Hardware: A Guide To Washers And Their Uses

Washers are a handy type of fastener to use! Find out some basic information about using them by reading this informative guide!

Without even giving it much thought, you have probably used washers countless times in your life. You can find washers at your local hardware, or, at your local building supply store.

A washer is a piece of hardware that is forged or fabricated. It is also known as a "fastener" since it helps to fasten screws, bolts, and nuts together. Washers are also called "spacers" since they create a space between two surfaces.

You can find a washer most anywhere in the world doing its job by helping hold two objects together. This type of fastener can be found on countless items, including automobiles, lawn tractors, playground equipment, clothes dryers, office machines, baby equipment, and many more!

Spacers are fabricated from several different types of materials. Some are made from rubber, while others are made from plastic. And yet, other washers are made from steel, stainless steel brass, et cetera. Some of these fasteners are made from one material and then are plated with another type of material. Examples of coverings include zinc, nickel, brass plating, et cetera.

Note: Washers that are made from rubber are usually used to help create a seal.

This type of fastener also comes in different types for many different applications. The three most common spacers are flat washers, locking washers, and split lock washers. Flat washers are usually thin and smooth, and they have flat sides. A locking washer resembles a star of sorts. This type has rough sides because it has points that stick up. The points grab into the material beneath it in order to made the connection more secure. And the split locking washer has thin diameter with a break in it. As the screw or bolt becomes tightened, this type of fastener squeezes together.



If you need to find this type of fastener for a job you're working on, you'll need to know exactly what size you need. A washer has three different measurements. The first one is the outside diameter; the second measurement is the inside, and the third is the thickness. You can determine the inside diameter of the spacer you need by determining the diameter of the screw or bolt you are using. For example, let's say you are going to fasten a piece of metal to a pipe by using a bolt.

Let's also say that the bolt is an eighth of an inch in diameter. This means that the inside diameter of the washer must be an eighth of an inch too. (The nut that will be threaded on the end of the bolt will also need to measure an eighth of an inch.)

Note: Fasteners such as nuts, bolts, screws and washers all are measured by either English or Metric sizes. English measurements are in inches, portions of an inch, or larger. On the other hand, Metric sizes are in millimeters or larger.

As you can see, a washer cannot be used alone. It's always used between a screw and a piece of material. Or, it's used between a nut and a bolt. Basically, this type of fastener strengthens the holding power of the other two fasteners. That is, if you were to use a screw and a nut to fasten a thin piece of metal and a pipe together, the head of the screw could be pushed through the thin metal. By using a washer in between the screw and the metal, it helps to create a strong surface for the screw to be tightened against. It also helps to reduce friction as the screw is tightened.

Washers can split or otherwise become damaged, depending on the material they are made from. Often, though, metal washers become corroded and rusty, and need replaced because they can no longer function properly.

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