TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Should You Use Brass Screws Outdoors, And If So, What Will Bring The Best Results?

brass screws

I had to bring this up because there is a guy that sells on ebay and amazon that was selling porch swings, (and he was very cocky saying his swings were the best out of everyones, and really, these other sellers have been building and selling swings for just as long as he has. And even if not, who cares? Length of time doesn’t mean you are the best at what you do.) This is what his ad said:

“To my knowledge, no one else uses brass plated screws, so their hardware will quickly rust!”

That is a lie! The screws that I use on my outdoor furniture don’t rust. His angle is to try to make others look bad. That is so arrogant!

There is a good reason nobody else uses brass screws. Though they don’t rust, they will TARNISH. Brass is soft as well, so that means that the screws will be soft. The screws will strip at the head easily, and the head will also twist off easily without a pilot hole. You can always decrease the amount of friction by putting some soap or a little wax on the screw so it will go in easier, but if the wax or soap gets on the wood, there can be problems.

What I think is the easiest route is to actually put a screw with the same cut, size and type of screw in first. Then take it out and put in the brass screw. This sounds like a hassle, but have you ever had a head of a screw break while it is driven into a piece of wood? It stinks!

If you are going to just drill a pilot hole, then here is what you need to do in order to size up the drill bit for the screw. If you have a steel box that the a set of drill bits come in, then remove each bit that you think is close to the size, and try to screw it into the hole.The hole that fits the best will be the drill bit to use with the brass screws.

I personally will never use brass screws. They have too many other better types of screws and colors instead of using brass screws. I use a dichromate screw that is copperish/golden in color on my swings, and they don’t break or strip. I have used terribly stripped bits in order to drive the dichromate screws in, and you would think that it was stripping the screw head out with the horrible sound it makes as it seems as if it is stripping the screw. But it takes a lot more than one time of doing this to strip it out.

As far as I am concerned, the stronger the screw, the stronger the piece of furniture you are building. And  brass screws are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to strength. If the individual that sells these porch swings on ebay and amazon reads this he will be upset, but how is he going to dispute it? Facts are facts. Brass is very soft and weak so the furniture will be the same.


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Ted Leger –


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Updated: December 11, 2014 — 10:41 pm
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