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View trainwreck's profile

Keep stripping out screws. What can I do?

by trainwreck
posted 1269 days ago


1 2 next »
73 replies

73 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7464 posts in 2285 days


#1 posted 1269 days ago

You have to really put your shoulder and weight behind the
drill when driving long screws. I’ve shown this to enough people
who’d never thought about it to conclude it isn’t common
knowledge. In high-resistance screwdriving situations I
get the butt of the drill right up on my chest next to my armpit
or right behind my shoulder.

Square drive screws are another alternative. They are a little
hard to find but they will pretty much end your problem.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1487 days


#2 posted 1269 days ago

When you say “2 1/2” wood screws” do you mean drywall type screws or zinc plated screws with the hefty shank?

If you are stripping out the slot because of increased friction on the shank of the screw, there would be three solutions:

1. Smaller shank

2. Predrill with a tapered bit

3. Lubricate the screw

If I have one degree of uncertainty about a screw installation, I wax the screw. I use toilet bowl ring wax, but Grizzly and others sell stuff in a large caliber Chap Stick container (I have actually used Chap Stick on an install where I had forgotten my Ikempucky—another brand name of wax for screws).

Oh, and a fourth: Your bit may be worn out. As it wears, it gets sloppy and angled, and wants to ride out of the slot. Even if good quality bits cost twice what a drug store brand costs, you’re what, out a coupla bucks?

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View trainwreck's profile

trainwreck

43 posts in 1328 days


#3 posted 1269 days ago

I have been putting my weight behind the drill and making sure it’s straight and inline with the screw. Looks like a trip to the hardware store for me for some square drive screws and a driver bit, huh?

View jeepturner's profile

jeepturner

920 posts in 1429 days


#4 posted 1269 days ago

I would question the type of tip you are using first. Is it the best match for the screw? I modify my bits by grinding off the very tip of a Phillips bit. My theory being that the very tip provides no traction to the application of torque. The wings of the bit must be fully engaged.

Hope this helps.

-- Mel,

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1811 days


#5 posted 1269 days ago

BIG fan of Lee Barker’s #3.

I bought a toilet wax ring, and stuffed it into a plastic “can.”

Before driving long screws, I shove the screw into the can, coating the threads with the wax.

DRAMATIC reduction in torque required to drive the screws > longer battery life, on cordless drivers > never strip them out, any more :-)

-- -- Neil

View trainwreck's profile

trainwreck

43 posts in 1328 days


#6 posted 1269 days ago

My bit fits perfectly into the screw, and it is a new bit, but it’s cheap, I think—it was a gift from my father. The screws are 8×2 1/2 and coarsely threaded. They says they’re steel, but I’m pretty sure they’re plated with something. Actually, as I look at them more closely, it looks like I can use a No. 2 square bit with them, so maybe I’ll just try that and report back!

View patron's profile

patron

13021 posts in 1978 days


#7 posted 1269 days ago

maybe you need those ‘deck screws’
the ones that come in brown or green
they are hardened
much better than standard screws
in the isle with the rest of the screws
and a box has the right drive bit for them

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View trainwreck's profile

trainwreck

43 posts in 1328 days


#8 posted 1269 days ago

OMG! I had a 2 square bit. That thing is my new best friend! These babies go through like butter! Thanks guys!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3426 posts in 2597 days


#9 posted 1269 days ago

I have a small fridge in the shop, so I keep the bowl ring in the fridge when not in use. They can get kinda messy during Mississippi summers if not kept cool. Bowl ring seal=cheapest screw lube goin’.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Stormin's profile

Stormin

192 posts in 1426 days


#10 posted 1269 days ago

I was down in the states a while ago and see they have a screw that is a cross between a Phillips and a Robertson should be a real dandy.

-- I started off with nothing I have most of it left

View trainwreck's profile

trainwreck

43 posts in 1328 days


#11 posted 1269 days ago

So I’m making 4 lawn chairs which means 40 slats for the seat/backs. Drilling pilot holes in an assembly line fashion….no problem except I melted my bit because I was going so fast. LOL

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1487 days


#12 posted 1269 days ago

Stormin, there’s a general rule I find that applies impressively often in my world: If it’s made to do two or more things, it probably won’t do any of them real well.

I find that true of the combination head screws. Allowing the space in the center for a Robertson bit subtracts surface for the Phillips head and vice versa. I have a large box of these, 1 1/2” long, silver zinc, and they’re yours, just come pick them up!

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5564 posts in 2065 days


#13 posted 1269 days ago

Re: the toilet ring
Mine is in a “borrowed” Tupperware container. (she’s got so many, she’ll never know).
When doing a job with screws, I just stick a bunch in the ring. Keeps them handy, off the bench and lubricated.

David’s suggestion for screws is right on! If the chairs are for outdoor use especially.

Another good screw is ””Timber Locks””:http://www.castlewholesalers.com/TIMBERLOCK-6-Screws-Box-of-50.html But, I think 6” is the shortest. I’ve used them up to 10”. They have heads that require a socket type driver, like metal roofing screws. Threads up about 1/3 and then, a smooth shank. Great for timbers.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View TheOldTimer's profile

TheOldTimer

222 posts in 1723 days


#14 posted 1269 days ago

I agree with Lee, when you go to Home improvement store, buy a toilet wax seal and lubricate the screws, a good cheap solution.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View Les Casteel's profile

Les Casteel

155 posts in 1696 days


#15 posted 1269 days ago

Go buy some SPAX screws at the big box store. Drill the pilot into the 1×4 if you wish with a nice countersink. Then drive them in. SPAX do not need to be pre-drilled. You can drive a SPAX into end grain Maple without drilling a hole first. You can choose one with square, phillips or SPAX heads.

-- Les, Arkansas, www.woodthatrocks.com

View Stormin's profile

Stormin

192 posts in 1426 days


#16 posted 1269 days ago

Good call Lee and The Old Timer you are probably right I seen them I never bought any. I’m spoiled I was raised using Robertson Screws. And Lee if ever I get that far south I will stop in and pick the screws up and have a visit.

-- I started off with nothing I have most of it left

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

455 posts in 1691 days


#17 posted 1269 days ago

One of the best ways to drive a long screw is by using an impact driver.

After switching from a drill to an impact driver, I strip, maybe, 1 out of every 50 philips screws. Much less if they are square bit and even less if they are torx bit.

Also, using a pilot bit designed for a #8 screw works best.

-- http://www.ahomespecialist.net, Making design and application one. †

View JasonWagner's profile

JasonWagner

523 posts in 1817 days


#18 posted 1269 days ago

I know the problem is solved but I second the impact driver and the square drive screws. Pre drilling helps but I use it more to keep the wood from splitting. An impact driver will drive a screw into and through the wood if you so choose!

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View woodrookieII's profile

woodrookieII

211 posts in 1300 days


#19 posted 1269 days ago

When screwing into the hard woods with brass screws I always scrape the screws with beeswax. Haven’t broke a brass screw in quite a while now.

....rookieII

View Don's profile

Don

506 posts in 1710 days


#20 posted 1269 days ago

Just my 2 cents but if you have to put your weight behind the drill as Loren describes then you didn’t pre-drill it properly. Use a tapered bit of the correct width set to the correct depth with a little wax and the screws will go into even the hardest wood with little effort and will hold very strong.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7689 posts in 2689 days


#21 posted 1268 days ago

I agree with using the Spax, self drilling, screws… they are really nice to use!

I also find that the Pocket Screws, panhead type, drill them selves too and work really good!
The upper part of the screw is smooth, leaving it to just HOLDING the 1x stock TO the 2×4 stock; works GREAT!

I get all of them from McFeeleys… (when they have $1 shipping on any order) the Spax are combo heads working on Phillips AS WELL AS the Square bits… Square bits is the ONLY WAY to screw!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14727 posts in 2313 days


#22 posted 1268 days ago

Those heads that look like a combo square drive and phillips never work very well with phillips!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View brunob's profile

brunob

2275 posts in 2806 days


#23 posted 1268 days ago

McFeeley has a good supply of square drive screws but for outside stuff I use stainless.

-- Bruce from Central New York...now, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View trainwreck's profile

trainwreck

43 posts in 1328 days


#24 posted 1268 days ago

Yeah…Don, I don’t think I should have to put my weight behind it either. Make sure I’m drilling straight? Definitely, but I think the tools should have to do the work. Otherwise, what’s the point?

I also agree about the stainless for an outside project. As far as the pilot hole, at first, I wasn’t using the correct width, so it did help to correct that. Also talked to my dad. Turns out he used a bar of soap to lube up the screws. I don’t remember that part when he was teaching me how to use power tools. I guess I was too excited dad was letting me use the saw!

You guys are sure a wealth of information, though! I’m definitely using the toilet wax ring trick—a container of that is going in my tool tote for sure.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1811 days


#25 posted 1268 days ago

Haven’t cracked open my first “assortment” pack of Spax screws, yet. Good to know they have a fan base.

Yeah. ABSOLUTELY the impact driver, too. My little Ryobi is worth its weight in (what ? Light, sweet crude ?).

And … I’ve got beeswax (and bar soap) ... and there’s Ackempucky, too, but … pound for pound, and $ for $, I’ve always come back to that silly wax ring.

Call me sentimenal ….

-- -- Neil

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2071 days


#26 posted 1268 days ago

An impact driver is a necessity tool, I use an M18 Milwaukee and it makes short work of any screws including large lag bolts.
Screw driving bits are not all the same quality and if i were you I would invest in several “Wera” brand driver bits. They are the best bits I ever had, they are hardened, don’t wear out and can handle all the torque you can through at them and have a lifetime warranty. Needless to say they are made in Germany but available in the US, mine came from Amazon. Treat yourself.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View trainwreck's profile

trainwreck

43 posts in 1328 days


#27 posted 1268 days ago

I bought the nicest drill bit I could find to replace the one I melted, and I will slowly be upgrading my other bits as they wear out (which means since they’re cheapies, after one project or less LOL). I will also be adding impact driver to my list of tools to buy next, and it will likely go to the top of the list.

View allmyfingers's profile

allmyfingers

40 posts in 1283 days


#28 posted 1268 days ago

mcfeely for spax screws… we use them exclusively in our business. nothing more to be said

-- I cut it 3 times and it was still too short?!?

View Kennyg's profile

Kennyg

17 posts in 1325 days


#29 posted 1268 days ago

There are 2 solutions I have found to work for me. In the 1X pre drill the pilot hole the next size larger. It allows the the board to suck up tight. I have also the advantage of using an impact drill. I quit stripping screws!

View NMguy's profile

NMguy

4 posts in 1268 days


#30 posted 1268 days ago

i love combo square Phillips bits and i don’t know why all you guys are hating on them.

-- duck tape, it's like the force. it has a dark side and a light side and it holds the world together

View transam's profile

transam

14 posts in 1437 days


#31 posted 1268 days ago

The silver “wood screws” are soft and strip out very easy. If you want the least expensive way to do what you are doing but screws that hold good here’s what I do:
Coarse thread drywall screws-They are case hardened so they won’t strip out easily
DeWalt screw tips-the silver bits, not the black impact driver bits. Impact sockets and bits are softer to absorb the impacting.
Like others said, push reasonably hard and keep going until it’s as deep as you need it.
I use the same wood glue (Titebond) I’m using for assembly as a screw lube. It’s right at hand anyway and you can just wipe off the excess with a wet rag (which it right at hand too). No concern about wood contamination.
Just my opinion though.
Eric

View themitrejoint's profile

themitrejoint

18 posts in 1272 days


#32 posted 1268 days ago

Impact Driver – must have tool. Combo heads – no. The right size bit – a must. Lube really helps – saves time and effort. If you are doing utility construction try leaning on the screw with the driver in reverse to “drill” the pilot hole. Then forward to drive the screw in. Quick and dirty. Saves changing bits. Works well for construction type work. SS a must for exterior work. Course thread drywall screws for just about everything else except hardwood. Readily available from 1” to 4”.

-- Frank, Hagerstown, Maryland

View allmyfingers's profile

allmyfingers

40 posts in 1283 days


#33 posted 1267 days ago

drywall screws are not hardened and are only for drywall! they can snap much easier than you’d imagine. never use them for anything that has to take stress or load.

-- I cut it 3 times and it was still too short?!?

View William's profile

William

8979 posts in 1479 days


#34 posted 1267 days ago

I have never had problems driving screws of any length. First off, before I start assembling everything, I have to get my drills set up. I usually have three drills going. One with the pre-drill bit. On with the bit to fit the screws I’m using. Then the last one with a 3/8” bit for countersinking so I can plug it afterwards. While I’m setting this up, I put the screws I’ll start with in my mouth. You read tht right, in my mouth. If they are small enough, I’m not talking abut between my lips, but actually in my mouth. I learned from an old guy years ago that spit is the best screw lube there ever was. We won’t even go into all the things that spit is good at lubing up.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View fredf's profile

fredf

495 posts in 2347 days


#35 posted 1267 days ago

When screwing into the hard woods with brass screws I always scrape the screws with beeswax. Haven’t broke a brass screw in quite a while now.

....rookieII

I use a matching STEEL screw first to cut the threads, THEN I replace it with the BRASS

Turns out he used a bar of soap to lube up the screws.
trainwreck

Soap seems to attract water and RUST, wax is a much better choice!

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View allmyfingers's profile

allmyfingers

40 posts in 1283 days


#36 posted 1266 days ago

screws in the mouth??? never again since the day on a job when I was “sure” i had 3 self tapping zip screws in my mouth, but then could only account for 2…. did i swallow one? knowing my wife the O.R. nurse would kill me if i died from internal bleeding from a drill point screw, i shut down the job, drove 40 miles to the hospital and had a battery of X-rays that much to the disappointment of everyone who had gathered in the reading room showed no screws anywhere in my body except the loose ones in my head!!!

-- I cut it 3 times and it was still too short?!?

View terry staggs's profile

terry staggs

19 posts in 1274 days


#37 posted 1266 days ago

hey guys a money saving tip about wax. save the wifes candles before she throws them out melt and pour into a container. very good wax for your screws and hey it may smell a little better in that ole shop as well

-- terrystaggs@gmaiil.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14727 posts in 2313 days


#38 posted 1266 days ago

Another issue with holding small things in your mouth is sneezing! My daughter is a reparatory therapist. She says women with pins & needles in their mouths inhale them when they sneeze suddenly. I imagine small screws are the same ;-((

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View mafe's profile

mafe

9492 posts in 1726 days


#39 posted 1265 days ago

Perhaps it’s time to make a greasebox… lol.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/37809
All my fingers, I loved that story.
Best thoughts,
MaFe

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1330 days


#40 posted 1265 days ago

I like square drive bits and an impact drill. I predrill a pilot & keep a little square of paraffin (found in the canning section of the grocery) to wax the threads. I feel for you, I absolutely HATE stripped heads!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CampD's profile

CampD

1201 posts in 2123 days


#41 posted 1265 days ago

40 replies and your still stripping out screws!!

-- Doug...

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2309 posts in 1520 days


#42 posted 1265 days ago

Lots of great advice here! Took me awhile to realize that screw bits wear and then become useless, but I now always have a few new #2 Robertson bits on hand. Personally have never tried waxing the threads, but will have to try it; I use a lot of the coated screws for pressure treated lumber as they are pretty slick.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1487 days


#43 posted 1265 days ago

Just a few comments as this interesting thread dribbles down to a fiber.

Soap introduces water.

I can’t get parraffin to stay on the screw. The bowl wax does. Likewise the beeswax.

Nearly thirty years in the business and I’ve never felt the need for an impact driver. If I were installing cabinets day in and day out, yes. But there are certainly more useful and justifiable tools for the shop.

I use Fuller counterbore/countersink setups, and own two. I see here they are sold in a set of many. I keep one with a clearance bit and one with a tapered point bit. One drill, one bit.

With this bit you can countersink, if you stop at the right place, or counterbore, if you go in further and wish to plug the hole with wood. There are various brands with various prices, and I suspect that price reflects quality here.

I am puzzled by allmyfingers comment about drywall screws. Perhaps I should be saying “drywall-type screws.” These fasteners I buy from my cabinet hardware wholesaler and they don’t break. But they look like the screws that drywall guys use. I’ll be more careful in my nomenclature.

As for hardware in the mouth, no thanks. It was a rule when I was a framer and we were on ladders a lot. Nothing, nothing in the mouth. I’m recalling my son’s comment to my 18 month old granddaughter: “No, Emily, the carrot won’t taste better after the cat licks it.”

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View trainwreck's profile

trainwreck

43 posts in 1328 days


#44 posted 1265 days ago

CampD, actually, no. I’m not. If you read all the posts, I posted that as soon as I switched to a square drive, they went in like butter. Took all of about 30 minutes or so after that to get all 200 or so screws in where I needed them.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1811 days


#45 posted 1265 days ago

trainwreck:

LOL !

Heck, the actual meeting was adjourned LONG ago.

At this point, it’s just a bunch of us, drinking coffee, and shooting the breeze ;-)

-- -- Neil

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1907 days


#46 posted 1265 days ago

Spax are great for this….and they do have exterior screws. I always lube a screw longer then 1 inch….and all of them if they are going into brittle or very hard woods. The toilet ring is a great idea…..I have used candles…and surf board wax also….you can use any non staining lubricant….just make sure you wipe off your piece after you have driven the screw.

The combo head screws are great IMHO. I like the square drives as they are a bit harder to strip then the phillips heads….also…the phillips head drivers seem to wear out/strip out quick….even on the so called “premium bits.”

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1330 days


#47 posted 1265 days ago

Lee, I’m surprised to hear that you don’t like impact drivers. I got mine by accident when I bought a Makita combo set. I figured I’d just use the impact driver for taking off a lug nut on a rare occasion. To my surprise, I prefer it. The head is immensely small, allowing me to get into tight places, but still retaining power. I feel that it’s a bit easier to control (this may just be me, though). I also like that I can keep driver bits & drill bits (with the permanently mounted hex shaft; I’m sure they have a fancy name but I don’t know it) in my pocket & be ready to pilot if need be. I’ve got six drills of what I’d consider high quality (DeWalt, Milwaukee, Bosch, Makita, and pneumatic) & I reach for the little 18V impact driver most often.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1811 days


#48 posted 1265 days ago

Put me as a strong 2nd to Bertha’s comment.

Mine came about as a result of my brother—former Ryobi rep—saying, “What YOU need … is an impact driver,” and popping one in the mail to me.

The smaller “form factor” gives me access to LOTS of fasteners that my screw gun is just too big to reach. The number of 2-1/2” fasteners it can drive into hardwood—compared TO my screw gun, using the exact same batteries—seems like double.

And … counterbore ? Sometimes, but … if it’s not a really critical aesthetic issue … just bap-bap-bap-bap-bap-bap-bap, with the impact driver, and counter-sink the heads, instead.

AND … it’s my one cordless tool that has a great, and BRIGHT, LED light !

[yeah. FREE was good, too ;-)]

-- -- Neil

View BallardPops's profile

BallardPops

18 posts in 1277 days


#49 posted 1265 days ago

Hi Trainwreck – As usual, I’m a day late and a dollar short and show up to the party as all of the good conversations are well underway. If you want to continue using Phillips type screws, let me suggest getting a driver tip with ACR, anit cam-out ribs. I’ve been using the same one for about the last 5 years and it is still going strong and I don’t strip many screw heads. Just my 0.02 dollars American. Love this discussion! Work safe.

Pops

-- Ballard Pops

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14727 posts in 2313 days


#50 posted 1265 days ago

BallardPops, I have never heard of ACR. I just goodled it and looked at Grainger. Grainger doesn’t say anything about it in their listings, but McFeelys showed up on the goolge search with ACR mentioned. The pic looks the same as any other philips tip. Is there a way to tell if my DeWalt tips are ACR?

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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