Recommend wood that holds a screw in end grain

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Forum topic by Brett posted 946 days ago 1969 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


621 posts in 1314 days

946 days ago

My wife has a kitchen tool that needs a new handle. I can use a 3/4” dowel for the handle, but I need to drill a hole for a screw into the center of each end of the dowel. What kinds of wood will hold a screw drilled right into end grain?

Also, what finish should I use on the handle? Can wood stand up to being washed with a soapy sponge every once in a while?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

7 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


775 posts in 948 days

#1 posted 946 days ago

End grain just isn’t known for having exceptional screw-holding power. That being said, a fairly dense, fine-grained wood such as maple would perform better than something soft like poplar. You’d want to pre-drill the wood first to prevent splitting though. I would recommend finding some way to use a stainless steel machine screw and nut instead if at all possible.

Finish might depend upon the tool in question. I’ve seen wooden spoons last for years with no finish at all. They need to be allowed to dry well out after washing.

-- See my work at and

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 1699 days

#2 posted 946 days ago

Check McFeely’s for screws made for end grain and soft wood use. They’re typically coarse thread.

We have several wooden spoons that have no finish. They get hand washed (never in the dishwasher) and air dried. They are never “soaked” in water.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Loren's profile


7422 posts in 2279 days

#3 posted 946 days ago

Drill and install a cross-dowel to hole the screw.


View ChuckC's profile


683 posts in 1566 days

#4 posted 946 days ago

When screwing into end grain you can sometimes drill a hole (or several) into the face and plug it with a dowel. When you then screw into the end grain you end up hitting the dowel along its grain for a tighter fit.

In this instance you can drill a through hole 3/4” or so from each end of the dowel (handle) and fill it with the appropriate size dowel. Then, drill pilot holes into the ends of the handle, through the other dowels, and fasten the screws. Some may like the design element of the extra dowels too??

View crank49's profile


3373 posts in 1602 days

#5 posted 946 days ago

Can you drill a hole for a cross dowell?

If so, you put a 3/8 dowell, for instance, through the 3/4” rod about an inch from the end. Then the screw hole is drilled in the end and through the cross dowell.

When you put the screw in it bites into the cross dowell and locks into it.

I have used this method many times. works great.

And, I think it looks good too. Especially with a darker wood for the cross dowell.

Well dang. Lets just all get on the band wagon. There was only 2 replys when I started writing this.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Bluepine38's profile


2876 posts in 1716 days

#6 posted 945 days ago

E-Z Loc and other manufacturers make metal inserts that have a heavy wood screw thread on the outside,
and a machine screw thread on the inside. Putting these inserts in with a waterproof glue provides a
good solution to many problems. The inserts are available through most hardware stores as well as on line.
Metal cross dowels are also available.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Brett's profile


621 posts in 1314 days

#7 posted 945 days ago

Thanks for the suggestions. :)

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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