Recommend wood that holds a screw in end grain

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Forum topic by Brett posted 01-24-2012 05:05 AM 5614 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2705 days

01-24-2012 05:05 AM

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


1801 posts in 2339 days

#1 posted 01-24-2012 06:55 AM

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 3090 days

#2 posted 01-24-2012 06:59 AM

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


10476 posts in 3670 days

#3 posted 01-24-2012 07:03 AM

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

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2957 days

#4 posted 01-24-2012 07:05 AM

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


4032 posts in 2993 days

#5 posted 01-24-2012 07:09 AM

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.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3107 days

#6 posted 01-24-2012 07:08 PM

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 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2705 days

#7 posted 01-25-2012 04:46 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. :)

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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