Anatomy of a screw

Anatomy of a Screw

Understanding screw anatomy helps you choose the correct screws whether you need screws for furniture, decorative work or marine applications. Exploring various screw parts, materials and coatings can tell you what style and design will fit your needs.

What Are the Parts of a Screw?

Various screw parts serve their own distinct functions. Learning each part of the screw can help you figure out what materials, coatings and finishes may be right for you. Here are the eight parts of a screw you should remember.

1. The Drive

The drive is the area of the screw where you can use a tool to turn the fastener. This part fits into the bit or wrench, depending on the features used on the screw itself. True to its name, the drive’s function is to drive the screw into the final position.

2. The Head

The head is the top part of the fastener and contains the drive section. The head may come in different shapes depending on your preferred application, and its style will determine how you measure the length of the fastener.

3. The Body

The screw’s body is everything from the bottom of the head to the bottom point of the screw. A screw’s body includes the shank, point and threads.

4. The Shank

The shank of the screw refers to the screw’s core — the portion that the threads wrap around. Many people call the shank the stem of the screw.

5. The Threads

The threads of a screw come in different variations depending on what kind of application you need them for. They have a helical shape and spiral down toward the bottom of the screw. The threads’ measurements will vary depending on whether they use standard or metric units.

mechanical advantage of screws

Threads often do the most work in the screw, tightening and locking the screw in place. The mechanical advantage of the screw occurs with the use of threads, especially during rotation when the motion becomes relative to a fixed part. Screws use different thread styles for various material sizes and applications.

6. The Point

The point of the screw is the bottom of the fastener, where the shank and body end. The point, also called the tip, varies in style across various applications. Contrary to popular belief, the tip does not need to be pointed or sharp to be effective and may be blunted, tapered or sliced.

7. The Material

You can find screws made out of a variety of different materials. If you cut a screw open and check the material, you might find anything from steel to plastic to rubber. While steel and stainless steel screws are most common, other materials may also offer strength, durability or flexibility.

Your choice of material may result in a stronger or weaker screw, as some materials may be more ductile or brittle than others. Understanding the mechanical properties of your material — whether you plan to use steel, plastic, metal or rubber — can help you find the right screw to fit your needs.

8. The Finish

The screw’s finish refers to the material coating that protects the screw when it’s in use. A finish is crucial whenever you might expose the screw to harsh weather or outside forces like moisture or chemicals. For example, plain steel without any finish may rust easily, while steel with a coated finish will take longer to deteriorate.

Some of the finishes offered by All Points Fasteners include the following:

  • Zinc: Zinc is a steel coating with features like rust resistance and corrosion protection. While zinc-plated screws may still rust over time, the deterioration will happen slowly. To prevent fast rusting on zinc-finished screws, ensure you apply them to projects without a harsh outside environment and store them safely when not in use. We mainly recommend this finish for screws for indoor projects.
  • Polymer: Polymer acts as a barrier coating, creating a seal around the material with a phosphate-zinc base and a polymer coating overtop. You can use a polymer finish to coat screws with identifiable colors and finishes. This finish is also highly corrosion-resistant.
  • Chrome: Chrome-plating finishes consist of a thick layer of hard chrome. Chrome-plated screws have a hard finish that gives them excellent wear resistance but may not be able to protect against corrosion. Some like to apply chrome over a nickel-plated screw for a nickel-chrome finish that resists tarnishing and corrosion.
  • Nickel plating: Nickel-plating finishes have a silver color and excellent corrosion resistance. Along with screws, you’ll often find nickel plating on cap nuts, washers, spacers and standoffs. Consider using this finish if you want a more decorative look for your project.
  • Antique brass: An antique brass finish is chemically darkened to create a brown color with golden tones that mimics old hardware. Many use antique brass on cabinets for a warm and traditional feel.
  • Bright brass: A bright brass finish is most popular for decorative purposes in cabinet hardware or other applications. Keep in mind that it may not offer much corrosion resistance.

Other coatings we offer include bronze, ceramic and black phosphate.

The Different Screw Materials We Sell

At All Points Fasteners, we offer many kinds of screw materials that our customers may find helpful. While some materials are more popular than others, they all provide benefits for a variety of applications and projects. Customers also enjoy coating their screws to add durability and corrosion resistance.

Our four most common materials include the following:

  • Steel: One of the most common materials we offer, steel is an excellent option for those who want a less expensive but durable material.
  • Copper: Copper material fights corrosion even in applications that expose it to bad weather, moisture or chemicals. In many cases, using copper screws helps your projects last longer.
  • Ceramic-coated: Our ceramic-coated screws are water-resistant and can handle long exposure to the elements.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel screws come in various shapes and sizes. We offer magnetic or non-magnetic features depending on your needs.

Get a quote from all points fasteners

Find Reliable Screws at All Points Fasteners

At All Points Fasteners, our company provides high-quality fastener screws, including self-tapping, ZIP, gutter and roofing screws. Whatever your industry, our company offers quality parts and excellent service to fit your needs. Contact us today to speak to a representative and request a quote or call us at 800-483-6354.

Head Screw Lady Since 1986! Specializing in breaking down the language barrier between suppliers and end users. During her 35 years working in the fastener industry, MaryLouise has worked directly with end users, contractor’s, OEM’S and DIY, as well working within the import industry, working with fastener manufacturers and distributors. This has given her the unique perspective of having the technical knowledge needed to perform in the fastener world but also be familiar with the needs of end users who don’t necessarily know the fastener jargon or applications to know exactly what they need for their jobs.