Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Canadian Way To Screw

Whenever Canadians get wood, we employ a uniquely Canadian approach to conjoining which minimizes, if not completely eliminates, stripping. And if your other hand is occupied doing something else, you can do it single-handed. Sure, our approach is square, but we always get the job done, and satisfaction is guaranteed.

Invented in the early 20th century, the Robertson square drive screw still remains as one of the single greatest innovations of the industrial age, Indeed, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation ranks it number 7 in its list of greatest Canadian inventions, ahead of the Blackberry and the zipper, but strangely behind five-pin bowling. Yet it is rarely found outside our borders. But I digress.

The system employs only five sizes of screwdrivers, each of whose handles have a unique colour: black, red, green, yellow and orange, ranging from largest to smallest. This comes in particularly useful when ordering subordinates (i.e. wives and children) to fetch the appropriate screwdriver - since terms like small and large are relative, and it is nigh on impossible to accurately determine Torx size with the naked eye, this colour coding completely eliminates possible screw-ups.

And, most importantly, you won't strip the head of the screw if you have the proper size of driver. IMHO, the good lord should open up a new level in the bowels of hell for those who invent or perpetuate the use of the Phillips or slotted head screws. I mean, if Wikipedia feels the article on the Phillips screwdriver necessitates having a section on how to choose the appropriate size, something is amiss:

Using too small a screwdriver for a given Phillips head screw is likely to damage the screw head, and may damage the screwdriver as well. The correct size screwdriver is the largest one that fits. If you have a full range of sizes available, start with the size one step larger than you think will fit, and work your way down one size at a time until you get to the first one that fits in the screw head. But also see the section on different national specifications for size and shape.

In these days of free trade agreements and globalization, more and more of our tools are being sourced offshore. Consequently, those all-in-one screwdrivers and screwdriver sets do not include the Robertson drive, much to my consternation. Almost all the cabinetry and other woodwork in this house use the venerable Robertson, but could I find any Robertsons in the numerous screw drive sets I've accrued over the years - NO! Sure, I have slot, Phillips, Torx and hex, but not my sainted Robertsons.

Not that I mind Torx and hex, which don't strip the heads of your fastener and will hold a screw or bolt singlehanded, but you need a multiplicity of them to ensure you have the right size. Torx, for example, comes in 24 sizes, ranging from T1 to T100, while hex (in both metric and SAE flavours) has at least 37.

So, woodworkers of the world - UNITE! Throw off the shackles of cumbersome and inefficient fasteners, and embrace your inner squareness.

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Anonymous Ronald Pegram said...

We couldn't agree more with this blog. :) See these very screws (and more) at www.mcfeelys.com.

9:22 AM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

So are the holes in the nuts square too??

12:58 AM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

I prefer big rusty nails.

5:56 PM  
Blogger marty said...

I have a few screws loose, how can I get a set?

10:55 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

The funny part is the drivers are probably made in China in the same factory that makes Phillips screwdrivers.

1:15 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

ronald - I usually do not allow commercial links in my Comments, but because you are so wise I will allow it. Thanks :-)

phos - no, I'm afraid you possess the only nuts which are square.

phos - has the anesthetic worn off yet?

Marty - I would suggest nut-lock for your condition.

phos - strangely enough, the glorious and all-knowing People's Republic does manufacture them.

2:58 PM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Just read this today.

LOL'd at the first paragraph.

1:45 PM  

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