Wax Coating Screws to Prevent Wood Splitting

Wax Coating Screws To Prevent Wood Splitting

When driving a wood screw into wood without a pilot hole, I like to wax my screws to help prevent splitting. I found it time consuming to sit and rub bee’s wax or candle wax on each screw, so I came up with this idea.

Wax Coating Screws To Prevent Wood SplittingTake a toilet seal wax ring (around $2.00 at any hardware store) and melt it into an empty small dog/cat food can. This way, all you have to do is dip the screw into the wax and pull it out. The threads hold on to the soft wax for a perfect coating.

Wax Coating Screws To Prevent Wood SplittingWhen the wax gets full of holes, I just set the can in my coffee cup warmer for a while and the wax melts down to a nice and flat surface for the next use. You can purchase cup warmers or candle warmers at just about any craft store.I use a plastic can lid to keep the wax from getting on anything else when I need to carry it in my toolbox.

Tip and Photos By Dan Reczek, a registered member of the WWGOA.

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23 Responses to “Wax Coating Screws to Prevent Wood Splitting”

  1. GREG

    WOW Great Tip!

  2. Steve

    Will coating wood screws in this fashion to ease installation reduce the long term holding strength of the screw?

  3. Tom Overeem

    Wax and soap works, but you can also buy coated screws, I know McFeeleys has them, Rockler might also. Avoid big box stores hardware if you are using hardwoods.

  4. Joe

    I use Vaseline petroleum jelly (to coat the screw threads that is)

  5. Thomas Mitchell

    I use the wax rings too but I add some paraffin so it isn't sticky. I think it was about 50%. A full wax ring will go a long way. I melt 1/2 a ring and keep adding paraffin and trying it. If it gets too hard add a little more wax ring. Then I pore it into old Rx pill bottles. I never used soap but like Howard I have been told it will cause rust and interfere with some finishes.

  6. Jed

    I use a 1” dia. glue stick from the office store.

  7. wmirion

    I always have a stick of Chap Stick in my tool apron or tool belt. Works great for coating screws, is easy, always convenient. Also works for your dry lips on a hot day ! Matt

  8. Rich Pauli

    I wish I would have done this for some Ipe flower boxes I made. Even though I predrilled pilot holes and used self taping screws, the wood still split after a month or so. Maybe, this trick would have helped. I will try this next time and when I repair the current flower boxes. Thanks for the tip

  9. Anthony Byrde

    I use a small drop of light machine oil ('Three-in-One' brand in the UK), or axle grease if leaching into the wood doesn't matter too much. It also helps preserve the screw and allows it to be withdrawn years later without breaking.


    I use old candles and melt them then dip the screws in the melted wax.