Custom Screw Eyes





Introduction: Custom Screw Eyes

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

My wife is making a banner for a women's convention. The regulations stipulate a screw eye is to be used on each end of a large dowel crossbar. Screw eyes with a small diameter to fit the cord for hanging are light duty and the screw section is too short to be reliable. She asked if I could make two screw eyes for her. 

Step 1: Tools and Materials

The photo shows a woodscrew, finish nail and nearly completed screw eye. The screw eye in the photo needs a little grinding to smooth it, yet, and it needs to be painted.

  • #8 woodscrew 1 inch in length
  • 2 inch finish nail
  • Aerosol paint
  • Vise
  • Slip-joint plier
  • Steel rod equal in diameter to the eye opening
  • Dremel tool with cut off wheel and grinder stone
  • Hammer
  • Wire feed welder
  • Spring clamps
  • Sheet metal for a shim

Step 2: Bend the Finish Nail

I used a screw hook 1/4 inch in diameter as a form around which to bend the finish nail. The cord for my wife's banner is 1/4 inch in diameter. A larger round form could be used to fit your needs. Rod heavier than a finish nail could also be used, if your requirements necessitated it. 

The finish nail is strong enough to do the task needed, but thin enough that I could bend it by hand if I held its end with the pliers. Bend a little more than a full circle.

Step 3: Cut the Finish Nail

See the first photo. Cut the nail as shown by the white and yellow lines. You want the ends of the nail to meet so they form a circle without a gap and without overlapping. Pound or bend the circle so it lays flat. See the second photo.

Step 4: Cut the Screw

Use a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel to remove the head from the woodscrew.

Step 5: Weld the Eye to the Screw

I used a spring clamp to hold the screw to a piece of flat aluminum. The eye is thinner than the screw, so I raised the eye a little with a piece of sheet metal and held it in place next to the screw with another spring clamp. The opening in the eye will be welded closed at the same time the eye is welded to the end of the screw. It is not easy to see with the clamps in place, but do your best to center the eye on the end of the screw before welding. 

By experience I found welding from above the joint as shown in the photo is sufficient and makes a nice clean looking joint. On my first attempt I welded from above and from each side. Not only was that not necessary, but it also left more clumpy material to be ground away so the end product would be better looking. For an example, go back to the photo in the Introduction. The screw eye on the left was welded with a single weld made from above both front and back. The screw eye on the right is my first attempt and was welded from each side as well as from above. Notice the screw eye on the left has a smoother appearance, even after grinding.

For those without access to a welder, it would be possible to braze the pieces rather than weld them. For many years I did not have a welder and found I could join small parts like these with a MAPP gas torch for a home workshop. But, it becomes important to make the most of the torch's capabilities. I would rest the parts on a brick. After it heats up, the brick helps direct the heat from the torch to the parts you are brazing. It does not duct away heat like the aluminum does.

Step 6: Straighten

The screw and the eye may not appear straight. Both are hot after welding. Use a pair of pliers to handle the screw eye and to place the eye in a vise. Tap with a hammer to straighten the screw with the eye. 

Step 7: Finished

The photo shows one of my screw eyes with rough spots ground away and painted. It fits the cord my wife will use on her banner and does not allow a knot to pass through the screw eye.

Anytime you need a screw eye a little different from what you find available in your hardware store, consider making your own.



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    14 Discussions

    Nice work Phil. I too have, on MANY occasions gone to the hardware store only to find something close to what I need, but not exactly. Either that or they have run out of the item I need and I've had to make something with the available alternatives, or some junk I've had on hand. Your screw eyes also look quite rustic. Nice.

    1 reply

    This is a great idea. How many times have I gone to the store just for for the screw eye when I was sitting on top of the welder DAaaaa I have made many T handles with bolt. Great job

    3 replies

    Thank you. Worse yet is going to the hardware store and finding things which almost do what is needed, but not really. As I mentioned, I went for most of my life without a welder. During those years I sometimes managed to braze things like this with a MAPP gas torch. But, if you have access to a welder, getting what you need from what you have becomes easy. Thank you for looking.

    Good idea, phil! I'm welder challenged however. I just go to my can in the shop that is labeled "for your eyes, only!"

    Clever. Have you ever looked into a MAPP gas torch? They are more expensive than a similar common propane torch, but allow you to join small metal parts with braze. Thanks for looking.

    It looks great Phil. A lo of work but that is the job you signed up for...pleasing your wife.

    1 reply

    You are a man in whom wisdom resides. The work required went pretty quickly, especially on the second one after the tutelage gained from the first one. If "10" were a huge amount of work and "1" were no work at all, I would give this about a "4" or a "5."

    Nice job.
    I have made different versions of this from time to time but i tend to deem it finished soon as it is usable
    Unlike yours where it is ground down and painted.

    1 reply

    Thank you. I figured I would not be the only one to have thought of this. I am like you. A rough finish is usually good enough, if it does the job well enough. But, my wife has different standards from my own.

    Thank you. Maybe someone else will need to do this sometime.