There are numerous approaches to fastening wood together, and part of what distinguishes the talented craftsman is his or her ability to use the right option in any given situation. One tried and true joinery workhorse that should be in the arsenal of any woodworker is wood screws. This humble fastener boasts some impressive characteristics, such as its low cost, ease of use, durability, ubiquitous availability, and impressive holding power. It’s important to understand how to use wood screws properly, and at the same time, it’s helpful to know how to fix screw holes in wood in the unfortunate situation where something goes wrong.
When choosing wood screws to use in your shop, there are some important considerations to take in mind:
Drywall screw vs. wood screws
Drywall screws are great for hanging drywall, but they lack many important characteristics for fastening wood, so please “just say no” to using drywall screws in your shop.
When fastening wood pieces together, it is important that the screw not bind in the piece that it is passing through as it pulls the wood together, because if it binds it will hold the pieces apart rather than joining them. To prevent binding, the shank of the wood screw should not be threaded, ideally for the entire thickness of the wood that it is passing through.
Proper wood screws have ridges in the bugle shank that help to lock the screw into position and minimize the potential for the screw to back out.
Thread cutting tip
While it is important to pre-drill with most hardwood species, the screw’s tip should still have the ability to cut threads as it taps into the mating board.
By choosing the right wood screws, you’ll have greater confidence and ultimately build a more solid project.