Roberston Screw – coming to an end

The history of the Robertson screw is 105 years long, longer than even the Phillips screw, but it’s days are now seemingly numbered.

A while ago, I posted about Kreg and their new screws (being a combination of a square drive and a Phillips drive), and how much I disliked them – with the advantages of the Robertson screw completely compromised by a new design for the head which has both a Phillips design as well as a square drive.  Where once the Robertson screw would remain firmly on the end of the square drive without falling off, and no real tendency for the driver to ‘cam-out’ of its engagement with the screw, the inclusion of the Philiips head meant the screw would fall off the driver, and cam-out was a common experience.

Had gotten to the point with the Kreg screws that I might as well just use Phillips, or find another supplier.

So at the show, I dropped into Screw-It screws, and although the initial observations looked good when looking at the softwood screws, I was shocked when I saw the hardwood ones.  They are now the same.  Disasterous.  Personally, if you want to use a Phillips drive, buy a Phillips screw.  If you want a Robertson square drive, buy a Robertson screw.  I don’t see why they have to be mixed together, compromising both types.


Had quite a chat with them about it, and they confirmed that these are the only ones that are being made now, and they cannot get them either.  Unless you are prepared to place a special order (minimum quantity around 120000 screws) with the manufacturer.  I can see the future, and it is the softwood ones will go the same way too, and then, unless there is a huge groundswell from the end users complaining about the new heads being rubbish, that’ll be the end of the 105 years of genuine Robertson screw head screws.

Someone please tell me I am wrong 😦

13 Responses

  1. Ok….you’re wrong! who knows????

  2. If I need a special screw from our wholesale supplier (AllState Fastener), it is usually in the 5 to 10,000 minimum. I have never ran into a 120K minimum volume. We use all types in the in the semi trailer industry.

    Maybe he is talking about a volume to match the cost of a very high volume screw. If the volume isn’t high enough it might cost $1 per 1K. more.

    That’s the best I can do to say it isn’t so.

  3. I blame the consumer. The same fickle mush heads who shop at bunnings and simply buy the cheapest, or the shiniest or bulk crap.

    Consumerism is like democracy. It gets over some evils, but introduces its own. The notion that the consumer even understands what they are buying has created a class of neo-zombies who believe because they can read that they understand. Screws are like this. Exactly your argument. Square drives are fundamentally superior, yet they don’t get up because some zombie has a cheap bought-in-bulk 25 peice “screwdriver kit” (featuring 24 Philips heads) from bunnings.

    The consumer is ruining it for everyone.

  4. bugger for the woodturners – i have a stash specially for using with faceplates.

    But maybe we are asking the wrong question – ask for a square-phillips bit !!!!

  5. Perhaps the average person is not buying them because there is a pxxs poor range of square drivers available for them to buy, mainly just the crap bits that come with some of the screws, no extended range, no snap fit etc.

  6. Here in Canada (birthplace of the Robertson screw) I have seen no shortage of these screws. They’re used everywhere, including electrical boxes, switches, and plugs. We love the Robertson and won’t give it up quickly. Sounds like you’ve run into an American company that can’t be bothered with continued manufacturing, importing them from Canada. A shame really, it’s by far a superior wood screw.

    • Well that is good news – so long as they don’t get compromised with the ability to also fit a Phillips screw all will remain right in the world. Now we just need someone to import the genuine ones into Australia, not the compromised crap.
      I do not understand Kreg. They have based their jig around the Robertson screw, and have no need for Phillips drive at all. So why wouldn’t they stick with an uncompromised, genuine Robertson design?

      • Follow the money…….

      • well looking at leevalley even they seem to have succumbed.

        Apparently this Robertson phillips combination drive is called Recex.

        Options – look for torx bits or apparently there is an 8 sided drive called scrulox which takes the Robertson bit also or an 8 sided drive bit.

        • Well it is good to be able to put a name to the disaster. To follow on from an acronym Eric shared, they are very much NIMS. (Not in my shed), and the sooner I use up the supply I unwittingly got with the Kreg storage container, the happier I will be.

          Might have to import my own from Canada if noone else is going to bother to supply genuine Robertson screws down under, instead of this Recex crap.

  7. Might want also consider NIMBY (not in my backyard). The Americans didn’t invent it and they are loathe to support it.

  8. I am a newcomer to square drive screws I only wish that I had been using them for years they make life much easier. Especially when you don’t need 2 hands to do work you have one to hold the project steady. Hope the bloody hell the don’t change them

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