Which screw head do you prefer?

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Dave_E

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2014
Messages
276
Location
USA
Vessel Name
Agnus Dei
Vessel Make
36' Shin Shing
Hi All,

As I get more familiar with my boat, I see that most of it's screw type fasteners all have straight slot heads, and that's to be expected from something made in the 70's. As I have been replacing the floorboards down below, every straight slot screw I take out gets replaced by a phillips head screw. But from time to time I come across a square drive head. I got to thinking... there's no stripping that sucker. The only draw back I see with trying to use them exclusively is availability in all sizes we need aboard ship.

What do you use/prefer and why?

Dave
 
I use phillips head screws.

Not because they are the best, sinply because they, and the bits are available in stainless locally.
 
I really like the square drive heads. They come in a variety of hole sizes and also a variety of driver tips.


Second choice for me would be the star shape holes. (Can't think of the name as I'm not quite awake yet).


Third would be phillips head and distant last would be the flat, slot head.
 
To me ,the square drive are probably the most practical since they really give a good bite on the head & can be cleaned easily when fouled with dirt paint etc. That said, all I ever use & keep on my boat & in my service van are the trusty phillips head. They do a reasonable job of staying in the bit when held horizontally & are found everywhere. I throw every straight slot I come across overboard.
 
You can strip the square heads. :-(

Seems just as you accumulate a collection of different sized flat screw drivers they change to Phillips and the different types of those and then on & on until you need a separate tool box/bag just for screwdrivers. The large kits of bits certainly helps cut down on the problem..

Then you get Torx and on to Hex and on to sSquare just to be sure I never have the proper fitting, correct screw driver for the task.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_screw_drives
 
Wonder how many straight slot screws in near perfect condition are underwater in the mud?

:)
 
Square drive Robertson hardware is very common in Ontario—perhaps the standard. Much harder to strip than Phillips and easier to drive than slotted heads. I wish it would catch on in the US.
 
Square and Torx seem to be better than phillips as far as resisting "cam-out". Good fresh phillips bits help prevent cam-out, but once screw head does it once, it is down hill fast. Get it out of there if you can and replace it.

Just not as much variety available in SS square and worse with torx. Phillips rules the hardware store bins, so we have to deal with it. Done right, it is rare to strip even the phillips. Good bit, no angle, some down pressure, fresh screw, should be good.

Much hate for straight slots. Not self centering. Thank the good Lord they are not commonly sold. Pity those that have to deal with the old boats with these. Did I mention hate???

I did my whole house deck and steps with torx bit screws. I don't think I stripped a single one.
 
Good old Robertson. Invented in Ontario. Until the USA sees the light it will never be ubiquitous unfortunately.
I really hate the Phillips in comparison, generally replace them with Robertson if I can.
 
Robertson, Canadian, Hatteras, Square Head...sameo-sameo. My boat is built with them and I am glad.
 
Yea, what us stateside call square drive looks like the Canadian Robertson.

Same??
 
My boat was built with square drive screws. I really like them. They are almost impossible to strip and you can often put the screw on the driver and start driving it, something you can't do with straight or phillips screws.

Square drive screws are pretty common in furniture making and woodworking. If you can't find the drivers locally, they are easily available at woodworking stores or on the Internet.
 
When I first started to deal with boats about 25 years ago, I was surprised by the near universal use of phillips screws. I was used to slotted types for all sorts of stuff. Even though you had to be centered and square with your driver, you could put a lot of force on a slotted screw. And if you could get to it, you could deepen the slot with a hacksaw and really torque it.

But seeing them on boats I began to warm to phillips and now when I see a slotted, I say Oh ****, why couldn't it be a phillips particularly if it is a bit hard to get to so your driver isn't square.

Then like Ski I repaired a deck with torx screws and fell in love with those. I also have used the square drive and like them just as much.

But like Kevin I am ok with phillips as they are the most common type and work pretty well.

David
 
Greetings,
Robertson/square drive. I've found a wide variety at Fastenall including the drivers. Phillips go into the trash immediately upon removal unless they are specific purposed as in a piece of equipment.

I rate Torx worse than Phillips. Although they don't strip out as readily, the large number of driver sizes is a PIA.
 
In our old boat, there were a lot of phillips and I changed them out whenI could. I mentioned it to a friend while a surveyor was there and they both said that they would do the exact opposite. Hindsight being as it is, they are correct. Squares are indeed far better. Managing a phillips head is 100% about downward pressure. Pushing down hard will keep you working and not cussing. I guess the big picture thing is really availability. You can get phillips screws and drivers in the grocery store. :)
 
Torx are the bomb, they offer much more drive surface area to apply pressure to, making them far less likely to strip out.
Of course you still need to take care to keep the driver inline with the screw, as with any screw head configuration.
Having blown out elbows, extensive hammering is no longer an option, I use screws for everything I used to nail.
The worst screws are the combo Phillips/square drives sold at big box stores, they don’t work well with either type of bit!
 
Australia is finally starting to stock Robertson (square drive) screws. We can even buy them stainless Robertsons at Bunnings now for a good price.

I also like European Pozi drive screws. Both the screw and the screwdriver are often mistaken for a phillips but are much better. They are used on Ikea furniture and cabinet hinges. Invest in a Pozidrive screwdriver if you don't have one because I'm sure everyone uses the screws on occasion.
 

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Hi All,

As I get more familiar with my boat, I see that most of it's screw type fasteners all have straight slot heads, and that's to be expected from something made in the 70's. As I have been replacing the floorboards down below, every straight slot screw I take out gets replaced by a phillips head screw. But from time to time I come across a square drive head. I got to thinking... there's no stripping that sucker. The only draw back I see with trying to use them exclusively is availability in all sizes we need aboard ship.

What do you use/prefer and why?

Dave

Personally, I do not even let slot head screws on my boat.
Stainless steel Phillips head screws are my choice.
 
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Torx drive should be the standard. It’s advantage over square drive is minor which leads to a huge debate over which is superior and depending on your specific needs square drive might be more convenient. However at this time Phillips is the most readily available hard ware.

Sadly like most I replace slotted with Phillips.
 
Advantages of Robertson over Phillips

- Much more rotational force can be applied without slipping/stripping
- Vertical pushing force is not required
- The screw will stay on the end of the screwdriver allowing one-handed work in tight spaces (very useful on a boat)
- Less problems with paint or dirt because there is more depth to the driver
- Only 5 sizes of Robertson cover the full range (3 common) vs 7 sizes for Phillips (5 common)
 
The Robertson or "square head" are far and away my preferred head. Hatteras used them throughout the boat. Not only near impossible to strip but snap right on to the bit for easy one hand driving.
Never had an issue getting them. They are very popular in construction of high quality docks decks and boardwalks.
 
I prefer the square drive but replace them with Phillips. If the square drive were available in all the sizes, plus pan, oval and flat head, and in 316 SS I would use them. Unfortunately they're not, and I find it annoying to keep going back and forth. Will only use 316 SS on the exterior of the boat, and square drive 316 SS isn't available except for the most common sizes.

Ted
 
Robertson! Philips screws are the spawn of Satan! Robertson screws in high grade stainless are readily available in Canada.
 
I love the square drive but my local chandlery has quit carrying them because they strip out. I think the issue is that stainless is just too soft for a lot of pressure in a small screw no matter what the drive pattern is. I try to use the largest square drive head I can fit so it has less chance of stripping.

I often damage phillips head stainless hardware on the first install, after the hole is made they are a lot easier to drive (the second time) and damage potential goes down. I especially love them for wire hangers driven where you can't see what you are doing, they stay on the driver so much better...
 
Actually a Square Drive and a real Robertson are not the same.
The Robbie driver has a wee taper for an interference fit with the screw socket. If the screw was well made it will have that same wee taper. Means you can get the screw to stick on the driver similar in manner to a Morse taper but not as determined.
A Square drive screw will not do that. It will fall off.
YOu may not have a choice but I roundly/squarely curse the Square drive. The difference really does make a difference.
 
Actually a Square Drive and a real Robertson are not the same.
The Robbie driver has a wee taper for an interference fit with the screw socket. If the screw was well made it will have that same wee taper. Means you can get the screw to stick on the driver similar in manner to a Morse taper but not as determined.
A Square drive screw will not do that. It will fall off.
YOu may not have a choice but I roundly/squarely curse the Square drive. The difference really does make a difference.

I can believe that. You also need the right driver. When the hardware monger showed me the driver he uses- I was amazed. I used to buy the cheapies by the dozen, now I use the more expensive ones. The screw/driver fit was superior and there was far less zinging. Same screws. And indeed you can feed the screw on to the driver and have it stick.
 
anything but slotted!
 
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