• Advertise with us

« back to Joinery forum

Forum topic by becikeja posted 09-13-2015 12:34 PM 1054 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View becikeja's profile


893 posts in 2842 days

09-13-2015 12:34 PM

I am sure there are as many answers to this question as there are members on this forum, but perhaps not, so I will ask anyway.

I am a weekend warrior so I am looking for an “all purpose screw”. Does such a thing exist? I have mainly used drywall screws since they seem to be the most readily available at the big box stores. I use a variety of wood in my work, but tend to avoid oak and pine. As I take my quality of work to the next level, I am starting to question if drywall screws are the best option.

Thoughts, Comments??
What do you use and why?

Appreciate your input.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

14 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1259 days

#1 posted 09-13-2015 01:03 PM

If I remember correct there is sheet rock and a general purpose screw. The only difference to the eye was general purpose had a more aggressive tpi. I doubt there was a metallurgical difference as I seem to be able to snap them at the same place: where I don’t need a snapped screw.

Anyways, I use the general purpose, phillips. But would change for square drive (#2) if I had the call to use screws more. I like the square drive. We used the exclusively when I built cabinrts.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3025 days

#2 posted 09-13-2015 01:21 PM

When I worked at hardware store we sold screws for every application. (It was a marketing gimmic)Green screws for green treated lumber. Brown screws for brown treated lumber. Stainless screws for decks. Regular gold plated for general purpose framing. Floor screws for flooring. Drywall screws for drywall.Aluminum screws for flashing and siding.
I keep gold ones ”#2 robertson head” on hand !(Yes I am Canadian, I like my robby screws)
I noticed last month Home Depot is selling screws with TORX heads. Very pricy ?

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View WhyMe's profile


1026 posts in 1589 days

#3 posted 09-13-2015 02:16 PM

I use the flat head square drive screws. They are a gold/brass color.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5002 posts in 2522 days

#4 posted 09-13-2015 02:17 PM

I’ve always been told that drywall screws are for drywall, period. So I use unplated steel square drive, mine come from McFeelys. If I had to choose one (shudder) it would probably be a 1 1/2” #8. So I suggest you ditch the drywall screws unless you are doing rock, and move to a more suitable screw.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Sunstealer73's profile


166 posts in 2121 days

#5 posted 09-13-2015 02:19 PM

I like the Spax brand from Home Depot. Lots of options and readily available. I use better brass ones if they will be exposed though.

View hairy's profile


2720 posts in 3561 days

#6 posted 09-13-2015 02:28 PM

Here's a chart. It doesn’t tell you what screw for what application.

-- My reality check bounced...

View CharlesA's profile


3330 posts in 1826 days

#7 posted 09-13-2015 03:25 PM

I’m a big fan of SPAX torx screws most applications. You can get them in a variety of places, including HD. I can drive them flush in any wood without pre-drilling or countersinking and w/o splitting the wood. I use them for all kinds of utility uses to securing a top in a counterbored hole. I’ve bested them against high quality wood screws, and I prefer the SPAX

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2658 posts in 2950 days

#8 posted 09-13-2015 07:03 PM

I use sheet rock screws , recess them, and cover with a tapered plug that I cut from the same wood. No rust or streaking problems.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Kazooman's profile


1032 posts in 1981 days

#9 posted 09-13-2015 07:06 PM

Drywall screws have a “bugle head” that has a curve to the tapered portion as opposed to a straight bevel. The head shape helps to keep the screws from tearing the paper surface of the drywall when the screw is driven and seated just below the surface. I prefer standard flat head screws and use a drill bit with an attached countersink to make the pilot hole. The curved bugle head of a drywall screw actually doesn’t make a perfect fit with the standard countersunk hole.

I also like McFeely’s square drive screws. I also like the SPAX screws that Charles mentioned.

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3189 days

#10 posted 09-13-2015 07:24 PM

If I only bought ONE screw, it would be the Square-Drive Coarse-Thread Kreg screws(or any other brand with the same shape).

  • Fine thread can’t be used for soft woods but course threads can be used for hardwoods.
  • The integral washer applys a flat spot against the wood, leading to less splitting if you drive it too hard.
  • A square drive is less likely to cam out
  • They can be used for pocket holes.
  • They look better than a drywall screw when they can’t be hidden.
  • You can counter-sink them by first drilling a 1/8”(or so) pilot hole with a forstner bit to get the head below the surface.
  • On the down side, they are not as cheap as drywall screws.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View MrRon's profile


4800 posts in 3272 days

#11 posted 09-14-2015 06:14 PM

I use drywall screws all the time. You just have to be careful about how you drive them. In soft woods like pine, they can be driven without splitting the wood, but in hard woods, a pilot hole is always necessary. Drywall screws are designed to shear off when over-driven when used with metal studs. When used in hard wood, they can shear unless you drill a pilot hole. I would use them where appearance is important as in furniture, but they can be countersunk and plugged.

View waho6o9's profile


8209 posts in 2605 days

#12 posted 09-14-2015 06:19 PM

Spax and GRKs

View wvprankster's profile


6 posts in 1174 days

#13 posted 09-14-2015 06:54 PM

I use drywall screws when they won’t be seen, and others for when they will be.

-- What is to give light must endure burning.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3259 days

#14 posted 09-14-2015 08:45 PM

I hardly ever use drywall screws any more. I can’t recall the last time I bought any. The ones I have on hand have been around a long time. I do use them when I am glueing up two pieces of plywood or mdf. They act like a bunch of little clamps! :-)

For general stuff like jigs or fastening boards to something, I use pocket screws. Regardless of price, they work great, and I have no problem buying them in the big box (500 or 1000 count) in course and fine thread. I use mostly 1 1/4.

Otherwise, I like the SPAX screws as mentioned before. The Torx bit never spins out when the screw is being driven.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics