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Basic Question on Which Screws To Use

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Forum topic by wmgworks posted 10-05-2015 11:53 PM 483 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wmgworks

193 posts in 448 days


10-05-2015 11:53 PM

Kinda new to woodworking hence the basic question. I have a few projects lined up. First – some saw horses, followed by an 8’x4’ storage loft followed by a 21’ x 6’ storage loft.

Lets talk about the saw horses first. The plans said “3 inch wood screws”. So, I went onto Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, etc to order some and the choices are mind numbing. I’m not sure what kind I should be using.

For the lofts I will likely nail the frames together except at the wall attachment points where I will use lag bolts. I’ll likely glue and screw the plywood sheets to the joists. Would the same screws I buy for the saw horses work?

This is all stuff for the shop so it doesn’t have to look purdy.

Thanks!

-- Butchering wood since 2015


7 replies so far

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ForestGrl

445 posts in 549 days


#1 posted 10-06-2015 12:20 AM

Are you using an impact driver or power drill to drive said screws? Screws are made so poorly these days, I’ve gotten to where I use almost exclusively square- or star-drive heads. Spax Construction Screws have worked well for routine projects (they take either a Phillips driver or a square driver, both #2). Driving a star-head screw with an impact driver creates a great feeling of empowerment! ;-) One big thing to keep in mind: drywall screws have very little shear strength, so never use them when there’s a significant load.

If you’re using pressure treated framing for some reason, you need screws that don’t corrode with exposure to that stuff. Otherwise, just good construction screws. Our local lumberyard has stopped carrying square-drive screws because the drivers that are available are tapered and don’t work all that well. They’ve gone to all star-drive. But I haven’t had trouble with the Spax.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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wmgworks

193 posts in 448 days


#2 posted 10-06-2015 03:50 AM



Are you using an impact driver or power drill to drive said screws? Screws are made so poorly these days, I ve gotten to where I use almost exclusively square- or star-drive heads. Spax Construction Screws have worked well for routine projects (they take either a Phillips driver or a square driver, both #2). Driving a star-head screw with an impact driver creates a great feeling of empowerment! ;-) One big thing to keep in mind: drywall screws have very little shear strength, so never use them when there s a significant load.

If you re using pressure treated framing for some reason, you need screws that don t corrode with exposure to that stuff. Otherwise, just good construction screws. Our local lumberyard has stopped carrying square-drive screws because the drivers that are available are tapered and don t work all that well. They ve gone to all star-drive. But I haven t had trouble with the Spax.

- ForestGrl

Thanks for your thoughts, ForestGrl. I don’t have an impact driver yet, so it’s either a drill or elbow grease right now. I did notice a lot more selection of star head screws than Phillips. I haven’t worked with them much so wasn’t sure about them.

-- Butchering wood since 2015

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 949 days


#3 posted 10-06-2015 03:54 AM

Ditto

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2192 posts in 944 days


#4 posted 10-06-2015 12:19 PM

I’ve also had good luck with the Spax screws but any construction type screw will work.
Even drywall screws will do the job.

I recommend round head (not flat head) screws unless you want them countersunk for some reason.

Close to edges of wood drill pilot holes even if the screws are self drilling to avoid splitting.

You definitely need a power drill or impact driver unless you’re the Incredible Hulk.

Good excuse to buy one. You can find them on sale quite a bit.
I have a 12V Bosch its light duty but gets the job done.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3937 posts in 1956 days


#5 posted 10-06-2015 12:31 PM

Can’t beat the advice ForestGrl gave, right on the money. Someone else said, if you don’t have an impact driver, at least have a drill (cord or cordless) to drive them, your palms will thank you later.

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

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1760 days


#6 posted 10-06-2015 12:52 PM

Plain black coarse thread phillips head screws (fine thread is for hardwoods and steel framing studs) are fine to build horses with that will be stored primarily indoors. If you’re going to drive them close to the end or edge of a stick of wood predrill first so you don’t split the board.

Skip the glue on your loft and you can use shorter screws to attach the plywood, say 1 5/8. It isn’t going anywhere.

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ForestGrl

445 posts in 549 days


#7 posted 10-07-2015 12:17 AM


I ve also had good luck with the Spax screws but any construction type screw will work.
Even drywall screws will do the job.

Must disagree about the drywall screws, at least for the storage lofts (OK, though not great, for the sawhorses).


Close to edges of wood drill pilot holes even if the screws are self drilling to avoid splitting.
Mmmmm, excellent point! Save our newish woodworker some frustration.

You definitely need a power drill or impact driver unless you re the Incredible Hulk. Good excuse to buy one. You can find them on sale quite a bit. I have a 12V Bosch its light duty but gets the job done.
- rwe2156

Great time coming up now for sales. We sprung for the Makita 18V set when we built our deck, but when the Ryobi set came on sale 2 years ago, we got one of those too, really good price, and they work just fine!

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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