Screw me
April 13, 2010 3:44 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago I bought a set of chrome/glass shelves from Paperchase, which screwed together with screws and an Allen key. Now I can't find the screws. Is it possible for me to find Allen key screws? (I'm in London.)

NB Paperchase do not sell replacement screws. I can't measure for sure as the set is at home, but the screws were taped to the frame and have since gone missing. At an estimate, the tops of the screws were about 7mm in diameter, and screwed into a hole in the chrome frame (there was no thread in there, they tightened like a bolt). I haven't seen screws for Allen keys for sale which makes me wonder whether they'd be possible to replace -and I can't find them anywhere! I'd like to take the shelves with me when I move so it would be excellent if they can be screwed back together somehow.
posted by mippy to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why do you need to use allen screws again? Can't you just get any screw which is the correct size, and screw it together with a screwdriver?
posted by theyexpectresults at 3:52 AM on April 13, 2010

Response by poster: There's no thread so I'm not sure anything but a socket cap screw would work.
posted by mippy at 3:54 AM on April 13, 2010

The original screws had threads on them, though, right?
If that's the case, Screwfix is your friend. You probably want some socket screws. You might have to do a bit of trial and error to get the size right, but a couple £5 packs of screws is cheaper than new shelves.
posted by Kreiger at 3:59 AM on April 13, 2010

Like these, which you can usually buy in B&Q or wherever.

If you really want the same thing, they are called socket cap screws with a flat head. I am guessing they are "flat head" since your shelves probably have countersunk holes. You can see from the picture. These things might be harder to buy if you just walk into a random hardware shop, but you can order them if you really want.
posted by theyexpectresults at 4:00 AM on April 13, 2010

Ok, like Kreiger I don't understand what you mean about the thread. Is there a nut? There has to be a female thread somewhere, whether it is on the nut or the chrome frame.

Do you mean that the screws only have a thread on the end of them, and have a smooth section closer to the head?
posted by theyexpectresults at 4:07 AM on April 13, 2010

Response by poster: OK, I'll try and explain best I can. The screws are used to connect the main frame of the shelves (at the sides) to the bars that support the shelf panels (underneath). Without having one of the old screws to look at I can't be sure on there being a thread at the end, but the screws go into the holes (the shelf frame is hollow so I don't think a thread would go in there) and tighten up with an Allen key to hold it all together. From memory the thread is all the way down. I could screw them in part way by hand but needed the Allen key to tighten them up enough to hold.
posted by mippy at 4:23 AM on April 13, 2010

So the issue is that you think you might not be able to tighten regular screws enough, whereas with socket cap screws you would have extra leverage to tighten them?

Or do you mean that the screw heads are inside some kind of hole where you would not be able to access the screw head with a screwdriver, while a narrower allen key would be able to fit?

Aside from this, are the cap screws that we linked to above not what you are looking for? You can order them from tonnes of online places, and can probably buy them in a decent sized shop too if you call in advance to check if they have them.
posted by theyexpectresults at 4:32 AM on April 13, 2010

The female thread that theyexpectresults is talking about is probably built into the bars.
If there's a B&Q or a small hardware shop near you, have a look at what they've got. Don't be afraid to bring one of the bars with you, if they're small enough to carry around. It's always easier to show the floor staff what you're working with than to explain it if you're not used to the terminology, etc. If there's anything there that looks like the old screws, buy a pack and see if they'll work. If that's not an option, Screwfix definitely has what you need.
posted by Kreiger at 4:32 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Robot Dyas are all over London and have cheap sets of Allen keys.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 7:46 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

And that's the best typo I've ever made.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 7:48 PM on April 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks Quantum, but it's not the Allen keys I need!
posted by mippy at 1:46 AM on April 14, 2010

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