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Fasteners are simply tools that join materials. They can be nails, screws, nuts and bolts, or toggles. Typically, nails and toggles are used to fasten wood, screws are used to fasten wood or metal, and nuts and bolts are used for machines. Here is a list of different types of fasteners and how they are used.


1. Common nail--a general purpose nail for construction work

2. Box nail--lighter nail, used for thin wood

3. Wire nail--smallest version of the common nail

4. Drywall nail--secures wall panels

5. Finishing nail--used for finishing work because the head is small and sinks beneath the surface; used for cabinets or areas where you want nails to be painted over and not seen

6. Casing nail--a heavier version of the finishing nail and can be used outdoors

7. Wire brad--small nail used for molding; like the finishing nail, the top sinks in

8. Aluminum roofing nail--for metal or plastic roofing; has a plastic washer for watertight seal

9. Roofing nail--used for roofs because of its extra large head to hold down shingles; also, usually has a coating to resist water

10. Masonry nail--this is the hardest of nails, made of steel to hammer in concrete

11. Double-headed nail--used for project where nails will be removed later; great for overhead work, so nails can be seen, then removed

12. Cut nail--the only nail without a sharp end; used on flooring

13. Tacks--short sharp nails used to hold carpet or fabric in place


1. Oval-head screw--used for woodworking; has oval head and is considered decorative so you can leave it protruding from the wood

2. Roundhead screw--strong and can be used on wood or metal; has round head and can be left protruding from the material

3. Particleboard screw--made to drive through particle board; sharp end and deep grooves cut through the thick glue in the particle board

4. Drywall screw--thin, but strong; made to cut into drywall, even studs

5. Sheet-metal screw--screw is grooved its entire length; made to cut into and hold in sheet-metal; it's good to drill a starter hole before drilling this screw directly to the material

6. Lag bolt--has a hex-shaped head, so it can be driven into wood with a wrench; the strongest of wood screws

7. Dowel screw--made for one purpose: to adjoin wood at both ends; has grooves on both sides so you can screw one end onto, say a table, then screw the leg of the table on the other end

8. Hanger bolt--uses the same concept as the dowel screw, except one end has grooves for wood, the other end for machinery; this end will be fastened with a nut


Bolts are described by the type of head they have and what type of nuts screw to them. Nuts can screw to the bolt or to all different types of machinery. They are selected based on what type of tool you want to use to screw them on and off.

1. Machine bolts: come with hex or square heads and accept hex or square nuts

2. Carriage bolts: have oval heads accept multiple nuts

3. Stove bolts: have slotted heads and accept multiple nuts


Toggles can be used alone but are usually used in conjunction with screws to hold something against a wall. Usually, they are used if there isn't a stud, which is why the nail or screw wouldn't hold itself

1. Winged toggle--this toggle spreads its wings when driven behind the wall; then the screw is tightened, holding the screw in place and the toggle tight behind the wall

2. Hollow-wall anchor--this collapses its sides when a bolt is driven into it; works the same as a winged toggle by holding the bolt tight against a wall while it tightens against the back side of the wall

3. Plastic toggle--springs open once a screw is placed in it

4. Metal drive-in anchor--has sharp legs that stay tight as you hammer it into the wall but spreads once you put a screw in the head of the anchor.