When working on a home improvement project, it is important to pay close attention to the details. The wrong materials or sizes can have a major impact on the results. This is especially true when it comes to fasteners. For example, using a screw with a larger diameter than is required can split the wood that it is supposed to affix. Knowing how to read a screw size chart can help you avoid this problem.
The three basic measurements on a screw are its gauge, threads per inch (TPI), and shaft length in inches. When determining what gauge to use, it is helpful to remember that the gauge number increases as the diameter decreases. Thus, a number 10 screw has a greater diameter than a number 8 screw, despite being the same gauge.
Most screws are marked with both the gauge and thread count on the head, or top, of the screw. The gauge is usually the first number on the label, followed by the TPI and shaft length. Sometimes, the TPI is listed as a number, while other times it is expressed in millimeters. The diameter is also often marked in both imperial and metric units.
Screws have a wide variety of head types, which can greatly influence their use. For example, a screw with a flat head is often used to secure metal to wood. Screws with a phillips head are typically used to affix electronic components. In addition, many screws are marked with a special symbol to indicate they are left-handed. These screws have a different tolerance class and are typically more expensive than standard screws.
Once you have determined the screw’s gauge and threads per inch, you can determine its diameter by multiplying the two numbers together. For instance, a screw with a diameter of 0.162 inches has a thread pitch of 32 TPI and is 1-1/4 inches long. This makes it a perfect choice for use in most woodworking projects.
Choosing the correct screw for a particular task can be challenging, however, as there are many factors to consider. For example, when securing wooden boards together, the screw should be long enough to reach at least half of the thickness of the board. If possible, it should also be long enough to provide adequate support and prevent splitting of the wood.
The best way to ensure that you are purchasing the right screw for a job is to look at the callout on the box. This number will tell you all of the essential information about the screw. The letter M indicates that the screw is a machine screw. The next number is the screw’s diameter, which is called its major diameter. This is measured in fractions of an inch and starts at 0.013” for the smallest screws, which are often called fillister screws, and ends at 0.170” for the largest, which are known as cheesehead screws. The final number is the screw’s tolerance class, which is designated by a number from one to five and tells you how tight or loosely the screw fits into tapped holes and nuts. #8 screw diameter