digusted with brass screws

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Why is it some brands of hardware still come with brass screws? Tiny ones at that. Ya take a lot of care and time to make something from good hardwood, something that has a chance at being an heirloom piece, buy very nice hardware (polished brass in my case) and there they are. Lousy little brass screws. Not plated, solid. I spite of carefully drilling the right size hole and applying parrafin to the threads, the little SOBs will still twist off.
Now I gotta stop work and wait 'till the hardware store or Woodcraft opens again tomorrow so's I can go lookin' for steel substitutes. Why not provide steel screws with the expensive hardware. Grrrrrrrr.
And I gotta try drilling out the one that twisted off, the body remaining in the wood is about 1/4 inch below the surface of the wood. It's a #4. All without hosing up my nice raised panel doors.
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Agreed. I'm a relative amateur, but have had my fill with brass screws... such that I just chuck them aside for steel ones.
I remember - my first 'real' project was a toybox (blanket chest). It took me about a month to build it... very carefully making the stiles and rails with the primitive tools I had. Then after all the building and finishing was done, messing the whole top up because of some brass screws that stripped in a matter of seconds. A few more hours sanding and finishing and some steele screws fixed it, but a lesson noted that wont soon be forgotten. I chalked it up to inexperience, but had similar issues since.
Im sure there are some tricks that I just dont know about, but its just easier not to work with 'em for me.
I didnt think of 'plated' screws, so I have basically steered clear of anything brass looking since.

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RE: Subject
As a boat builder, I'm probably a little prejudiced, but the following are my choices:
Carbon Steel: Totally unacceptable
Brass: Totally unacceptable since salt water leaches the zinc out.
Stainless Steel: Only if they are 316L. 304 And/Or18-8 (same thing)are for emergencies only.
Silicon Bronze: My first choice.
HTH
Lew
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wrote:

I thought marine instruments and fixtures were made of brass in order to resist corrosion?
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

Brass is acceptable for applications not exposed to either salt sir, spray or water.
Typical might be an interior cabin lamp where the brass is coated with a lacquer.
If any form of salt is involved, brass is unacceptable.
HTH
Lew
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On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 05:38:04 +0000, Lew Hodgett wrote:

Drifting OT here, but where did nautical references to "polishing brass" come from? What is "brightwork," and is it made of bronze or brass?(yeah, yeah, DAGS...) Is there any truth to the story that the rack for stacking cannonballs, called a "monkey," was made of brass, which would contract in cold temperatures, which in turn would no longer support the cannonballs properly, which in turn gave rise to the term "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey?"
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*NO*, there is _no_ truth to that story.
(Note: I'd heard this one too, with the thermal contraction resulting in the bottom row of cannonshot being *trapped* on the frame -- giving rise to "cold enough to freeze the balls *ON* a brass monkey". Unfortunately, it just "ain't so, Joe." )
The _first_ element fails -- the triangular frame for holding cannonshot is *not* called a monkey.
The various branches of the U.S. military have official 'historian' positions. I checked this out with *both* the Army Historian, and the Navy one. (a retired career Army _artillery_ officer 'questioned' my story, having never heard the term, himself; which caused me to do substantial digging to very "something I =knew= was true". *sigh* it wasn't.}
The 'closest' military reference is a "powder monkey" -- a *person* who ferried gunpowder to the gun, from the storage area.
A google search, *and* the material at the well-researched and documented myth-debunking site <http://www.snopes.com tends to support the (silly as it sounds on the face of it) claim that the phrase comes from exactly what it seems to imply -- cast-brass statuary in the likeness of a monkey. From India, and apparently fairly _thin_ castings. With 'structural failures', at certain strategic places, when exposed to large temperature changes.
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Australopithecus scobis wrote:

I don't have a clue.
The only thing that comes to mind is polishing the brass buttons on military uniforms.
> What is "brightwork," and is it made of bronze or

Actually, the term "brightwork" refers to the exterior wood trim on a boat that is varnished. It has nothing to do with metal; however, it has a lot to do with "work".
Maintaining "brightwork" is a lot of "work".
> Is there any truth to the story that the rack

I'm not a naval historian but to the best of my knowledge, the above is strictly a tale of folklore.
HTH
Lew
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wrote:

Thanks. Adding that to the "information gained" category.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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admiralty brass was developed for this purpose.

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The trick is to drive in a steel screw and then remove it and install a brass screw. Make sure you have a properly fitted screwdriver and you will have a perfect brass screw head shoeing. max

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Anytime you have dissimilar metals in contact, there is a chance of corrosion - same electrochemistry as a battery. So steel screws in brass hinges could end up discoloring, even though you could drive them in the first place. Better to make sure you drill the right size pilot holes, use oil or paraffin on the threads, set your drill on the softest setting or use a hand screwdriver.
Steve

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That only happens if they get wet, preferably with salt water. It effectively forms a battery. I have never seen it happen when dry.

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Sorry to hear about that broken screw, that's a bitch to fix. Common solution I've heard, after drilling the correct size hole, is to drive in a steel screw of the same size first, then remove it and put in the brass one. Still a pita. BTW, Steinway piano company, at least in the first part of the last century, used brass plated steel, as big as #14 x 5" long, in places where they didn't show, such as to hold the legs on, just to prevent rust. For the long hinge across the top, pure brass was still used, and we're talking dozens of #4 s into hardwood.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

brass screw and either carefully screwing it in or making a hole ever so slightly oversize and pressing the screw in.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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gpdew hit on the proper method for setting brass screws. Drive a steel one in first. Then replace it with a brass one.
Most of the hardware that comes with brass screws these days use a low quality of brass. Good brass screws are available and are much nicer to work with. Finding good brass plated steel screws is harder.
If you're hardware is brass, the fasteners should be brass as well.
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On 5 Feb 2005 18:49:40 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

They must've had a system in place to make them work reliably. Be nice if mine could be that reliable.
I don't want to sound TOO negative, I did get 4 others in without a problem. Careful with the pilot hole size, centered in the hole of the piece of hardware, plenty of parafin, driving it by hand so I'd feel any resistance, and still, problems.
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It is quite likely that what they did was to drill the hole then tap it like you would metal except the tap would be for a woodscrew. Then, screw in the brass screw. Same method as recommended here using the steel screw first. It would seem like a lot of extra work (not to me, I make my living in metal) but, I'm sure, Steinway would see this as time well spent rather than messing up a piece.
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On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 03:15:00 GMT, Lazarus Long

As others have pointed out, using a steel screw before the brass screw to set the threads is the final step you are missing. A project I did several years ago had a ton of brass screws -- I never stripped out a single one after I started using the steel screw and waxing the brass threads with beeswax before inserting.
As far as quality, I've had really good luck with brass screws from Jamestown Mfg.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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I used to work for a company that made brass hardware; maybe the stuff you are now complaining about. Part of my duties were dealing with complaints. The written ones were easy; I would just explain that brass is soft material. That is why we instructed the user to drill pilot holes and wax the screws before installation. The telephone calls were more difficult. They demanded we pay them for all of their work and labor. They demanded to speak to our president. They demanded we supply steel screws rather than brass. They demanded that we stop using defective screws. They demanded we use domestic screws rather than imported screws. After a year of that I decided maybe I ought to look into it, rather that take purchasing's word for it that there was nothing wrong with the screws. I took hundreds of screws, from #0 to #4, and from as many different shipments as I could find, and put them into oak and pine. With and without pilot screws. With and without pilot holes, with and without wax, with a power driver and by hand. The results were that the 0s and 1s would break if I didn't do everything just right. However, I couldn't get a single screw to break if I did it properly. The larger screws rarely broke in pine even if simply screwed in, but oak required pilot holes. I did this every few years, again with hundreds of screws, just to make sure nothing changed. I never got a screw to break unless I tried to cut corners.
I have no axe to grind here; I am completely and permanently out of the business; I don't even own their stock. Thems the facts.
Brass screws are used because it is simply inappropriate to use steel screws with brass hardware. You might think it is better, but I am certain the complaints would go up by a factor of 10 if anyone did that. If you think I am wrong about that, then organize a letter writing campaign to inundate the hinge companies. Certainly they will do what the public wants, but I will be surprised if you get 100 people to demand steel. BTW, brass screws cost about 3X what brass plated steel screws do; both because of the material cost, and because the screw companies probably run 1000x as many steel as brass and scale is important. I expect the companies would be delighted to change if it cut down on complaints and saved money!
The idea of using a steel screw to tap the hole first is a good one. I actually included a steel screw with our kickplates with instructions to use it for that purpose. (We tested brass plated stainless steel screws, but the galvanic reaction was really nasty. Oh, don't get me started on galvanic reactions between brass kickplates and steel doors...)
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