Source for slot head screws without zinc plating


Active member
Has anybody ever found a source for slot head screws without the zinc plating.  This has been a problem for me for some time and I end up using the ones with zinc plating much to my dismay.  Even those are becoming hard to find and I have to order them from my local hardware store special order. 

If no source of non zinc plated can someone tell me a good way to remove the zinc plating. 

I refuse to put modern materials or phillips head screws on my period reproductions.  Just one of my own rules.
You can use toilet bowl cleaner(the regular blue stuff, not the thick stuff, although it might work as well.  I've just never used it.)_ to remove the plating.  Just put the screws upside down in a plastic cup, and put just enough of the cleaner in to cover the heads.  It will only take a few minutes to do the job.  If you want to darken the heads just dip them in gun blue.  They will be darkened in an instant.
I usually coat them with wax.  Without the plating they may rust.   
You can get straight slotted, flat and oval head steel screws here.

Tony Joyce
I buy my slotted screws from and Freeman Mfg. & Supply, both local for me.  I believe McMasters-Carr also sells them.

I place the screws in Muratic acid for about 15 seconds to remove the platting, then rust them to look old.  Warning: Muratic acid is very dangerous. Use to outside only and flush the screws and container with lots of water.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
Another (safer) way to remove the zinc plating - I just finished 3 eastern white pine tool boxes to hold molding planes.  I thought about going the high-quality hardware route, but decided it didn't make sense to spend $120 on each tool box for brass chest lifts and hinges, or $300 each blacksmith-made iron strap hinges and locks. 

So I nosed around my local Lowes, and found some elcheapo steel chest lifts, hinges, and hasps.  All were zinc plated, in in my view, are really ugly, so I stripped the zinc off of the hardware and fasterners with citric acid.  You can get citric in solid form from any home brewery supply store, and some old-school pharmacies.  It's safe to work with - even in concetrated form, the pKa of the acid is high enough that it will not burn your skin.

Add about 2 teaspoons to about a pint of warm tap water (it should all dissolve easily), dump the zinc-plated stuff in it, and leave it for about an hour.  You'll see a lot of gass bubbles coming off (that's hydrogen, by the way).  Then remove the hardware and rinse clean in tap water.  If not all of the zinc came off, you may need to use more citric in the mix or re-treat it.

This also works extremely well for removing rust on old tools - the citric acid will not damage japaning, nor will it attact iron, cast iron, or steel - just the rust.  In this case, the reaction is slower, so the tools should be left in the bath for 4-6 hours, or as long as 24.

By the way - Home Depot (at least in my area) still sells straight-slotted wood screws in small packages, though they are all zinc-plated.
Thanks for all the great advice and sources .  I didnt realize acid will remove the plating.  thats easy.  I use muriatic acid all the time and have it kicking around.  I like that method as it is quick and more likely to get it all in one shot due to the strength of the acid.  The other advice is great also although I probably wont use the one with the toilet bowl cleaner as I dont want to go fishing the screws out of the potty when they are done.  Also one of the kids might inadvertently flush down and then I would be screwed.  Thanks again.
I refuse to put modern materials or phillips head screws on my period reproductions.  Just one of my own rules.

Scott, My own view as well? if we stand together and tell these screw manufacturers about this compleat rubbish,  if we need cut nails we can get? don't need to flatten a round nail, screws are no different to any other product,its the manufacturer?or Business man.  how meany times have we found a screw with out a slot in a new box?this shows its added lastly? so its the program that needs altering ,not the machine.

In England steam trains, stopped being made in the 1970s, this did not stop anyone.

New Steam Train, The Tornado.

The train set off from Darlington at 0745 GMT and arrived at London King's Cross station shortly after 1400 GMT.
The £3m Peppercorn class A1 Pacific engine was built in Darlington over 18 years with donations from enthusiasts.
Hundreds watched Tornado arrive in London. Passenger John Warren described the journey as "absolutely phenomenal".
Tornado pulled 13 carriages, equating to about 500 tons, and ran at speeds of up to 75mph.
Additional passengers were picked up at York and the train passed through stations including Newark, Peterborough and Potters Bar before arriving in London.

Enthusiasts can achieve anything if they stand together.
Try as a start? your stockist? he will inform his supplyer, who will inform the business man behind this Crap he is stocking, and we will not having to alter.

                                                          Joseph Hemingway
Plain old vinegar will do it too. No need for special acids or chemicals. I use plain white vinegar (acetic acid) and just soak the screws in a plastic cup overnight. Zinc plating comes right off and leaves a nice dull grey screw. Any type of vinegar you have in your pantry should work and be safe enough that you don't have to worry about spills or contcat with skin or even accidental ingestion.

Stronger acids like muriatic require more care to use safely and can be very dangerous. I like to avoid these types of chemicals if at all possible, especially with dogs and kids running around. Vinegar is obviously safe enough to drink, though not very tasty in large amounts :).