Greater utility - Woodshop News

Greater utility

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I love Torx exterior screws, especially for interior projects.

When doing some outdoor projects a number of years ago, I picked up a box of screws designed specifically for outdoor use. Although treated with a rust-inhibiting coating, they were otherwise ordinary Phillips-head screws then.

But they’ve changed a lot over the years, and for the better. For one thing, they now have self-drilling tips on them, a real asset for fast outdoor work. I liked the feature so much that I started using these exterior screws as my general go-to utility fasteners for all my projects, indoor or out. I didn’t stop drilling pilot holes, but those tips still make driving faster and easier.

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And just in the last couple years, they’ve replaced the Phillips heads with Torx or “star” drive heads that are far superior to ordinary Phillips. The driving is sure and firm, the driver never slips out, and you can even load the driver with a screw to reach hard places – just slip the screw onto the bit, and it almost always stays in place until you have it where you want it.

Best of all, I’ve found that the makers of these fasteners (and I’ve bought three different brands) all include a Torx driver bit of the correct size in every box, so I never need to search for one. As an added bonus, they’ve changed the rustproof coating color to something very neutral as you can see in the photo above, which makes them much less obvious if left visible compared to the ordinary black utility screw on the right.

I’m a total convert to these outdoor screws, and see only one downside to continuing to use them: How will I ever use up the hundreds of ordinary black screws that I still have?

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