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Forum topic by 12strings posted 04-09-2013 04:13 AM 1306 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12strings

419 posts in 1073 days


04-09-2013 04:13 AM

Any technical tips & tricks on how much to tighten screws, whether for hardware, assembly, or whatever. I usually feel like I could easily hand tighten most screws enough to strip them right out, which obviously not what I want to do.

Everyone just says “don’t over-tighten.” So…

Is it just experience?

If you hear wood crunching or tearing is that the right place to stop, or is it already too far?

Thanks!

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!


27 replies so far

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

2578 posts in 732 days


#1 posted 04-09-2013 04:29 AM

I would have to say it a combination of everything you were told. I personally use screw wax, a soft based beeswax for most hardwoods that I work with. It helps the screw go in easier and with less chance of it breaking. Also the larger the thread on the screw the larger the hole I would pre drill. Hope that helps you out.

-- --Dave, Downers Grove, Il. When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams

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Craftsman70

241 posts in 814 days


#2 posted 04-09-2013 04:39 AM

Don’t use drywall screws for wood, especially hardwood as they tend to break off much easier.

View darthford's profile

darthford

532 posts in 613 days


#3 posted 04-09-2013 05:34 AM

Drill proper size pilot holes and anything below #10 I use stainless.

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runswithscissors

1017 posts in 714 days


#4 posted 04-09-2013 05:52 AM

When you get to be old and weak like I am, you won’t have that problem.

View Picklehead's profile

Picklehead

611 posts in 618 days


#5 posted 04-09-2013 12:05 PM

When driving brass hardware screws, use a non-brass screw of the same size first, then remove it and replace it with the brass screw. Brass is really soft, and the screws will “lose their heads”, followed shortly by your doing the same!

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

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johnstoneb

729 posts in 861 days


#6 posted 04-09-2013 12:16 PM

everybody has contributed good ideas. It comes down to experience you have to strip a few out and break a few to learn what works. When I worked as a mechanic we used to say , you tighten it until it strips then back off a half turn. Obviously you didn’t do that but the idea was you tighten just short of stripping. In metal you can use a torque wrench but in would it comes down to feel.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View grfrazee's profile

grfrazee

334 posts in 828 days


#7 posted 04-09-2013 01:45 PM

Also, don’t use an impact driver with solid brass screws. Find a steel screw of the same size/thread and screw that one in first. Then back the steel screw out and hand-screw the brass one in.

I didn’t know about the steel screw trick when I built my folding chairs, so I lost a couple half-way through drilling them in. Had to get creative on covering up that mistake.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11132 posts in 1695 days


#8 posted 04-09-2013 01:52 PM

A little bit of beeswax on the threads goes a long way too.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View SamuraiSaw's profile

SamuraiSaw

464 posts in 653 days


#9 posted 04-09-2013 01:53 PM

Pilot holes are essential, especially in hardwoods. But even in softwoods a pilot hole will prevent wood splitting and preserve the head of the screw. It is not necessary to tighten a screw to the point the head is burying itself in the material, the head should be snug in the pilot hole recess.

Using a lubricant on the screw, especially in hardwoods, is another requirement. I use beeswax, parafin, and even bar soap in a pinch.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas.... www.awwtx.com

View madts's profile

madts

1280 posts in 1028 days


#10 posted 04-09-2013 04:09 PM

I always use glue when I can. Then the screws are just use to align the parts. That way over-tightening is seldom a problem.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View bbc557ci's profile

bbc557ci

543 posts in 763 days


#11 posted 04-09-2013 04:51 PM

A little bit of beeswax on the threads goes a long way too.

Yep. And I’ve used an old bar of soap before, which worked just fine. Lube and pilot holes are the best IMHO.

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1109 days


#12 posted 04-09-2013 08:32 PM

My drill/driver has a clutch. I know that certain screw types, certain woods and screw lengths have different clutch settings and I’ve learned them over ther years.

I use pilot holes in finished and/or hard wood. I use wax on the threads if it will be a long drive into hard wood (an old candle of my wife’s works well). I’ve seen impact drivers handle stuff that my basic drill/driver couldn’t touch.

Brass screws are always in a pilot hole, waxed and driven with a handheld screwdriver. My drill has too much juice for that kind of delicate work. A good titanium-tipped #2 Phillips with a comfortable handle will be the best $20 you ever spent, IMHO.

Trial and error is a good teacher. Unfortunately, the “error” part can be frustrating, but you start to get a feel for things that way.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3184 posts in 1364 days


#13 posted 04-09-2013 08:39 PM

A good cheap source for wax is toilet rings. They sell pretty cheap and are large. I needed some wax to carry in my drill bag. I bought some Australian bees wax in the hair dressing section of a Jewel super market store. This had bottle with screw on caps and even smelled good.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3047 posts in 1176 days


#14 posted 04-09-2013 08:55 PM

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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MT_Stringer

1999 posts in 1920 days


#15 posted 04-09-2013 08:55 PM

I have just about wore out a bar of Irish Spring! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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