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.

screw-1

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 😦

Sinking one in the Corner Pocket(hole)

With the Pockethole Jig securely mounted with a large support area, it makes cutting the pocketholes in a table top very easy.

In this case, I wanted to join two pieces of particle board along a 45 degree cut to create the corner bench.

Ripping the benchtop

Ripping the benchtop

Firstly, I prepared the benchtop from an old work desk (amazing what gets thrown away these days) (Remember I did get the max score on the cheapskate woodworker quiz!).  The top was ripped to 400mm wide, for no particularly good reason, other than it looked about right.

Benchtop laid out

Benchtop laid out

I marked out the location of the pocketholes (this only has to be approximate – given it is on the underside and therefore won’t be seen).  I chose centres of 100mm, and had holes going from both sides of the mitre to maximise the joint strength (and obviously making sure that the screws were not going to run into each other!)

Ready to cut the Pockethole

Ready to cut the Pockethole

Now you can see why I wanted the extra capacity for the Pockethole Jig.  It is then a very simple, and quick operation to cut the required holes.

Cutting the Pocketholes

Cutting the Pocketholes

Here the holes are being cut.  The depth of the hole is regulated by the stop that was set earlier.  The ‘secret’ about the pockethole, is it creates this elliptical opening at an angle in the board which does not go full depth.  A pilot hole continues on another 8mm or so further guiding the screw.  The bottom of the main hole is flat, so it gives a good area for the head of the screw to press against.  I’ll go into more detail (photographic rather than continuing a lame description) in the near future.  Needless to say, it is very easy, and by planning the project with this joining method in mind, it is easy to locate the pocketholes out of sight.  If need-be, there are plugs the correct shape to fill the hole, and disguise it’s existance (or by using a contrasting coloured plug, to use it as a feature)  Personally, I just keep the pocketholes out of sight.

Benchtop Joined

Benchtop Joined

Here is the resulting (underside) of the benchtop, all joined with the Pockethole joint.  The screws used are the square headed Robertson screw (which actually predates the Phillips screw head by about 20 years).  They are particularly suited in this application being a full recess-drive type fastener, and as such stay properly located on the square drive (provided with the jig).  Phillips screws can also be used (so long as they have a flat bottom to the head, and ideally are ferrous so can stay located on a magnetised driver).  Of course the purists swear that the Robertson screw is the only one that should be used. (Seems strange using the term purist and Pockethole in the same sentence).

I attached the ‘legs’ for the bench in the same way.

The Commissioned Bench

The Commissioned Bench

The resulting bench, in location with the sanders ready to go.  I also decided that it would make a reasonable location for the also-homeless scrollsaw.  I’m feeling more organised by the minute.

Now that this corner is sorted (and there is plenty of storage capacity under this bench as you can see), the next task is going to be ripping the large rolling cabinet in half, and wall-mounting the resulting cupboards.  Given the size and weight of the cabinet (even empty, with shelves and doors removed), this will be an interesting task.

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