Speaking of home wood-related repairs...

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Sort of a woodworking post...
When the choice is given to me to use a nail or a screw, I almost always choose the screw. Only time I choose a nail is when it is a finishing nail and the head is meant to sort of disappear on the application.
My logic is that screws don't eventually walk out if there are temperature fluctuations, people walking on the surface, etc.
When is a nail a better choice?
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One obvious place is when you are constructing something quick and dirty. I have some basic racks Ihave to build into a garage in the next week or so. I have one day. Sooo...., I just bang it together with nails. It ain't pretty. But it is fast. I am going to glue everything though. I figure the extra strength from the glue justifies the small amount of time to apply the glue.
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I think screws are popular for two reasons.
First, most people can't drive a nail anymore. I have carpenters that work for me from time to time that think their hammers are just adjustment tools. Without airtools, they beat the crap out of material, can't get joints to line up, and it in some cases they simply can't get the job done at all. I am now at an age where many younger "carpenters" have never worked solely with hammer and nails all day for any reason. I always make sure we have pneumatic equipment on the job now, and have for years.
Second, with the differences in today's materials screws are an important part of different aspects of construction. They are invaluable in my repairs as I don't vibrate or move things around like I do when driving large nails. Also, when using mdf, crappy plywood, etc., nails simply won't hold. Some mdf is too hard to nail together, and the nails won't hold if you get them in at all.
I still use a lot of nails. I use pneumatic and hand nails, and my stuff doesn't fall apart. Just think how many old houses aren't screwed together <anywhere>, from framing to cabinets and trim, and they are still standing...
I cannot explain that to my idiot neighbor. He spend an untold amount of money and time screwing fence boards onto his new fence. He was out there forever, thinking his fence would last as well as The Pyramids if it was screwed together. He had something like $275 bucks in screws, when he could have borrowed my utility nailer and bought a box of ring shanked galvanized nails for $55 and been through in a day.
It took him four weekends, working both days to attach with screws. I could only surmise he was just doing it for the fun.
Robert
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In dropped this bit of wisdom:

Ain't it da truth

I don't know about your "idiot neighbor", but I put in stainless steel screws so they would rot a greatly reduced rate and, maybe, be reused when the boards rotted.
Other than this 1 item, I concur.
Everywhere one looks one sees the next generation knowing less about manual labour and more about ??????????
P D Q
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I don't know about your "idiot neighbor", but I put in stainless steel screws so they would rot a greatly reduced rate and, maybe, be reused when the boards rotted.
Other than this 1 item, I concur.
Everywhere one looks one sees the next generation knowing less about manual labour and more about ??????????
P D Q
My experience is that replacing a fence is enough work with out having to save and reuse any parts. I get about 20 years out of galvanized nails in a fence application and typically the rest of the fence is about ready to go also.
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BINGO!
I couldn't agree more. I can't imagine taking a fence apart to save some old screws. I am tight, but not that tight.
Right on the spot as usual, Leon.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

FWIW, I put some scaffolding together with SPAX screws a while back. They worked fine and I highly recommend them. When I went to take it down things went as planned--other than a few buggered up heads they came right out. Then I went to knock some more together using the same screws and was surprised at how many of them broke going in--not one broke the first time but maybe 1 in 10 broke the second time.
On that basis I wouldn't bother trying to reuse screws.
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wrote:

BINGO!
I couldn't agree more. I can't imagine taking a fence apart to save some old screws. I am tight, but not that tight.
Right on the spot as usual, Leon.
Robert
It is my understanding that, in the pioneering days, people would take apart whole houses when they moved to save the nails (for the next one)!
Bill
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Bill wrote:

Back then each nail had to be hand forged. IIRC, they'd burn the old house down and sift through the ashes.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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wrote:

How many of us as kids had the job of straightening the bent nails to be re-used?
Dave in Houston
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"Dave in Houston" wrote

<raises hand>
My grandfather was a great junkman/recycler. I built a couple garages with him. Every nail was bent, recycled and in big buckets. We pullled the nail out, straightened it and drove it into the wood.
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Dave in Houston wrote: ...

...
More to the point, how many still _have_ the job? :)
I reuse stuff routinely, including structural material and nails, screws, etc., as long as still sound.
For one thing, nails >20 years old are far better straightened than most new ones and old finish nails actually have a real dimple for the nail set and a neat, finished round head (instead of A sorry clipped chunk of soft wire w/ a blob mashed onto the end for a head... :( )
--
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<SNIP>>

Thought about that when I built my deck and only used screws that were guaranteed not to rust, bust, or spring leaks.
Not even 10 years into it some boards needed replacing, cedar does not last that long either, the screws were just about a rotted out as the wood. That is why SS Screws in the fence.
BTB, all deck replacements are SS as well.
SWMBO, decreed that the gates in the fence needed to be lighter. I backed out the screws, cut the wood in half, reinstalled the screws and rehung lighter gates. SWMBO is ecstatic, I have a lot of new Brownie Points and all it cost was some manual labour. Can't beat the cost.
P D Q
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wrote:

A good screw costs money. What I like about them is that I get the 'suck' when screwing two boards together. An airnailer just doesn't do that...I find I'm invariably driving those home with an after blow from my trusty 26 oz Estwing. I really do like those nifty self- drilling stainless screws for out-door projects.
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Robatoy wrote:

I still will occasionally use the nail-by-nail technique to get that suck.
Hit one nail, pulls the piece in a bit, then hit the other nail... back and forth.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Well I wouldn't want to do what your neighbor did, but I can tell you that ring shank nails in Western Red Cedar fences (that are *everywhere* here in Texas) don't hold forever, probably because of extreme drying and shrinking in the boards. When that happens, all my repair work is done by pulling out the nails and driving screws in their place. Works for me.
--
Free bad advice available here.
To reply, eat the taco.
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Works for me, too. As far as fences go (odd.... I am replacing about 50 boards on a client's house this week as part of other work) the reason I see most verticals become loose is because they installers used 1 1/2" nails. I have used 2" for years, and no problems yet. *knocks on wood*
The repair of a fence is a perfect home for screws. The fence is probably already older, maybe a bit rickety, and not something that will take any kind of vibration from my 22 oz hammer. So screws are the perfect choice. Plus, screws make the homeowners feel really good about having high quality repairs at their home.
Screws also work great for deck repairs, and I couldn't imagine a better solution for loose or deformed deck boards. Plenty of places to use screws, no doubt.
Robert
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wrote:

Cant say that I agree. I have probably replaced 15-20 fences and the nails are still holding well enough that we cut the rails from the posts and carry the section to the trailer. Typically the boards rot out on the bottom and begin sagging. I see galvanized nails lasting a good 20 years.
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Maybe the only screwing he ever gets to do. Or, he's an engineer of some sort; they typically like to overbuild stuff.
Dave in Houston
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On 10/06/2009 01:55 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

My local lumberyard has an interesting tool/fastener. It goes in with a pneumatic tool like an air nailer, but it has spiral threads and a phillips head and comes out like a screw.
Alternately, you can get auto-feed screw guns for use with collated screws.
Chris
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