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  • Writer's pictureMatt Weber

Innovative Fasteners Get Better, Stronger

Total Tape

For tricky fastening jobs, try the versatility of Total Tape. It came in handy on a recent project when my wife wanted a “towel ladder” for one of the bathrooms. I whipped one up from some spare cedar because I liked the tone contrast of the available boards. I routed the rungs with a bullnose so they wouldn’t snag the towels, clear-coated everything, then fastened them between the rails with finish nails, brads, and Titebond wood glue. Simple. But how should I mount it to the wall? I wanted the ladder rack to remain flush and stationary, which ruled out picture hangers. I also wanted to avoid any visible fasteners or wood repairs.

My solution: Total Tape. This is a double-sided tape made by The Original Super Glue which provides a permanent bond once compressed to a surface. The tape was too wide for my rails, so I cut it lengthwise and applied several strips to the back of the ladder. It worked well, with a bond that is very stable and secure, and the ladder holds towels without budging. Be careful when placing your project, though, because once you press Total Tape in place, it’s going to stay there. Click learn to learn more. -- Weber

Sure-Drive Mantis Clips

When it comes to hidden fasteners in grooved deck boards, Sure-Drive USA offers one of the fastest and easiest solutions to install—the Mantis Clip. By using the Eliminator RCS pneumatic tool with its EZ-Slide attachment, you can install the Mantis Clips using Ballistic Nail Screws up to 75 percent faster than conventional methods. (Mantis fasteners

can also be installed using standard hand-drive screws.)

Made in the USA of high-tensile coated steel, the Mantis Clips come in a choice of four profiles, so you can choose the best fit for your deck board. And unlike other clips on the market, the Mantis is built with a base that promotes airflow to protect the deck structure. Sure Dive USA is so confident the Mantis Clips prevent lateral movement and uplift that the company backs the installation with a 30-year warranty against loose deck boards. Learn more at

The U2 Construction Screw

The Construction Screw from U2 Fasteners is a heavy-duty structural fastener packed with standout features. Its design has the finished appearance of a conventional round head and provides an extra-large bearing surface under the head. The Talon Grip nibs beneath the head give it extra holding power. And unlike lag screws that require pilot holes, the U2 Construction Screws have a Tapper Point that consists of the Cork Screw Start and a Blade Cutting Thread for easy piercing and alleviating strain on the material. Made of case-hardened carbon steel, the screws’ hexavalent chromium-free (CR6+) coating complies with the strictest standards governing chemical substances.

Also available are 316 stainless steel versions. Construction Screws are ideal for timber construction, staircases, deck frames. rafter, trellis framing, ledger boards, joists, planter boxes, post supports, play-set structures, retaining walls and more. For your biggest projects, U2 fasteners offers Construction Screws up to 20 inches long. Learn more at

Maze Nails Painted Nail Colors

Maze Nails pre-finished nails can add character and appeal to your building projects. Plus, you’ll save time by eliminating the labor-intensive job of touching up nail heads. Using patented technology, the checkered nail heads and oven-curing enhance the paint adhesion and keep colors consistent.

Maze Nails has the capability to match all paint manufacturers’ colors (see for the top 100 colors). The company also offers hammer caps to help reduce damage to paint on hand-driven colored nails during application. Learn more at


The SnapToggle is among the strongest toggle bolts you’ll find and it’s widely available at hardware stores. The anchor is easy to use and rated to hold up to 265 lbs. in 1/2-in. drywall.

To install a SnapToggle, first drill a 1/2-in. pilot hole in the drywall. Hold the metal channel flat alongside the plastic straps and slide the channel through the hole. Once inserted, hold the ends of the straps together between your thumb and forefinger and pull toward you until the channel rests behind wall. Ratchet the cap along the straps with your other hand until the flange of the cap is flush with wall. Then, snap off the straps flush with the flange. Use the SnapToggle’s bolt (which makes a metal-to-metal connection with the hidden channel) to hang the item of your choice and tighten the bolt as necessary. Learn more at

Deck2Wall Spacers

The deck-ledger connection is notoriously susceptible to rot, which can dangerously affect the stability and support of the deck. Deck2wall Spacers help prevent rot from occurring by separating the ledger from the house structure, providing a path for water and debris to flow harmlessly through the assembly, while promoting circulation and drying. Stronger and more durable than stacked washers, the Deck2Wall Spacers also work as a long-lasting solution for attaching shade structures, posts, stair stringers, landings, built-up beams or mechanical equipment. Made in the USA and available in two sizes, the spacers are injection-molded, fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene.

The smaller version, Deck2wall Spacer model SWS, is now approved for installation with SPAX PowerLags for quick and easy installation. Based on testing conducted by SPAX, the 1/2-in. thick x 2-in. diameter SWS spacer is now included in the updated PowerLags deck-ledger fastening table. The approved screws are available in 5/16- and 3/8-in. diameter, and have two different head types to choose from, T-STAR and HEX drive. As structural wood screws become more popular each year for deck ledger installations, so have the SWS spacers. Learn more at

CAMO Stainless and Marine-grade Fasteners

Known for its popular line of hidden fasteners, CAMO introduces new 305 Stainless Steel and 316 Stainless Steel Marine Grade fasteners for fastening deck boards, trim and more. Designed to protect connections against the elements in any environment, CAMO's 316 Marine Grade Stainless Steel fasteners are ideal for use in highly corrosive coastal and agricultural environments. CAMO 305 Stainless Steel fasteners provide excellent corrosion resistance and long-lasting aesthetics for inland exterior projects.

Perfect for building wood or composite decks, CAMO's new line of Stainless Steel fasteners includes hand-drive deck, composite, and trim screws. The company also offers 316 Stainless Steel Marine Grade Edge Screws for use with CAMO Marksman Pro tools and collated screws for use with the CAMO Drive stand-up tool.

Also new to the CAMO brand are ring-shank deck nails and joist-hanger nails as well as collated ring-shank framing nails and collated metal hanger nails, all of which are compatible with a wide array of pneumatic nailers. CAMO backs up their line of Stainless Steel fasteners with a warranty to resist rust and corrosion. Look for the new shiny silver pails that identify CAMO's new Stainless Steel line. Learn more at

FastenMaster Collated Cortex for Synthetic Decking

FastenMaster’s approach to concealed deck fasteners is the Cortex Hidden Fastening System for use with AZEK and Trex brand composite, capstock and PVC deck boards.

This system uses plugs to conceal the screw heads. The plugs come on collated strips to eliminate the need to fumble with buckets of loose plugs. Cortex plugs are made from the same material as the deck boards, creating a 100-percent perfect match and clean finish every time. Learn more at

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