buying wood screws

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I have a bunch of portable shelters to build this year, so last year I went out and bought a 25 pound container of them at home depot. About $75 for 25 pounds of "deck screws".

    Yesterday, I figured out that I needed some other sizes. In the hopes of getting a better deal, I called "Fasteners, Inc" in Spokane (not sure if it is a chain or if it is just local). They don't sell by the pound, but by the 100.

    I got to talking to the FI guy and he made some good points. He asked me what I was building. I said "today I'm building a farrowing hut" "Will it have a roof?" "Yes" "Well, anything that is going to always stay dry, probably doesn't need all of that outdoor coating which gets pretty expensive." He then gave me some prices for some drywall screws that were much cheaper than his outdoor screws.

    But I'm still curious about comparing the per-pound price to the 100 price.

    Anybody have advice?
     
  2. tooltime

    tooltime Border Ruffian

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    Paul,

    A modest suggestion. You'll have a tougher building and one that you can take apart more easily if you use carriage head bolts. That's moving your costs in the wrong direction, but it'll be a lot sturdier.

    Another form of portable hog shelter for farrowing are those corrugated metal hog huts. We used them for raising bottle calves and for having farrowing sows. U-shaped, about 6' by 6' or so and open on one end. Drive a T-post behind the hut (on closed end) and then drive two T-posts just outside either side of the open end. You can bend a hog panel around that so the sow has space to come out and eat. We used those concrete individual hog troughs for water and feed. We would actually farrow the sows in crates in a hog building, but move sows and their litters out there when we needed an open crate.
     

  3. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    I've experienced a lot of variation in the quality of "deck" screws. Some break pretty easily and don't withstand much shear. Recently I've been using the expensive ones you can get at home depot that have a different phillips type drive. They are quite strong and the bit really sticks well to the head of the screw.
     
  4. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Livestock buildings do not stay dry, hog juice (just the vapor) is very corrosive. I think you are going in the wrong direction, you want extra good coated screws. Hex-head are often the best. I use cheap deck screws for repairs in my cattle barn - big mistake. Dipped nails last longer than thos cheap screws.

    --->Paul
     
  5. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Dry wall screws are too brittle to use where there is a chance of livestock challenging the confinement materials, spiral shank galvanized nails seem to hold best for me.
     
  6. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    We learned our lesson, thinking screws would hold a tighter building, but they don't. Go with 16 penny nails. If you want to try something....screw a screw in half way, and nail in a nail half way, hit them with a hammer so that you are trying to bend them. 9 times out of 10 that screw with snap in half, while a nail just keeps bending.

    Plus, nails are cheaper than screws, and don't wear out the tips on your screwgun. :)

    Deb
     
  7. Jackpine Savage

    Jackpine Savage Well-Known Member

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    I'd agree that the drywall and decking screws I've used don't seem to provide enough shear strength for anything that has to be cattle proof. I'd head towards galvanized spiral or ring shank nails.
     
  8. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    I'm partial to the galvanized spiral decking nails myself. Of course, once you put one of those things in it is never coming back out unless you drill it.

    There isn't any place I've been to that sells nails or screws by the count instead of by weight. Seems strange to me.

    -Jack
     
  9. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    tooltime,

    I see your point about the carriage bolts. I think that for 1x4 siding, it's probably overkill. And for 2x connecting to the edge of a 2x it would need to be a 6" carriage bolt and the drilled hole would require a smart, steady hand and a very long drill bit. But I can see the value for 2x broadside to 2x broadside. I'll check out the prices.

    Corrugated huts: I thought about that. If nothing else, it seems that the would be built super fast. I had a hard time finding the pipe. And internet searches were giving me prices that made me think that the cost would be prohibitive.

    For what I'm building, the skids are downed logs lying about, the wood is from my sawmill (usually the lowest grade stuff) and the metal roofing I get for free (always mismatched, but functional)

    caballoviejo,

    I think that's the kind that I have now! I have a 25 pound box of them. The special bit that came with them is blue.

    rambler,

    What is "hog juice"??

    ... interesting screws vs. nails discussion. I've been using screws for everything and, granted, have had some trouble with stripped heads, broken bits, etc. that one would never have with nails, but I can't help but think that screws are going to bind wood together stronger: the mighty power of the lever. Plus, there are lots of structures around here where the nails are getting pulled out by the animals working the structure, but the ones built with screws seem to be holding up really well: the wood will give before the screw.

    My brother came out last week and saw that I was using screws. He's worked in construction for years and told me I was being obtuse. When I asked "why?" he just rolled his eyes and said "do whatever you want."

    I would like to get a better understanding of "why". I understand that the shear force is going to be better for nails, but if the nail seperates by 1/4 inch, then the all the shear force that was gained when the wood touched is lost. I think that the wood is less likely to separate with screws.

    I can see the logic of sticking with screws for outdoors for the whole structure.

    Back to the original question: I guess when trying to compare prices, I should just guess?

    Are the bulk prices at home depot reliably good?
     
  10. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I remember growing up having to go around a couple times a year tapping nails back into our deck. Why do these nails not wiggle out?
     
  11. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    We are building our own house, and at my last trip to Home Depot (which I really don't like, but have no other lumber places close by). I learned of a nail that as you pound it in, it heats up and is coated with a "glue" so that it stays in your wood, and won't wiggle out.

    Might ask about that, sorry, I don't remember what the nails were called but they are coated with something to make them glue into wood.

    We learned about the screws too, after using them for framing the bottom story of the house. When it came time to be inspected, they frown on the screws (and showed us what happens under force). Ended up putting nails thru all the boards, and leaving the screws in there. That could be a choice for you, to use both nails and screws....you would come out ahead on the sturdiness factor, lol.

    Deb
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hog juice - urine, condensation, water supply, splashing, with all the salts that us living critters have - very corosive environment.

    Any place selling screws by the piece I would wonder about - sounds like a rip off to me. Not the normal way. Every screw weights different dending on teeth, head, length, thickness....

    A cheapie deck screw or drywall screw will rust away on you. Something with serious galvinising - hot dipped - will last much much longer.

    Cheapie screws are very brittle. They will snap off. Yes they bite intot the wood & hold much better than a nail - but the nail is softer iron. The screw will snap off. The nail will wiggle out over time. In my experience with cattle, they will snap off the screws real quick - a nail that is hammered over on the back side will last _much_ longer than a cheapie screw.

    Clenched nails or premium screws offer strength. A cheapy screw looks good, but rusts & shatters too easily.

    There are many, many specialty nails with coatings or rings (grooves) on them to make them _very_ difficult to remove once hammered in. Depends on your application.

    A good regular nail hammered through & bent over on the back side last a good long time if this works in your application.

    --->Paul
     
  13. tooltime

    tooltime Border Ruffian

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    Paul,

    I don't know for sure what type of structure you're building, but if plan on skidding it around, that puts a lot of tension on where the skids are joined either to the flooring or cross planks. You can put in wood spacers between the skids to lessen this.

    Unless I was nailing car-siding on, I'd use bolts wherever I could. If you ever build a hay bunk on skids and move it around much, you'll understand why I'd even use bolts for the neck slats

    You can get drill bits that are 12" or 16" long. Not bad to have for rebuilding flat-bed hay wagons, where you need to drill through the stringers and cross braces. You have to develop an eye for drilling straight.

    Hogs are just destructive on buildings. I'd line the inside with 2-inch planking at least 24" from the floor, and I'd go higher. Use ring-shanks on these. What are you using for flooring? I'd gather this is going to have one open side and a one-way roof.

    Paul is correct: hog manure and hog dust is terribly corrosive to metal. If I could find a picture of these type of hog huts, I'll try to post it. If Paul checks back in, maybe he could describe it better.
     
  14. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    I love the deck screws with the special drill bit, but am mentally filing the tensile strength issues away.

    On the other hand, I've been taking apart some big packing crates that are fastened with spiral galvanized nails and OH brother, it's hard to get them out. I actually bent my small hammer on one the other day, believe it or not. Some of these aren't even the big ones, they are about 2.5" so would work on your 1x4 lumber I think?

    hollym
     
  15. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    I've been using premium decking srews to build my living quarters inside my metal building. I much prefer good-quality screws to nailing for the following reasons:

    1. you can draw one piece of wood to another much easier with a screw. Hammering makes the pieces rebound from each other creating a gap. This has been important for me since lumber grades are decaying - number threes are passing as number two grade, etc. Boards are frequently twisted and warped in multiple directions.

    2. Related to the poorer quality lumber now available, I find that hammering tends to pop knots or split wood much more than setting screws. Plus, whole sections of your work get buffeted and loosened by some hammering under some circumstances.

    3. If a nail gets loose the head and sometimes the entire top portion of the nail will protrude. This is really important when covering say OSB or plywood with underlayment, carpet or especially vinyl. Screws may loose their grip but don't ride up with use. Conversely, the recommended cures for floor squeaks, loose boards, or loose sheet goods is to add screws for tight holds.

    4. If I make an error or change my mind on some work I've done with screws I can always back the screws out (and later resuse them). Pulling apart wood that has been well-nailed is a bear and often results in useless or chewed-up lumber.

    5. My elbow will last a lot longer pushing in screws than hammering in nails. No tennis elbow after a few days.

    The downside - nails are much cheaper than good quality screws and are faster to put in. Also, I pity the poor soul who gets to tear down my construction 40 years from now.
     
  16. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Went to home depot. A pound of 3.5 inch screws has a little under 50 screws. 3 inch is a little over 50.

    Pigs don't dump anything where they sleep. No urine. No manure. Pigs don't sweat. We don't put food and water in their huts. I guess there would be some level of condensation from their breath.

    This sled shed is modeled after the previous three I've built. One of those three was for weaner pigs and is still holding up quite well. 2x floor plus 2x frame and roof frame. Since we don't have any farrowing huts yet and four gilts about to pop, we have the weaner hut out there with one of the walls removed. The boar camps out there most of the time. It's now about four years old and looking like it'll last another 20 years. It has weathered about a hundred pigs.

    Sureley we're not the first to have this conversation. I wonder if there is a web page that covers this topic ...
     
  17. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    The skrew v/s Nail debate....
    The only ones using cheap skrews are the diy's that don't know better or are just trying to save some cash. Yes skrews can be fastened and unfastened and the lumber quality has deteriated. Good deck screws can be bought for 10$ a pound. They are corrosion resistant and will not break like cheap screws. However what you are comparing sheetrock skrews v/s nails. Sheetrock screws are high temper hard but brittle screws designed to hold a hard brittle material. Common nails used for small projects are ASTM tested to meet the standard pull test requirements due to their use in construction. All nails are made to meet the design requirements it's cheaper that way.

    Now as for pulling strength and easy use. I'd go out and spend the money to get a utility air nailer. They can do small framing but are designed to do fence repair, sheathing, and that sort of thing. The nails can come glue coated, Spiral, hoop shank,or all of the above. Just don't have to take it apart.