My Fascination With Fasteners

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My love affair with fasteners – glue, tape, staples, you name it – goes back longer than I can remember.

Of my many obsessions, this is one of the few with obvious practical uses.

My Fascination With Fasteners

This fastener affinity probably isn’t specific enough to call a hobby. Not exactly. Hobbies are systematic. This is more a theme – a thread tying together a lot of my interests that might otherwise seem only distantly related.

Still, it has long amazed me that there are so many ways of joining things together. Some work better than others. And some things remain frustratingly resistant to being joined, despite there being so many ways.

You can tie things together with string. You can glue them. You can tape them. You can weld or solder them. Some metallic objects you can join using magnets.

I had this bug for years before I even noticed how it had bitten me. One day I just looked around and saw a wild, eclectic collection: Superglue (gel and regular). Epoxy (various kinds – clear, steel-reinforced, heat-resistant, waterproof, quick-set and full-strength). Velcro (sticky-back and sew-on). Cable ties (all lengths and colors).

The theme struck me one day, while I was gluing black Velcro strips to the cuffs of some black ski-pants, to keep them tight around my ankles. The glue I’d chosen was Liquid Nails Perfect Glue #1, a flexible, waterproof, fabric-appropriate type of glue also suitable for custom bookbinding.

Speaking of which, I also learned, years ago, to assemble “perfect-bound” paperback books by hand. You can find this information easily on the Internet. With practice you can do it rather easily and quickly.

I’d print inside pages on a laser printer and their cover on a pigment-based inkjet, bind the page edges using a heavy-duty stapler, then affix the cover with double-sided tape. Trim with a paper-cutter, and voilà! A book that would look fine beside any book in your library.

I also picked up a special stapler called a saddle stapler, and have used it for years to handcraft “saddle-stitched” books and booklets. You’ve seen these: They’re the ones that have no spine; they’re just folded and stapled.

It’s only recently, however, that I learned about staple guns. For that, I have to give Cheri the credit – she’s had one for years, and she taught me how to use it.

Now large sections of our house, plus most of our camper and our backyard fence, are held together by industrial-size staples fired from that gun.

That experience has awakened my interest in nail guns, which I’ve watched carpenters use. I haven’t yet gone there, though. Give it time!

There are all kinds of amazing and unexpected uses for safety pins, which I keep around in all sizes. Also for Scotch plastic tape, not to be confused with electrical tape or regular cellophane tape. It’s similar in some ways to electrical tape, but has different properties. Librarians, among others, love it.

One of the first things I do with just about any new laptop computer is affix its power supply to the outside lid. This way it doesn’t get underfoot, and I never misplace it. All I need then is a long extension cord. These I have all over the house and in my backpack.

Sometimes I attach an external high-capacity hard disk to the laptop cover as well. These mods get me strange looks when I unpack the machine at a library or restaurant. But I have the most efficient portable devices around.

Since laptop computers heat up, I’ve found that 3M Command Adhesive strips work better than Velcro for attaching such paraphernalia.

With this fastener fixation, you’d think I’d be into sewing. That’s something I haven’t conquered yet. Like I said with nail guns: Give it time!

Your turn! I’d like to hear from you: What are your favorite methods of sticking things together? And if fasteners aren’t your obsession – what is?


My Fascination With Fasteners — 5 Comments

    • Thanks, Linda! I’m inclined to take you up on that. How large is the compressor? I’m asking because I’ve recently toyed with the idea of buying one. What I’d like (if they exist) is one strong enough to drive some air-driven tools like nail guns and impact wrenches, yet light enough to move around easily.

    • Wyatt, two products I know are Shoe Goo and Save Your Sole. They seem pretty much the same to me. Also close to indistinguishable from a more generic product called Goop. They’re a flexible rubbery adhesive you can use to reattach things.

      You can also use these to patch small holes in a shoe sole, or build up spots that are wearing thin.

      For several years, I experimented with always coating the sole of every new shoe with Shoe Goo. This way, the sole itself would never wear off or grow uneven. If the coating itself wore down, I’d just reapply it. This extended the life of the sole — but not by much, because instead of wearing thin, it would just compress and lose its cushioning power. Also, the tops of the shoes would stretch and lose shape, or develop tears. So I lost interest in this effort to save a few pennies. Our feet are too important to trust to substandard shoes!

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