Constant exposure to the elements must be a consideration when choosing fasteners for an outdoor woodworking project. Some metals will corrode, and create dark streaks and stains on the wood. If they corrode enough, the fasteners will eventually fail.
Steel Screw Characteristics
Steel screws are inexpensive and very strong. The ferrous metal is prone to rusting rapidly when exposed to moisture. For outdoor applications, steel screws are often coated with a protective covering, as seen in deck screws. A coated screw would be the strongest choice for a wood swing.
Stainless-Steel Screw Characteristics
Screws made from stainless steel, an alloy of chromium-steel, have good resistance to rusting. They are not as strong as coated steel screws but are stronger than brass. Stainless fasteners are an acceptable choice for a wood swing, but they will not provide the best appearance or the longest life.
Brass Screw Characteristics
Brass screws do not rust the way steel screws do, and they will not leave stains on the woodwork. Even after seasons of exposure, brass will continue to look good. Brass fasteners are much softer than steel, and are susceptible to breakage and stripping. Use brass screws to assemble the swing if the appearance of the fasteners in the finished product is the highest priority.
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