When I published the piece “What’s the Deal with Flat Washers?” in the last newsletter, and included an image with a bunch of different washers, I knew I was in for some email. Several people, responding to the image not the article, ranted that lock washers don’t really work, one person pointed out that a water-proofing washer is better known as a gasket, and people sent messages about the many washers that weren’t in the picture. I knew I should’ve just used a picture of common flat washers!
Reader Reid Fisher wrote in to say:
“You might want to add that there are spring washers, which are intended to reduce wobble in a pivot. I realized this when taking apart a pair of hand garden pruning shears. The nut that adjusts the pivot has a spring washer, so the handles can still be moved, but without binding or wobble. They’re the ones that look like a regular thin washer, but are bent. A friend replaced a lost spring washer with a flat one and couldn’t get the handles to pivot right until we realized it needed a spring washer.”
On Cool Tools, KokoTheTalking Ape said (and others emailed with similar):
“Besides the ones listed, washers have another purpose, which is to protect materials from the twisting action of the fastener, which can cause one piece to twist and misalign, or perhaps distort or damage it (say when you’re screwing some canvas to a wood beam). Another purpose is to act as a standoff, to create space between the two pieces being joined.”
Steven Kelby Mclachlan:
“The only lock washers that actually work are made by Nordlock