...This book is indispensible. It's written for the race car driver who does at least a little bit of their own fabrication. And that's almost any club driver, and many entry-level pro drivers. Making sure additions to the car stay put, supsension bits adequately bear their loads and stresses, and repairing these things in a pinch, is no small part of winning races.
This book doesn't explain everything ther is to know about fasteners. And it isn't dripping with technical detail; ...
But this book does provide something more valuable: explanations. It looks at a couple dozen of the most popular fasteners in each category and explains why a fabricator or mechanic would or would not want to use them. Carroll uses his incredible experience and approachable, conversational writing type to discusses their strengths and weaknesses, applications, and design.
I think the book isn't limited to racing applications; it's useful for anyone who works metal, and will offer something of value to anyone who's ever tried to replace a fastener in an emergency. Were you overwhelmed when you went through the fastener aisles in your local hardware store or home supply center? This book can help.
The book is a little weak in two areas. First, there's few pages devoted to plumbing. Of course, this is about real plumbing: laying lines and connecting them with pressure-tight fasteners. It explains Army-Navy fasteners and their applications, and discusses all the subtleties of pipe flange fitting. The book isn't about stopping a leak behind your toilet.
Next, the book is showinng its age. It doesn't treat some of the materials that were not exactly commonplace ten or more years ago, but are quite common now. For instance, I can buy titanium lug bolts for my car. (Well, I could, if I had a spare $500 lying around.) Carroll doesn't make much mention of the more interesting alloys being used more commonly in fasteners these days. He also doesn't spend much time discussing the material to be fastened: holding down a carbon fiber body panel is different than getting the same bit fabricated from fiberglass to hold. Some of the illustrations look like they were drawn by a plotter 20 years ago: terrible resolution, confusing lines, poor perspective. Freshening some of the illustrations would be a real shot in the arm for the book.
Those shortcomings withstanding, I can't give this book less than five stars. Mr. Smith's incredible reputation and outstanding experience hold up a dry subject, and give the reader more background than a broader (or deeper) technical reference ever could.