back to article Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS

1: These Are Screws Screws Yup. 2: These Are Not Nuts and bolts How can you tell? They have big nuts but no prick!!! LOL!!! 3: Screws Are Traditionally Driven Like This... A screwdriver driving a screw 4: ...Except In Birmingham!!! A hammer and bent screw Classic Brummie builder joke! Excellent!! 5: Did …

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          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: The simple answer is usually the obvious one

            Pah, it's not a vortex or invisibility as any fule kno, what screwdrivers exhibit is defocused temporal stability which means they can jump into the future so they reappear in the exact place you have already searched several times.

            1. wowfood

              Re: The simple answer is usually the obvious one

              I always suspected that time travel was afoot.

            2. unitron
              Holmes

              Re: The simple answer is usually the obvious one

              The solution to finding them, of course, is to be looking for something entirely else.

              1. 's water music Silver badge

                Re: The simple answer is usually the obvious one

                The solution to finding them, of course... is to go straight to the last place you would look. Lost things are always there

            3. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: The simple answer is usually the obvious one

              You're all wrong. My extensive research in this area leads me to believe the screw is in a state of quantum flux. This manifests itself as "not being there" to the naked eye but "being there" to the naked foot.

              1. DJO Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: The simple answer is usually the obvious one

                You're all wrong. My extensive research in this area leads me to believe the screw is in a state of quantum flux.

                The behaviour of screws and screwdrivers while superficially similar are actually different processes, the screw as has been frequently observed is driven by pure malice and will strive to hide itself in the most awkward place and if possible will cause pain when located and does employ quantum effects to relocate without passing through the intervening space.

                Screwdrivers however employ dimensional gyroscopy where the turning action generates a force at right angles to the axis of rotation but as it is unable to rotate along either of the other 2 normal axes the force builds up until the screwdriver can not store any more energy and it moves at right angles to all the normal 3 dimensions which results in it jumping forward in time.

                Obvious really.

        1. chris lively

          Re: The simple answer is usually the obvious one

          And here I thought it was the Minutemen just screwing with us...

          ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Matter_of_Minutes )

  1. ItsNotMe
    Pint

    Is it Friday already?

    Must have missed a few days. Could have sworn it was Wednesday when I got up this morning. Hmmm.

    1. Pedigree-Pete

      Re: Is it Friday already?

      Nope it definitely a Wednesday. No BOFH. Oh! Wait.:)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The World's Most Endangered Screw is...

    Nah,

    The "The World's Most Endangered Screw is..." is the married kind.

    Everyone knows that.

  3. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    FAIL

    Don'cha love...

    A screwdrivers that is so perfectly round that it can (and does) roll off a perfectly flat surface. Just as you reach for it.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Don'cha love...

      PO#1 and PO#2 - the world's best screwdrivers, in spite (because?) of their cylindricity.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can of worms opened.

    By some definitions example #2 are still screws as that definition states that the difference between a screw and a bolt is a bolt has a shank, those clearly have no shank and are therefore screws (the hex head is irrelevant)...

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper
      Thumb Up

      Re: Can of worms opened.

      No can of worms, it's a set screw in the picture. I grew up reading two sets of literature: books on diseases of the eye thanks to my Mother's training as a nurse at Wolverhampton Eye Hospital and the sales material that my Dad, sales manager of GKN Automotive Fasteners, brought home with him. I memorised symptoms and torque tables. No wonder I wound up it IT.

      1. CliveM

        Re: Can of worms opened.

        A set screw holds something in position with friction against the point, without a hole - a set screw "sets" the position. The classic example is to fix a gear on an axle. A set screw will invariably have a finished point - on the "not a screw" picture it's clearly what is left after casting and thread cutting.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Can of worms opened. @CliveM

          "A set screw will invariably have a finished point - on the "not a screw" picture it's clearly what is left after casting and thread cutting."

          Used to work in the manufacture of these things.. Only handled a few million of them personally.

          The ones pictured are absolutely definitely called "Set Screws". And Set Screws, quite variably, do not always have a finished point. Sometimes a finished point would actually be a very bad idea in these sorts of things, sometimes you want a larger active surface area.

          And speaking from experience in automotive and engineering (electrical and mechanical) industries, sometimes the set screw acts on a mechanism, not directly on the item being "set" or held. Again, in many of these cases a point would be pointless.

          </post 3hr sleep rant :) >

  5. Dan 50
    Big Brother

    Quit screwing around...

    and get back to work!

  6. bluefin333
    Coat

    My day screwed

    A very good article I thought. I hope this sort of thing gets a regular 'Slot' it would be a 'Pozi'-tive contribution to the knowledge of El Reg readership.

    So much so that I showed it to a couple of Brummie colleagues Mr 'Philips' and Mr 'Robertson' who took exception to the hammer-thing and ended up being right 'Cross-Heads'. Both saying that this happens in 'Bristol' more often and the p*** shouldn't be taken out of a 'Clutch' of West-Midlander's. That's quite normal for Mr 'Philips' though 'cos he 'Torx' & 'Torx' and but we can usually calm him down 'One-Way' or another and you have to draw a 'Line' somewhere but then as he said he was just making a 'Tri-point'

    Bored now, someone else can have a go I've got some work to nail.

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: My day screwed

      <snip>

      "Bored now, someone else can have a go I've got some work to nail."

      Fscking nail? Splitter!!!

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: My day screwed

        Whatever happened to the Judean Peoples' Screwfix?

      2. Number6

        Re: My day screwed

        Isn't a nail just an anorexic screw?

  7. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    To be continued?

    I'm looking forward to part 2, which I hope will cover screw habitats. I've seen some that prefer metal, and some that make their home in wood, but I've heard that there are some rare breeds with other predilections. There's also one, I believe, where the head breaks off the male after mating.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: To be continued?

      I have some special ones on the shed which don't go in for two-ply - they go straight in with no pilot hole.

      Nurse! I think I have a screw loose!

    2. fruitoftheloon

      Re: To be continued?

      Phil,

      that would be [in all likelihood], the 'jumbo' boxes of screws that one can mistakenly purchase in big DIY shoppes.

      In my experience they are invariably crap, so crap that one has even broken the heads off with my leccy screwdriver.

      Anyone seriously into screwing know that you need a Stanley 'Yankee' if you want to apply some serious torque, btw the one[s] to purchase are from second-hand/vintage tools shops, they are the mutts nuts.

      J.

      1. Nigel 11

        Serious torque?

        You need a screwdriver with a hex shank, or (slightly less good) with a flat on the shank, or (much less good) with a hexagonal handle. You apply an adjustable spanner to the flat part, press the end of the handle hard onto the screw head with one hand and torque via the spanner with the other.

        Unscrewing (or shearing the head off) is guaranteed.

        You can also improvise with a hex screwdriver bit, a spanner, and a flat piece of metal with which to press down. With this arrangement you can rotate a screw with barely an inch of vertical clearance above its head, as I once had to do to get a swollen UPS out of a rack before it exploded. OK, that was technically a bolt.

        1. Death Boffin
          Pint

          Re: Serious torque?

          Every garden shed mechanic knows that to really get the torque, you have to take a round shank screwdriver and apply a set of vice-grips to said shank.

      2. graeme leggett

        Re: To be continued?

        I think electric drills with torque "control" meant Yankee screwdrivers fell out of favour. Stanley don't do them anymore. Still they did the job at the time, and had replaceable tips.

        But for real torque that you can get your weight behind, put a screwbit into a "brace and bit" drill.

  8. David Kelly 2

    Arapaho used Left-hand Screws?

    I don't think the photoshop operator knows screws (or photoshop) as the Arapaho image has been mirrored into a left-hand screw.

    Seriously, 0.02%? That seems awfully high to me. Several orders of magnitude too high.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Arapaho used Left-hand Screws?

      I checked. Our Photoshop operator is campaigningly left-handed, which is why he pushed his sinister agenda. We've tied his left arm behind his back for a month, so that should keep things rightly right-handed for a while.

      As for the 0.02%, that's compiled from aggregating screw stats from 2.4 million websites. Feel free to provide an alternative figure, with exhaustive proof, naturally.

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Arapaho used Left-hand Screws?

        "I checked. Our Photoshop operator is campaigningly left-handed, which is why he pushed his sinister agenda. We've tied his left arm behind his back for a month, so that should keep things rightly right-handed for a while."

        <snip>

        You should make him sit on his left hand. Errrr, no hang on, knowing Photoshop people that might force him to take him self in hand in an unwanted and inappropriate manner. Could you not perhaps break a few fingers on the said hand?

    2. NightFox
      Happy

      Re: Arapaho used Left-hand Screws?

      I was surprised, neigh shocked, that I noticed that those LH screws "looked wrong" before I even read what they were. Considering I'm one of those people who has to spend about 5 minutes working out which way is clockwise on an upside-down screw, I'm actually quite chuffed with this newly identified skill of mine.

    3. unitron
      Boffin

      Re: Arapaho used Left-hand Screws?

      "Seriously, 0.02%? That seems awfully high to me. Several orders of magnitude too high."

      Not once you include right-side wheel lugs on old Chrysler products.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Arapaho used Left-hand Screws?

        > Not once you include right-side wheel lugs on old Chrysler products.

        Lots of vehicles had those, not just Chrysler. I remember spending a couple of hours with increasingly large spanners trying to take the back wheel of an ambulance, with mate standing on one side of a bloody great big spider while I hauled up on the other side... nothing till in frustrate thumped the spider in the other direction and it span free.

        Incidentally all cars with knock off wheels have spinners going in the opposite direction to wheel so the trundling effect tightens then rather than coursing the wheel to drop in the first 50feet.

        1. JDC

          Re: Arapaho used Left-hand Screws?

          Not to mention the left side pedal on a bike.

  9. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The unanswered question

    Nice article.

    Though I was disappointed there was no explanation about why a dropped screw *always* finds its way either into the deepest, darkest crevice or is attracted by the universe's strongest force which ensures it ends up electrically shorting the two most sensitive (and expensive) exposed current-carrying pieces of metal in the room?

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: The unanswered question

      "Nice article.

      Though I was disappointed there was no explanation about why a dropped screw *always*"

      <seditious snip>

      Rings you up crying when they are drunk?

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: The unanswered question

        > Rings you up crying when they are drunk?

        Ahhh, but not if you take precautions before having sex.

        Precautions like giving a false name and a bogus phone number

    2. Nigel 11

      universe's strongest force, not.

      The strongest is that which binds quarks together into hadrons. It has the well-nigh pathological property of increasing with distance, which is why quarks are only ever found in pairs and triples (and theoretically, in one-point-something solar-mass chunks denser than neutronium but still not quite big enough to collapse into a black hole).

  10. Kevin Johnston

    Immortalised in....

    Just bought a bag of tungsten-tip screws: never gonna use 'em, Lyn, never gonna use 'em.

  11. tony2heads
    Pint

    7: The Romans Popularized Screws Throughout Their Empire

    Judging by the picture you have an odd idea of popular.

    Perhaps that explains some articles

    I would have been happier with the wine press (or even olive oil press)

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ba7lj8a1Awo/S31nrdgIrMI/AAAAAAAAMbk/v95Qr7GXfo8/s1600/roman.jpg

    Icon: well you don't have a wine glass

  12. psychonaut

    mr nettlefold

    never heard of him, so i thought i would enlighten myself

    i just googled "mr nettlefold screws"

    good job i wasnt on the images tab.

  13. Cipher
    Joke

    Why no mention of...

    ...the definitive book on the matter: The Screwtape Letters...

  14. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Riddled with inaccuracies, as usual for The Register.

    A "Brummie Screwdriver" is NOT a common-or-garden clawhammer, but rather the old-fashioned cast-iron Stillson's-type plumber's monkey-wrench, 15-18 inches long, traditionally painted red on the handle.

    The hammering face is usually the back of the monkey-screw housing.

    Also, picture number 2 *is* a screw, specifically a "Machine Screw".

    The bolt, which the author seems to have confused this with, is easily distinguished by a smooth, threadless section near the head. You can *use* a machine screw as a bolt, but there are penalties for doing so without using a bushing as any proper engineer would know.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Bah!

      Have one of these as well as an upvote. I was seriously disappointed that nobody else knew what the real difference was.

    2. Nuke
      Holmes

      Re: Bah!

      Wrote :- "You can *use* a machine screw as a bolt, but there are penalties for doing so without using a bushing as any proper engineer would know."

      An equivalent thing is modern wood screws which are threaded up to the head as opposed to traditional ones the upper half of which are plain. So the modern ones don't have the positive shear location that the traditional ones do - instead of having a tapered pin drawn into it, the upper piece is held only by the tips of the thread, assuming it has a pilot hole.

      But apparently Joe Public likes the modern type because more thread looks stronger; he is also more likely to get away with drilling no pilot holes, especially as modern timber is crap (or isn't even proper timber), never mind that the two workpieces can end up being held slightly apart because both get a thread cut in them, but out of phase with each other.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        "modern wood screws which are threaded up to the head "

        That's a chipboard screw. Proper wood screws still have the unthreaded bit at the top. Even B&Q know that :-)

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: because more thread looks stronger;

        No, Joe Public likes them because they are self-piloting and self-recessing when used for their intended purpose: hanging drywall aka sheetrock or, in the case of the galvanized or resin coated version, building a deck or fixing a fence. The thin shank is designed for displacing the minimum of the material being fastened in place so you *don't* need to drill a pilot hole.

        Before you wade in, you are exchanging words with someone who drove about two hundred of the resin-coated type last Saturday in a marathon fence-repairing the likes of which hasn't been seen since the last marathon fence repairing at Chateau Stevie (gale force winds, carpenter ants - who against all reason are actually not real carpenters at all but bloody vandals that gnaw holes in wood instead of getting a proper house - termites and rot. I have some of each in The Fence of Go Away Neighbours).

        Ordinary woodscrews, which absolutely require a pilot hole to sink, will shear as you drive them under these conditions, especially is using an electric drill-driver.

  15. i dont give a fuck

    screw you

    armed with this knowledge i now feel confident enough to go on mastermind with specialist subject " screws"

  16. Pastafarian

    Manx screws

    Are the three-pointed star screws exclusively used in the Isle of Man?

    1. Chris G Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Manx screws

      These are known as three pointed or tri-wing, but to answer your question; they are used on any piece of equipment that is in front of you when you don't have a tri-wing screwdriver.

      I have just spent the whole day screwing in 31 degrees of sun, putting a fence up.

      Thank god for my 12v cordless and a 2 litre flask of slowly melting crushed ice.

      I have noticed here in Spain that if you have to take the hinges off a door, they are invariably fitted with old slotted wood screws that have such a fine slot that no existing screwdriver can remove them, not even an old Spanish one.

      Which brings me to what the article calls a Brummy screwdriver. In my day we always called a hammer an Irish screwdriver and believe me I have seen Paddies on site driving screws in with a well placed whack from a claw/club/ballpein/sledge hammer, something Spanish chippies must have been good with.

      A cold beer 'cos that's what I need tonight!

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