Nuts, bolts, screws, washers—you see them every day. They are the fasteners that hold most of the mundane "stuff" of our world together. You may even have worked with enough of them to recognize when you need a flat head screwdriver or a Phillips screwdriver. But would you know a fillister head screw from a pan head screw? How about just a wood screw from a metal screw? Would you look for a hangar bolt in your closet, or an acorn nut on a tree?
Most of the time these distinctions won't matter to you that much. Yet when you have to join wood to wood, wood to metal, metal or metal, or indeed any two rigid materials, using the right hardware can make all the difference between a job done well and a job done poorly. To help you see your projects to a successful conclusion, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has compiled this handy Hardware Fasteners Guide. It provides pictures and descriptions for 75 types of fasteners, as well as a thread comparison chart for both English and metric bolts.
For related information, see our article Wood Screws: Best Uses for the Best Types.