Is there a collective name for pieces of metal that hold wood together?

For example nails, screws, pins, clips ie the metal pieces that would hold together a wooden structure?

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    "Fasteners" would be understood in a hardware store context. But can you give an example to narrow this down? Because, if you were to say something like "ensure that no _____ is in the way when making a cut with your router" you could and probably would just say "metal".
    – Jason C
    Aug 9, 2016 at 14:23
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    "fixings" is a good general term. Aug 9, 2016 at 14:44
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    @MaxWilliams "fixings" in North American English more brings to mind the accompaniments of a turkey dinner. "Fasteners" is correct to my ear. There might also be things like brackets that are not fasteners but indirectly hold the wood together. Aug 9, 2016 at 16:17
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    @SpehroPefhany you're right - I think "fixings" is an Anglicism. (we call the roast dinner accompaniments "the trimmings".) Aug 9, 2016 at 16:18
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    Call them "metal fasteners" and be done with it.
    – einnocent
    Aug 9, 2016 at 19:31

4 Answers 4


In my local hardware store the aisle which displays these is labeled fasteners.

This term however does not distinguish fasteners for joining wood to wood from fasteners which join a wider range of materials.

  • This was my first instinct too, so +1. But from looking at dictionary.reference.com, and searching for "fasteners" at screwfix.com, it appears that fastener technically refers to clasps and hooks, not screws and nails.
    – AndyT
    Aug 9, 2016 at 10:49
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    @AndyT Well, I Google "fasteners" and find things like "Find fasteners at Lowes.com. Shop staples, nails, screws, nuts, bolts, rivets, washers, wall anchors, picture hangers and more online or in store." I imagine it's a matter of discourse context: if you ask for "fasteners" in a fabric store you'll be pointed to buttons, zippers and pins. Aug 9, 2016 at 10:51
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    Yep, fair enough. And Wikipedia agrees too, including nails and screws in its list of over 50 types of fastener.
    – AndyT
    Aug 9, 2016 at 10:57
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    Yep, "fasteners" is the term. Walk into a building supply place anywhere in the US and ask to see the fasteners. They will lead you to the aisle with nuts and bolts and nails. And you'd only need to specify, say, "metallic fasteners" if the context was not the construction or assembly of buildings or mechanical devices (which of course would not be the case in a building supply place).
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 9, 2016 at 12:22
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    When I was an apprentice many years ago, they had a notice on the wall of the training school with a picture of a nail, captioned as "Interfibre friction fastener". Underneath was the true message: use the correct terminology. Aug 10, 2016 at 16:33

In British English they are often referred to as fixings, but this is not restricted to their use with wood, it also applies to their use in masonry, metal work and so forth.

You can see the British hardware store B&Q's catalogue for fixings, here.

Here is the definition of fixing from the Oxford Dictionary Online:

fixing Pronunciation: /ˈfɪksɪŋ/


1.1 (fixings) British Screws, bolts, or other items used to fasten or assemble building material, furniture, or equipment:

'masonry fixings'

'bikes can be mounted on roof bars with special fixings'

More example sentences

'There are also front screw fixings for securing to a back panel.'

'All three 48 x 20 x 41 cm cases use thumb screws instead of conventional fixings.'

'The arrangement and integrity of the rafters, wattles, battens and fixings in most of the buildings with medieval thatch suggest that their base coats were applied when the buildings were first constructed.'


Joinery is a woodworking-specific term describing various techniques for joining wood pieces together. It does include techniques that use no fasteners, like dovetail joints. However if you're discussing hardware and refer to e.g. "a selection of joinery" it should be commonly understood to mean "a selection of fasteners used in (woodworking) joinery". In the right context it would even exclude glue and other non-metal adhesives, which can also be used to join wood.

  • I thought joinery typically did not use metal fasteners, opting instead for joints (thus the name) and occasionally using dowels.
    – Xalorous
    Aug 10, 2016 at 13:53
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodworking_joints, second sentence: "Some wood joints employ fasteners, bindings, or adhesives, while others use only wood elements."
    – talrnu
    Aug 10, 2016 at 14:44

I would use a term like "nails and screws". It's not all-encompassing, but it does convey the idea, and I think it's more intuitive than trying to use a term like "fasteners" which isn't a common idiom. That is, if you asked your neighbor if they had any wood fasteners they would probably give you a funny look, whereas if you asked if they had any screws or nails they would probably offer you that old can of random pieces everybody seems to have on their workbench.

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