up as in high end custom guns.

    Then the Robertson screw came along.
    My first boat, an old beat up Hatteras had thousands of Robertson screws, almost all brass and they were very elegant indeed with their square holes neatly aligned and their faces glowing their soft yellow color.

    Then the Phillips showed up and while they are easy to drive they are almost never aligned and just don't have much esthetic appeal to me.

    Then I bought a Japanese built four-wheeler and discovered it had all JIS standard cross recess screws that a Phillips screwdriver fits poorly. I do think they are marginally more attractive than a Phillips but not enought to please my artistic sense.

    I shouldn't even mention the Torx or the various socket head cap screws because they are all ugly but do their jobs very well.

    Ah well I guess I am just old and wishing for things the way they were-------
    I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

  • #2
    I like phillips, I feel the only screw that should be used today for anything should be a phillips. The square drive is alright for drywall screws.


    • #3
      The robertson screws (truly a screw job) are now showing up in electrical equipment... giving a choice of the two worst drives ever, the modern slot and the robertson. The robertson driver has another alternate name... "drill".

      The only thing I can think of worse than robertson screws is BRASS robertson screws.... (even if they were likely a bronze).

      Aligned slot-head screws do look nice.. And the only thing wrong with slotted screws really, is the total lack of adherence to any standard in modern slot heads, and the corresponding lack of drivers to fit the slots properly in width, depth, and length. Modern slots are often just a sort of rounded valley in the screwhead....of whatever size the maker let the tooling wear out to.

      That and short screwdrivers. If you ever use a good LONG screwdriver that actually fits the head of the screw you have, you would stop whining about slots.

      Modern slotted don't work, the tapered robertson cam out as badly as phillips, both suck.

      Pozidrive is tolerable, Allen if you must, but they are a little weak on torque capability.

      Torx is the real deal.
      Last edited by J Tiers; 03-03-2015, 08:20 AM.

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan


      • #4
        Phillips was adopted early on by industry as a fast way to power drive fasteners. Otherwise it is a terrible design. Cams out easily and is not suitable for any application requiring hi torque.

        Torx is the best currently design that's readily available.

        Appearance is Everything...


        • #5
          Originally posted by goose View Post
          Phillips was adopted early on by industry as a fast way to power drive fasteners. Otherwise it is a terrible design. Cams out easily and is not suitable for any application requiring hi torque.

          Torx is the best currently design that's readily available.
          The Phillips screw and its variants have a saving grace. The buggered screw recess is a very good pilot for the drill bit required to remove them. Essentially self centring, a slightly larger than body size drill makes quick work of removal. Back when the service rate in the cycle shop I worked at was $15 per hour, our shop got a flat rate of $1 per screw. That'll teach you to use a impact driver.

          ARS W9PCS

          Esto Vigilans

          Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should...
          but you may have to


          • #6
            I'm with J Tiers on this one. Those Robertson drive screws are easier to rip out the heads than any Phillips I ever used. I bought some 3 inch Robertson drive stainless finishing screws to install deck rails and stripped out several heads installing them. The next batch I bought had Torx heads and used them with no issues what so ever. I also built some forms with deck screw that had Torx heads. Not only were they great for installation they were also easy to remove after the concrete was poured when the forms had to be removed. The only issue I had was concrete filling the Torx heads on a few screws and I was able to salvage the rest to be used on another project.
            Aesthetically the Torx heads don't bother me at all. It's all what you get used to in my opinion. If you're used to seeing Phillips screws for most of your life and Torx comes along they probably are not attractive at first, but after they have been around for a while you don't think anything about it and misalignment of heads is far less noticeable.


            • #7
              Slotted screws only look good till the slot gets buggered up. A tapered blade tip will soon do a good job of buggering them up. If there were standard slot widths and screwdriver blades with width and thickness made to match that might help.


              • #8
                Well, I must be all wet. I think the square drive is far superior than anything else I used with maybe the exception of the Torx drive deck screws. I can say of the 10000's of square drive screws I have installed probably only a hand full of strip outs. When it comes to Phillips heads, that number is 10 fold. All slotted screws have already made their way to the scrap yard. Worst design ever for power driving or even regular driving - maybe in the old time days where people took time to build things but in today's fast world, a cordless drill and a square drive you can go to town.. Plus let me see you put a Phillips screw on a bit and drive it horizontally without holding on to the screw or having a magnetic bit. The square drive rocks for that operation.


                • #9
                  Jeff---I'm with you. Robertson rules!!! ---And he was a Canadian.----Brian
                  Brian Rupnow


                  • #10
                    I built a deck (800 ft square though it wasn't square) of Trex material and screwed the deck down with Robertson screws. I went through boxes and boxes of screws and never once had one cam out on me, and I needed only two drives to finish the entire deck. I did have a heart attack two days after finishing the deck but I can't blame Robertson for that


                    • #11
                      I have to admit, there are some pretty damned cheesy Robertson screws on the market, and also some very cheesy Robertson drivers. On a bad box of screws, they do cam out very easily. Bad drivers are good for the first 20 screws you drive, then the corners round off and that makes the screws cam out. The Robertson concept is great, and if you use quality products they work fabulous. However, in a world where quality control is getting to be a myth, well, what can I say??----Brian
                      Brian Rupnow


                      • #12
                        We sold square drive deck screws in large black & green & trim head SS & everyone loved them until the production changed from North America to china. I think that's why some have had problems & others have not. Also chinese drywall screws pop the heads off while driving. Same old stuff, different day.
                        GRK Canadian made screws are the best IMHO.


                        • #13
                          The Robertson screws cam out???
                          You have got to kidding me. Not sure what the level of material and driver quality is you guys are using but I have to wonder.
                          I've been using these with excellent results ever since I moved to Canada and have become a convert, although I'll admit to being a bit reluctant at first, something about change I guess.
                          As an example I built several very large wood decks last fall all built out of old dry fir. Although I probably used thousands of 3 1/2" Robertson deck screws I did not have one cam out. The odd time I did shear off one or two due to the torque required because of the dry fir.
                          A good Robertson bit will fit the socket in the screw so tight that it is difficult to pull the drive bit out of the screw as every so often I would have to give the drill a tug to get it to release after driving one home. This last "feature" also comes in handy when starting a screw one handed in difficult to reach areas.
                          Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                          Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                          Location: British Columbia


                          • #14
                            I find Phillips has one redeeming quality that many of the others lack: When you bugger up the Phillips head, usually you can put the bit back in and reverse it out. Other screw types tend to round things so you can't pull them back out.

                            The absolute worst screwheads: Square/Phillips combo. Neither bit fits properly, so instead of getting any benefit from being "more flexible", you wind up with the worst of both worlds. (Why did you do it, Kreg? Why?!)


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=ironmonger;970828]The Phillips screw and its variants have a saving grace. The buggered screw recess is a very good pilot for the drill bit required to remove them. [QUOTE]
                              Unfortunately one has to do that with amazing regularity. Of course it doesn't help that there are several different kinds of nearly the same but not really cross head screw types and you never seem to have the right driver on hand.