Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chicago Screws

When I was learning things at my father's and grandfather's knee, I learned about something called a Chigaco Screw.   These things are the bees knees for leather work, and I was doing some work on a holster, and I went to my local hardware store, and they had never heard of Chicago Screws.

"Never heard of a chigago screw." the kid told me.

"You've got them, let's go look" I replied.

And he had them, but they were labeled Post Nuts, which I guess makes sense, because it's a standard machine screw with a fancy threaded post and flange for the nut.  I bought the three that he had, then two days later needed more and went to Lowe's in town.    I asked for Chicago screws, got the same blank gaze.  But, the hardware guy and I looked and found them.  For the record, they look like this.
So, I started Googling around, and found this:
A sex bolt, (also known as a barrel nut,[1] barrel bolt, Chicago screw or post and screw), is a type of fastener (nut) which has a barrel-shaped flange and protruding boss that is internally threaded. The boss sits within the components being fastened, the flange provides the bearing surface. The sex bolt and accompanying machine screw sit flush on either side of the surfaces being fastened. It is normally chosen because of its low profile compared to other nuts. The sex bolt often has a built-in feature, such as a slot, to aid in tightening the fastener. Some sex bolts, more commonly known as architectural bolts, have knurled barrels to allow one-sided assembly. Binding posts are similar to architectural bolts in that they are designed to be assembled from one side, but they have teeth on the flanged surface to keep them fixed.
At any rate, I found a few at Lowe's and have enough to finish the project.  What I did find interesting is that the name my dad and grandad used must be an archaic term today.  And, I learned that I can buy them at  

 Another bit of arcane knowledge from PawPaw's House.


Jerry The Geek said...

thanks for the info. I've got a decent leather twin magazine carrier for single-stack mags which is now unusable because both of the screw heads have loosened and fallen out on the range. I was going to throw it away this week, but now I've ordered new screw sets from amazon. The mag carrier is only 20 years old, and probably as more life in it than I do ... but we both have a couple of loose screws to deal with.

anyway, didn't know what name to call it or where to order the screws, so consider this post your good deed for the day.

Jerry the Geek

BobF said...

I think you have to be in our generation to recognize them as Chicago Screws. I remember holding thick reports together with them after first punching holes in the paper 10 sheets at a time. Then the long plastic versions came out for those 6-inch-thick computer printouts with alternating green and while rows.

Geez, never thought a Chicago Screw would be an item of memorabilia!

Goatwhiskers said...

I do believe the Frugal Outdoorsman has them in stock. GW

David aka True Blue Sam said...

A related fastener, Cutler's Rivets, are handy for rejuvenating old spatulas, and paring knives, or for a new knife project. I bought an assortment from Dixie Gun Works forty years ago, and they still stock them.

Weetabix said...

When I saw the photo but before I got the description, I thought, "Chicago screw? That's a sex bolt."

I used to work with an architect who specified hardware for bathroom partitions.