If anyone else has bought some Macys Basics “Tool of the Trade” pots and pans and finds that they’re good, inexpensive pots and pans except for the fact that the goddam screws that attach the handles keep falling out, I now have the answer.
We’ve been tightening and re-tightening the screws pretty regularly for over a year, but recently we finally lost two of the screws altogether. So I wanted to go to the hardware store and buy replacements for them, but this turned out to involve quite a bit more careful measurement, trial and error, and self-education about international screw sizes than I had bargained for. Which I am posting about here in case there’s someone out there with the same problem.
So here’s what my investigation has uncovered. The handles are designed so that they can accommodate much longer screws, yet the frigging manufacturer is using the shortest possible screws that will barely hold the handle on at all. It looks to me that if the screws were even a millimeter shorter, the threads on the screw would not reach the threads in the pot or pan and the handles would just not be attached. The result is that the screws don’t have to get very loose before they suddenly fall out. I’m sure the manufacturer saves all of three cents per pan or pot through this incredibly stupid and irritating cost-cutting measure. (Other than this, as I said, they are good, inexpensive pots and pans. But dropping a screw here or there every few weeks is just ridiculous.)
As far as I can tell, the screws are metric, not U.S., which makes sense because the manufacturer is in Europe. At least, I couldn’t find a standard U.S. screw size that looked like it would work. The screws that come with the pots and pans are Phillips flat head machine screws, and the size appears to be M5 × 7 mm (sometimes given as “5 mm × 7 mm”). This is too damn short.
If you have this problem, too, what you need are Phillips flat head machine screws either in size M5 × 10 mm or in size M5 × 12 mm (sometimes given as 5 mm × 10 mm or 5 mm × 12 mm). The handles can accommodate a screw up to 12 mm in length, but a 10 mm screw is long enough to hold the handles on very securely. A decent hardware store should carry them.
(Just to complicate things further, you will also occasionally see these called M5-0.8 × 10 mm screws or 5 mm × 0.8 mm × 10 mm. The “0.8 mm” figure is the pitch, and it measures how close together the threads are on the screw. 0.8 mm is the standard pitch for a 5 mm diameter screw, so it is often omitted in the designation.)