Fastener Selection Guidelines: Different Types of Fasteners and Their Uses

Date of post: May 28, 2021   By: LINC Systems

Does your next job require a staple, a hog ring or a clip?

Selecting the right fastener for your application may seem simple at first look, but there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when making your selection. For a secure and lasting joint, it’s important to consider the weight and specification of the load or product, as well as exposure to environmental conditions, pressures, vibrations, corrosive elements, shock or moisture.

Sounds like a lot. It can be. We’re here to help.

We do more than just sell staples, nails and screws as well as the highest-quality fasteners and fastening tools from top-rated suppliers. We can assess your needs and help you choose the right fasteners, pneumatic tools and automated equipment to eliminate operational bottlenecks, handle material changes and improve the safety and quality of your production lines.

Not only do we have experts on standby ready to serve your needs, but we’ve also packed our website with helpful information and educational resources to make sourcing and purchasing your supply items easy.

Let’s go over a few of the basics before we dive deeper into what you need to know when selecting the appropriate fasteners for your next project.

What is a Fastener?

You work with them every day, yet they are probably the most overlooked component in your tool budget. Screws, nuts, bolts, nails, staples and rivets are just a few of the many types of fasteners sitting on your shelves and in your tool boxes now. They come in many sizes, types and configurations and are designed to create a secure connection in your assembly.

Fastener Selection - Which Fastener to Use?

Fastener selection is simple, right? Choose the right size nail or screw and you’re done. But while many users understand the differences between a nail and a screw, or a collated screw versus a hog ring, far fewer appreciate the thought that goes into industrial fastener selection. No one will praise you for choosing the right fastener, but you can be sure choosing the wrong or lesser-quality fastener will get you more attention than you want. And not in a good way.

By choosing the wrong type of industrial fastener for the application, you run the risk of serious safety and operational disasters such as:

  • Shorter product life and performance
  • Increased labor and repair costs
  • Voided warranties
  • Poor connection capabilities
  • Safety issues from leaks or load failure

Why Attributes Matter in Fastener Selection

How do I choose the right screw, nail or staple for my needs? If you find yourself asking this question, don’t worry. We’ve created a handy glossary of fastener facts to help you on your way. Below, you’ll find the most common attributes to consider when selecting fasteners:

Fastener Type
The most common types of fasteners include nails, screws, clips, pins, rivets, staples, bolts and anchors. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles to suit every industrial need.

Fastener Diameter
The thread diameter (T) of most fasteners is measured on the outside of the threads. The shank diameter (S) is the measurement of the area directly under the fastener head. The root diameter (R) is the measurement of the fastener inside the threads.

Screw Fastener Diameter
 

Fastener Galvanization
Galvanization protects fasteners from corrosion. It works by coating the steel with zinc. The amount of zinc applied is critical to its basic corrosion resistance and can be applied in three ways:

  • Hot Dipped: Nails are dipped in a vat of molten zinc.
  • Mechanical: Nails are tumbled with zinc balls.
  • Electrogalvanized: Zinc is attracted to nail by electrostatic charge.

Fastener Length
Fastener length is typically measured from the under the head of the fastener (where the surface of the material sits) to the end of the fastener. One exception is for countersunk fasteners that sit flush with the surface of the material. In this case, the length is measured from the top of the head to the fastener point.

Types of Materials
Fasteners can be made from a variety of materials and each material has predetermined strength, brittleness, hardness and corrosion resistance. Common materials include plain steel, stainless steel, aluminum, hardened steel or galvanized steel. But fasteners can be constructed from plastic, titanium and more. Always consider the result you are looking for when considering the material your fastener will be constructed from.

Guide to Different Types of Fasteners and Accessories

There are fastening tools and accessories for just about every industrial need. If you’re curious on how to select the right fastener for your needs, we have you covered. Learn more about the most common industrial fasteners, tools and accessories on the market today:

NAILS

Nail Points
Knowing the different kinds of nail points will help you match the proper fastener for the type of wood used in an application.

  • Diamond points are used mostly for soft woods because the sharper point drives easier, offers better withdrawal strength and splits woods easier.
  • Chisel points are used mostly for hardwood because the blunter point drives harder, has less withdrawal strength and splits wood less.
  • Ballistic points are used for wood to light gauge steel applications and is shaped like a bullet.

Nail Shank
The nail shank does the bulk of the holding. Variations of the shank include smooth shank, ring shank, screw shank and spiral shank.

choosing right fastener by nail shank

Source: Bostitch

Nail Type
Nails are among the most common fasteners and are available in three different variations:

  • Coil nails are made for high-volume applications, these coils contain large quantities of nails that minimize reloading time and help you work faster.
  • Stick nails are common in construction because fewer nails can be loaded into your nail gun, making the tool lighter and easier to maneuver.
  • Finish nails, T-nails and Pins are usually rectangular, rather than having a round cross section and have a smaller diameter than coil and stick nails. This makes them ideal for finish work.

Shank Deformation
Shank deformation is a term that differentiates threaded shank nails from smooth shank nails. Ring shank nails or screw shank nails simply implies a greater holding power than that of a smooth nail (plain shank) and is ideal in applications where expansion and contraction are an issue.

Plain shank is common in applications such as framing. Ring shank nails are used in softwood applications because softwood has fibers that bend but don’t break. Screw shank nails are used in hard wood applications and twists itself into the wood.

Collated Nails

Collated Nails

Collated nails are nails that are attached to each other in some way as a strip or a coil, as opposed to individual nails. Collated nail options can include coil, finish, brads and pins, large coil nails, strip nails and T-nails.

 

Pallet Nails

Pallet Nails

Pallet nails are flat-headed screw-shank fasteners used in pallet construction and are available in bulk pallet nail options or collated coil pallet nail options.

 
 

STAPLES

Staple Crown
Staples are commonly used fasteners in every application include office work, furniture building, pallet construction and carton closing. To accommodate such a wide variety of tasks, choose from different variations of staples. They include wide crown staples, medium crown staples and narrow crown staples.

Wide crown staples are heavy-duty staples that are large in size and used for roofing, furniture framing and carton to skid attachment. They are measured in gauges. The smaller the gauge, the heavier the staple.

Medium crown staples are commonly used in construction for shingles, fascia, soffits and fencing, but can also be used in furniture framing and pallet making.

Narrow crown staples are used in applications considered to be more “delicate” and include installation of trim, lattice, drawer making applications and installing soffit and fascia.

Staples

Staples

Industrial staples can be both light duty and heavy duty and are available in various thickness including fine wire, heavy wire and medium wire, various crown widths and gauges, as well as coil or stick options.

Browse Staple Options
 

SCREWS

Fastener Thread Pitch
Thread pitch is used in metric fasteners and indicates the distance between threads in millimeters (mm). Typically, smaller screws will have finer threads and lower thread pitch. Larger screws will have coarser threads and a higher thread pitch. American fasteners use what is called a thread count, or threads per inch (TPI), which counts the number of threads along the length of a fastener.

Collated Screws

Collated Screws

Collated screws are screws that are attached to each other in some way as a strip or a coil and provides faster installation and better results in drywall, decking and flooring applications.

Scrail Fasteners

Scrail Fasteners

Scrail fasteners are fasteners manufactured by Fasco and can be driven twice as fast as collated screws. Scrail fasteners are available in a variety of collations, heads and coatings to help increase productivity in many applications.

 

Structural Screws

Structural Screws

Structural screws are high-strength, heat-treated construction screws that can be used in place of lag screws for stronger and more lasting connections.

 
Browse Screw Options
 

CORRUGATED FASTENERS

Corrugated Fasteners

Corrugated Fasteners

Corrugated fasteners are made from cold rolled steel strips and have a chisel point that can be driven into wood to clamp two objects together. Corrugated fasteners offer strong holding power and durability in a variety of applications that include joining mitered wood, timber or composite joints.

 
Browse Corrugated Options
 

HOG RINGS

Hog Rings

Hog Rings

Hog Rings are C-shaped or D-shaped fasteners with sharp or blunt points that can be bent to fasten two objects together. Galvanized and stainless-steel pneumatic hog rings are available in a wide variety of sizes and various features such as C-Ring and D-Rings, and blunt tip and sharp tip. Optimal for many applications including automotive seating, bag closure, bedding, fencing, spring mattress and more.

 
Browse Hog Ring Options
 

CLIPS

Furniture Clips

Furniture Clips

Furniture clips are fasteners that enable faster and longer-lasting assembly in industrial furniture-making applications like box spring assembly, framing and attaching upholstery.

 
Browse Clip Options
 

WIRE FASTENERS

Rebar Tie Wire

Rebar Tie Wire

Rebar tie wire is used for securing rebar or tying several rebars together. Made from low carbon steel, rebar tie wire offers flexibility and corrosion resistance for your toughest jobs.

 
Browse Wire Fastener Options
 

FASTENING HARDWARE

Fastening Hardware

Fastening Hardware

Fastening hardware are devices that can affix or attach two or more objects together and can include anchors, bolts, nuts and washers.

 
Browse Fastening Hardware Options
 

5 Points to Remember When Choosing Fasteners

Know the application. You need to know the application in which the fastener will be used, but you should also be mindful of how that fastener will impact the end-user or customer and the quality of your product. What purpose will the end product serve? Will fasteners be used to open and close repeatedly on a product or will the product experience vibration? Then, a fastener made from a long-lasting material may be a wise choice. Are you building pallets to meet high load capacity or transportation needs? Then, choose a high-quality nail that resists corrosion and ensures strong joints for longer pallet life.

Know the fastening tool. To choose the right fastener, you must understand the tool you’ll be using to apply it. Nails, screws, staples and other fasteners have specific needs and require tools that are specific to the application. Mixing and matching fasteners and fastening tools are rarely successful as different tools have varying amounts of torque or speed and can cause damage to the workpiece of the fastener. Be sure to know the limitations of your fastener and workpiece, as well as the specifications associated with the tool itself.

Know the material. Choose a fastener that matches the material requirements in your fastener assembly. Don’t forget to consider using a stronger material than the parts they support if budget allows. Choose materials based on the properties that are appropriate for the application, such as temperate minimums and maximums, chemical composition and hardness factors. Finish hardness is another attribute to consider. When selecting the best finish for your fasteners consider safety, corrosion resistance, joint functionality and impact resistance.

Know your specifications. Be sure to understand the various specifications of both the job and the fastener and match them accordingly. For example, consider staple selection. You need staples for your carton-closing applications and you know you need galvanized steel to resist corrosion. That’s a great start. But what size crown do you need? What size gauge? There are countless varieties of industrial staples and choosing the wrong one can be challenging.

Don’t pinch pennies. The integrity of a finished product weighs heavily on the choice of fasteners. Don’t attempt to cut costs or save money by choosing an inferior fastener. The last thing you’ll want in any application is a weak joint or poor connection, so try to think long-term concerning fastener selection. Choose high-quality fasteners that stand the test of time.

 

If you’re not sure about the fasteners your job requires, reach out to your knowledgeable LINC Systems representative. We can help you identify the right tools, fasteners and accessories you need to work smarter and safer. If you have any questions on fastener selection, please contact us today by calling 800.513.9918 or visit LINCsystems.com.

LINC Systems Blog