Hey Karl, and any other SPAX users

Karl, after we talked about different types of fasteners a while back, I de cided to give SPAX a try. You're right... I like them! They are a graded fastener, the have a thinner body than the screws I was using, and they are easier to drive.
However...
I like the Torx drive, but the driver they supply seems soft. The screw hea ds don't seem too deep, so you have to be at 90 degrees to have solid, no s lip drive. I am used to the hundreds of thousands of Phillips and square d rive screws I have driven, and find the fact I have to be right on top of t he screw to drive it annoying as hell. In a tight space with a long extens ion to reach, I can usually drive a Phillips head about 15 degrees of so of f parallel from the head, not so with the SPAX screws and the supplied bit. Since I do a lot of maintenance and repairs, this is pretty important to me.
It was highlighted last week when I had the kick off a long bath vanity tha t was caulked/marble topped/mirrored into place and I couldn't get to the c arcass base runners any other way than laying on my stomach and running my impact driver with a long extension with a screw on it as far back as I cou ld reach. When the screw would bite and find its way into the wood, it wou ld change the drive angle and the bit would slip from the screw. After goo fing with it (laying on my stomach getting my arms torn up by the tack stri p) for about 30 minutes I gave up and got my Phillips screws out and finish ed the job quickly.
This isn't the first time I have had drive problems with the screws, so I a m wondering what the problem might be. When I am over the screw, they driv e very well and their aggressive threads make it quick. I like they fact th at hey are graded for use, and the others I use aren't.
So is it the bit, the screws, or both? Or do I need to confine my use of th ese to more perfect conditions?
Next, how water/moisture resistant are these screws? I am getting ready to install a lot of grab bars in a house, and a few will be in the house bathr ooms. I dont' want to see the bars outside the shower/bath rust, so I am w ary. I would like to have a screw that I didn't have to drill a pilot hole to install, but I would like to have rust resistance even more.
Any thoughts would certainly be appreciated!
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/21/2015 6:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Typically torx are easier to drive than square drive and forgiving when driving at an angle, I have had great luck with torx deck screws.
Not saying to use deck screws but, I see that Spax cabinet screws use a "T-Star Drive". Is that the same as Torx? I know that there is a drive that looks like a torx but not exactly, like square drive and Robertson drive. Could you possibly be using the wrong bit? I know you said you used the one that came with it.
And FWIW I looked at HD Spax driver bits. They are not the same as Torx. Oddly they have an extension on the end that prevents the splines on the bit to reach the bottom of the screw. Torx bit don't have that extension. Weird
Spax Bit
http://www.homedepot.com/b/Tools-Hardware-Power-Tool-Accessories-Drill-Bits-Driving-Bits/T-Star-plus/N-5yc1vZc267Z1z0zuwr
Torx bit
http://www.homedepot.com/s/torx%2520bit?NCNI-5
Maybe an actual Torx bit would work better.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Saturday, August 22, 2015 at 12:02:42 AM UTC-5, Leon wrote:

When I am over the screws or in a parallel driving position, I don't notice much difference. I usually use the square drives though as Texas Tool has a great deal on 3" square drive weather resistant screws.

I hope it isn't the wrong bit! It is the one that came in the box in a smal l cellophane bag. Of course, that doesn't mean that it is the correct driv er. I do mean that seriously, I have purchased #2 Phillips bit many times that didn't fit quality screws well.

Crap, Leon. I never noticed that little nib on the end of the bit. WTF? A quick look at the bit in the box I was using indeed had the nib as shown i n the picture. On the box though, it simply describes it as a Torx bit.
I didn't think to use a regular Torx bit. Probably because I have used the se screws for the last 10+ years:
http://goo.gl/mNxcy1
These screws are supposed to be #2 Phillips, but I found out the hard way t hat they are slightly larger, and the #2 bit THEY supply actually fits perf ectly. Conversely, it almost doesn't work at all on a regular #2 Phillips. So when a manufacturer supplies a bit with their fasteners, I don't look left or right, but use the one they supply.
I like those Grip Right screws as I have never had one bit of problems with them, ever. Very rarely do they cam out, I have never broken a head or th e shaft when driving, and never had one fail. I hang cabinets with them, s crew cab stiles together with them, make repairs with them, fix decks with them, and on a on. However, a pilot hole and a head sink is a must, so aft er talking with Karl he assured me that those two steps were almost never r equired. He was right of course, and the Spax have turned out to be a time saver and a half. I guess I will try a regular Torx bit and let you know how it turns out.
They have a new brand of screws on a kiosk at one of the HDs I go in the mo st, and they were supposed to be direct competitors to both Grip Rite and S pax. They are really aggressive in their threads and have a deep cut along the side of the shaft with a sharp point that means no drilling. Could be interesting.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use square drive 99% of the time, either from an assortment of Kreg Screws or from McFeeleys. If I am in need of a lot of long 3" screws, like for 2x4 stuff I use the torx head tan coated deck screws. I have found that they are not nearly as tough or stiff as the non coated McFeeley screws. A few years ago I bought a box of 3-4 hundred of the torx coated deck screws to build shelving in my store room they worked great. I used the same batch to build a 4' x 8 ' porch on the front of the store room. I used treated 2x4's and the 5/4, 1x6 treated deck boards. I have been very disappointed in both the deck boards and or the deck screws. During the summers if the deck boards get wet they bow and actually break those coated deck screws. Oddly those deck screws are doing fine inside the shed but they are breaking on the outside. I have had to replace 5-6 in the last 3 years.
I'll have to keep an eye out for that new brand I'd screw.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

According to Spax, they use a "T-Star Plus" head. T-Star Plus is apparently the same as "Torx Plus". According to Texron (who developed Torx) the Torx Plus bit allows more torque. It's also a tad larger than standard Torx, so a regular Torx bit will fit a Torx Plus screw, but poorly.
This seems to me to be an unfortunate attempt by Texron to confuse the market. Now we have two slightly different Torx drivers that sort of work but aren't really compatible. Much like the dozen different variations on Phillips (and the tendency of cheap drivers to not exactly match any of the specifications).
FWIW, I have always heard that "square drive" and "Robertson" are exactly the same. The square drive name is used in the US because of some legal thing about the trademarking of the name Robertson in Canada.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/22/2015 8:49 AM, John McCoy wrote:

Actually Square Drive And Robertson are not the same. The Robertson drive is tapered slightly toward the point of the bit. The Robertson holds the screw better. Square drive is not. But like we all know you can make either work just like the multiple designs of Phillips like screws.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/22/2015 8:49 AM, John McCoy wrote:

http://www.robertsonscrew.com/Linked%20Files/Robertson%20Fastener%20Guide-e.version_Final.pdf
A handy guide showing how the Robertson bit fits better in a Robertson screw and types of screws.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/21/2015 6:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Robert this is why you probably are not getting a good grip on those bits and screws. If the protrusion on the end of the bit does not fit the hole in the bottom of the bit the splines are surely not going to engage properly. I doubt that a normal Torx bit will work any better on these screws, bur "maybe" they will For your application the head that Spax uses is probably not going to work well.
http://fitberg.istore.pl/upload/photos/original/28513967.jpg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/22/2015 9:40 AM, Leon wrote:

If the protrusion on the end of the bit does not fit into the hole in the bottom of the "screw" the splines are surely not going to engage properly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Leon wrote:

FWIW, I've had much better success driving these with an impact driver than a non-impact driver. The "angle of engagement" (my phrase) was even more foregiving.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/22/2015 9:40 AM, Leon wrote:

And just one more thing, I think. ;~)
Spax web site boasts, German Engineered, American Made That might be the problem. LOL
In another thread, I mentioned that I learned that Mercedes built a plant, in the US, to build cars specifically for China.
Looks like the Germans are using us to build knock offs. ;~(
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Saturday, August 22, 2015 at 9:45:57 AM UTC-5, Leon wrote:

And indeed, it may be the last thing. After looking closely at the HD site for the Spax screw descriptions, I don't know that I have the correct driv e bits for any of their screws. That sir, is a deal killer. If I drop a b it in the grass, break it, it rolls off a roof during a repair, or is worn to the point of not working, unless I purchased more of their proprietary b its I would be screwed. No thanks.
At least with the Grip Rite bits I can use a Phillips to drive them, even i f it isn't a perfect fit. I tried my Robertson bits, no dice. Same with T orx, Hex, and Square drive bits. So it is their drive bit or nothing. Not such a big deal on a shop environment, but these are sold for use as I unde rstood them, for general construction use. Out on site, a bit can get lost pretty easily.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/21/15 6:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Welcome to the dark side! :-)

You're right about their supplied bit. I just keep them around as spares. Buy some high quality Torx bits and use them. They are much more forgiving to angled driving.

As I wrote above, get some better bits. ALSO, make sure you have the proper size. Spax screws use 10, 15, and 20, IIRC. You *can* drive a 20 with a 15 and a 15 with a 10 when you are straight on and don't need huge torque, but as soon as you angle out a but, they spin. So always be sure you have the proper size. (You probably did!)

Their interior/exterior ratings are printed on the box. I wish they were printed larger, but they are there. I believe they also carry a stainless series, too, for times when you want to be super-safe.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

Just a data point concerning SPAX. I used some galvanized SPAX for various projects a while back including putting together some scaffolding and attaching a gutter.
Last winter the gutter came down with an ice dam. Looking at it all but two of the SPAX were broken, not pulled out, and the ones that broke broke off even with the plastic brackets. Of the two that pulled out, one of those was also partly broken at the same place as the others.
Also, when taking apart the scaffolding, several of the screws broke at roughly the same place as the ones holding the gutter.
They were put in and taken out with an 18v deWalt impact driver.
I don't know if this is characteristic of them, or if it was unique to the batch I have.
I also note that the ones at Home Depot are a bit different from the ones I have but I haven't compared them side by side to say in what way exactly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have read all the responses and appreciate the time taken to respond. Th is looks like it is getting harder than it needs to be for a damn screw. T hink at this point I will be using Spax to hang cabinets as I like the no d rilling needed aspect.
But I can't see myself buying a special set of bits to drive screws. I nee d to be able to go out to the truck and get the screws, drill/driver, and t he box of drivers and get started. These may just be too fussy for me. Wh en I use square drive screws from my fastener supplier, ANY square driver b it works. Even with the Grip Right screws that come with their own bit, in a pinch I can use a generic Phillips. I'm really not interested in keepin g a supply of "Spax only" drive bits in the truck along with screws that re quire a special driver meaning that I can't give either of them to one of m y carpenters knowing he may not have one of their proprietary bits. Or mak ing sure that if I send a helper out to the tool box to get screws and driv e bits that he comes back with the right combination while I am waiting for him so I can finish a task.
I think I might drop into Fastenal here in town to see what they might have that is a quality screw that uses a STANDARD torx or square bit to drive t hem.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/24/2015 1:07 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Alternatively, GRK screws, structural, regular star/torx head building code approved.
http://www.mcfeelys.com/screws-fasteners-4.html?brand_name 7
http://www.grkfasteners.com/index.php/en/
FREE Samples
http://www.grkfasteners.com/index.php/en/component/visforms/?view=visforms&id=2
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Going off on a tangent here, but "a bit different at Home Depot" tends to be a red flag for me. Home Depot is big enough in volume that they can insist on vendors making a special, lower cost version just for Home Depot. And it's a very rare thing for the lower cost version to be of the same quality as the "standard" version - the vendor has to make up the cost difference somewhere.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.