What is a Wing Screw?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Man with a drill
Man with a drill

A wing screw, sometimes called a thumb screw, is a type of fastener that has two appendages on either side that allows the device to be attached without the use of tools. Most wing screws are made from some type of metal. The wings act as points of leverage for those screwing in the fasteners, and makes it easier and faster to get some jobs done. The wings may not be removed, and a wing screw may not be appropriate or desired in all applications. They may also be referred to as wing bolts.

One of the more common uses of a wing screw is in areas where the screws will be hidden from view, such as in certain types of furniture and especially in industrial settings. In these locations, the screw makes it easier to assemble and work on various parts of the item. They are generally used when connecting metal or synthetic materials to other metal or synthetic materials, and therefore usually take the place of bolts, rather than true screws. Generally, wing screws also have a blunt end, similar to a bolt.

While metal remains the most common material for a wing screw, there are various alloys and even some non-metals used. A wing screw may be low carbon, having less than a third of a percent of carbon in the alloy. Steel and nylon are other common materials used in the manufacturing of these tools. Choosing a material often depends on the situation. For example, nylon wing screws may be used around locations where there are chemicals that react adversely to metals, or if there are weight considerations.

Typically, the wing part of the screw is a piece of metal that sticks out, sometimes at an angle, from both sides of the head. In some cases, the wing may be a single piece of metal that extends above the head. This single wing screw may be a good option for those who are working in tight spaces where the wings could interfere with making sure the fastener is attached securely.

Wing screws come in a variety of different sizes, and are available in both metric and imperial measurements. They come in standard sizes, similar to many other bolts, and some manufacturers may even custom manufacture screws, especially for bulk customers. Standard sizes start at a quarter of an inch for imperial, and 6 millimeters for metric screws.

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      Man with a drill