Building a few desks to serve me in my home, study, and the office was a very tough process. I needed a lot of materials to achieve this and even a lot more to put in more custom features. One of such materials is washers, but are washers always required when you are building a desk?
Washers are required when building your desks as they help in soft materials like wood. It is advisable to use the right type of washer that will suit the type of desk you plan on building. From absorbing vibrations to serving as spacers, the functions of the washer in your building cannot be overemphasized.
As you read further, I’ll discuss what washers are, and their usefulness for dak making. You also want to read all the way as I’ve shared more useful washer-use tips.
What Are Washers?
A washer is a thin, flat plate that usually takes the shape of a disk although it is sometimes square. The washer has a hole usually found in the middle. Through this hole, it distributes the load of a bolt, nut, or any other threaded fastener.
Uses of Washers
People will wonder why anyone would need a washer when it doesn’t even drive into the object. Washers carry out several tasks in carpentry, plumbing, and many other fields. Some of the uses of a washer include:
Spacing and Padding
Washers serve as spacers. You may ask why anyone would even need a spacer when driving a threaded fastener into an object.
Sometimes, the threaded fastener may be longer than the depth of the object. In this situation, you won’t be able to drive it into the object. You may do so anyway, except that you will have the end of the fastener sticking out the back of the object.
A simple mathematical illustration can demonstrate this. When you want to drive a 3-inch screw into an object that is 2 inches deep, there’ll be an extra 1 inch. This 1 inch of the screw will end up sticking on the other end.
Placing washers before putting in the fastener will correct the extra inch. This will create some padding so that the fastener doesn’t go too deep.
Distribution of Load
This is one of the most primary functions of a washer. They distribute the load of the fastener they work with
Over time, a threaded fastener can stress the material by cracking the surface. A washer helps to reduce the risk of this happening. It does this by evenly distributing the load across the surface of the material.
Absorption of Vibration
There are some types of washers manufacturers design to absorb vibrations. They are known as vibration-isolating washers. Most times, they are not made of metal but of softer materials like plastic or rubber.
These softer materials are more effective at absorbing vibrations than harder ones. If two objects are connected and one of them vibrates aggressively, this washer is the best. Using damping washers can protect the non-vibrating object from damages.
Protection from Liquids
You use these washers in water pipes and other plumbing connections when creating a waterproof seal. These washers prevent the entrance of water and liquids. They are also made of soft materials like vibration-damping washers.
You can also use washers as springs like Belleville washers and wave washers. You can use them as wear pads, locking devices, and indicating devices.
They also prevent galvanic corrosion in metals. They do this by insulating steel screws from the aluminum surfaces.
Do Washers Increase Stiffness?
A washer increases the stiffness of the clamped materials. When used in joining, the washer will have an increased diameter which tightens around the members joined. As it clamps a greater volume of material, the stiffness goes up.
It also increases the strength of the surfaces joined together. It achieves this when it distributes the load from the bolts and nuts. Some more special washers like spring washers and lock washers help keep the nut or bolt from coming loose.
Are Washers Required When Building a Desk?
Now, several types of desks can be classified based on the materials with which they are built. Where some are made out of wood, others are metal.
For a wooden table, it is compulsory that you use a washer when building. Wood has a softer texture than metal and fixing in your nuts and bolts may crack the surface. Washers intervene in this process and protect the surface from damage.
Aside from this, there are many other functions of a washer when building with wood. All these functions are mentioned earlier. This makes washers a necessity when building a desk with wood.
On the other hand, when using metal, a washer may not be necessary. A metallic surface is not scratched or dented by nuts and screws. Even when they are, they do not reveal such dents.
However, have in mind that a metallic desk is prone to emitting more vibrations. This could destroy the metal over time in ways you cannot imagine. To prevent this, use a washer when building a metallic desk as well.
When Should a Washer Be Used?
A washer should be used when joining two objects together. This will serve many purposes as mentioned earlier. When figuring out the right time to use a washer, consider the job for which it is to be used. There are many types of washers and they individually serve different purposes.
Some of these washers include:
Flat Washers: These are generally used in the maintenance, repair, and manufacture of materials. They are also known as plain washers. They serve in tightening and are used as spacers.
Lock Washers: These washers are generally used in automobiles, aerospace, and domestic appliances. They are the most demanded in transportation for holding fast.
Spring Washers: These are popular with aerospace and automotive as well as they limit movement during vibration. They are perfect for flexible applications.
Tab Washers: These are applied in medical divisions and aerospace. It is also ideal for extreme heat conditions or aggressive moves. Shoulder Washers: Share very good for electronics as they are insulative. They are not advisable for humid environments.