Basic as it gets: which screw should I use?

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Forum topic by startingfromscratch posted 01-04-2010 06:09 PM 802 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 2613 days

01-04-2010 06:09 PM

Sorry for the newbie questions (as usual). I’m building radiator covers with dimensions about 40 wide, 30 tall and 12 deep and primarily made out of pine 1X4s and 3/4 pine glued boards for sides and tops. I am almost done and just need to attach the tops. My plan is to glue and screw 1 inch mounting strips to the inside sides and then glue and screw the tops to the strip from underneath.

Any suggestions on what specific kind and size screw I should use? And how large the pilot hole should be. I normally reach into the drywall screw bucket or randomly grab whatever is around and isn’t too long…but I’d prefer to know what someone with more skill would do.

5 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#1 posted 01-04-2010 06:18 PM

The Screw type is less important than how you screw it together. Your plan sounds fine for attaching the top just make sure that you put holes that are top big in your block so that the wood can move across the grain.
So if you use a screw that is 1/8” thick at the shank use a hole that is 1/4” or larger and place the screw in the middle, you can also elongate the the screw holes to allow for wood movement. So the screws have to have a large enough head to due the job and be short enough they don’t go through the top. Also don’t glue the top just screws.

-- Custom furniture

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3069 days

#2 posted 01-04-2010 06:24 PM

I used to use drywall screws as well, but several recent articles shows that drywall screws have poor shear force and can snap in half when carrying too much load (shelves) – for radiator covers I doubt you’ll have any issues with them.

to connect 1” stripts into 3/4” top you can use the 1 1/2” screws. generally speaking – you want the screw to be about 1/4” shorter than the combined thickness of both pieces being screwed so that it doesn’t exit on the other side. there’s no ruling on this – just as long as the screw has enough grab on the back piece, and is not drive through the other side.

pilot hole should be the size of the inner shank of the screw – for drywall screws, I think it’s 1/8” diameter.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3097 days

#3 posted 01-04-2010 11:07 PM

check this out. handy chart.

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

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2653 days

#4 posted 01-04-2010 11:22 PM

For some projects, the strength of the fastener is critical. Since you are using glue and screws, and this is a radiator cover, not shelving, or a bed… I would tend to think that you are pretty much in the clear though. Just make sure to drill the hole through the cleat big enough to pass the screw through, and a small pilot hole to allow the screw to grab, but not split the connected pieces. Once the glue is set, the screws are pretty much just there to take up space anyway…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View interpim's profile


1158 posts in 2879 days

#5 posted 01-04-2010 11:30 PM

if the screw heads aren’t going to be visible, I highly recommend the square drive screws that are used with the Kreg Pocket holes. I use them for everything.

-- San Diego, CA

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