Screw choices, buying some and need some feedback first

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Forum topic by Craftsman on the lake posted 02-22-2014 04:16 AM 3510 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3459 days

02-22-2014 04:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question screws torx square head self drilling

I use screws a lot. I’ve always used phillips wood screws and deck screws in the shop. I’ve recently begun liking the cabinet screws that I have that are used with my Kreg jig for general purpose use as they snug things up niceliy without splitting anything. They’re a cabinet screw and don’t have to be ‘kreg’ branded.

I’m trying to settle on a screw type to outfit the shop with in various sizes. I countersink and plug most stuff so the head choice doesn’t show. I will be moving completely to torx and or square drive… very little phillips. I’m abandoning them just as most people abandoned spade drive long ago. I’m also sold on the self drilling ones. I still predrill a lot but these screws still drive easier after.

Before I spring for some boxes of a few sizes I use most, I’d like some feedback as I certainly haven’t tried them all.

The questions:

1. I’ve never used trim head screws like this one. Anyone use them and what do you like about them?

. 2. Do you have a preference/recommendation on a screw type?


-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

23 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6951 posts in 2620 days

#1 posted 02-22-2014 04:21 AM

I like the pan head Kreg screws with the square drive. Nothing better than a quality screw…lol

View bigblockyeti's profile


5134 posts in 1742 days

#2 posted 02-22-2014 04:26 AM

I buy whatever pocket screws are the best deal on Amazon, usually just under $7 for 100 1 1/2 #7’s. I like the torx drive, but once the bit starts getting chewed up better replace it or it will be nothing but a headache. The finish head screws I only like in nice hard wood. Had them pull through on a pine project once, I wouldn’t trust them in poplar either, still too soft.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4422 days

#3 posted 02-22-2014 04:47 AM

I’ve used the trim screws. The railing spindles started to come loose on the second level landing. I didn’t want any little one to fall threw so i nocked them off and pounded out the finish nails and replaced them with trim screws. Nice and tight now.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2468 days

#4 posted 02-22-2014 05:33 AM

I mainly use the pan head Kreg screws but also have a whole bunch of drywall screws that I use only in softwood like pine . their philips head can break off easily if too much torque is applied .

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Rick's profile


9698 posts in 3054 days

#5 posted 02-22-2014 05:40 AM

Drywall Screws. Tapered Heads, Self Countersinking unless you want them deeper in which case drill a Pilot Hole with a countersink head on it. Self Starting Point.

They come in Course or Fine Screw Thread and are VERY Strong. All kinds of Lengths.

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

View realcowtown_eric's profile


609 posts in 1958 days

#6 posted 02-22-2014 07:29 AM

The only time I use drywall screws is on drywall. They are so brittle that they break-off in hardwoods. Hate that.

The narrow head trim screws (familiar to me as brand name “grabbers” find use from time to time, but mostly in the shop as the narrow heads work with a lot of “hang holes” on tools. In careful use they can be discrete, but over tighten and the head is so close to the predrilled hole that if you overtighten you are gonna split wood, or if not, backing them out can cause outlift split ou, totally defeating their discreteness, cause now you got a mess to tidy up…

Robertson (square drive) screws are one of the greatest inventions that Henry Ford FU’d on. He wanted to buy the company, and PL robertson wouldn’t sell, so the yanks got stuck with Phillipsoid buggery all those many years.

Not just me, but others up in Canada just toss out those crappy phillips screws and use Robertson. What’s scarey now is that the Yank borgs have the orient thinking that phillips is the standard…

Myself, there is no easy answer for what is best (wood) screw!. There are just not to my mind any straightforward answers, Pan head, truss head flat head, I just have to have them all at hand in all sizes. Lately one of my clients is needing a lot of slot head screws for antique restoration.

To my mind there is not one simple “go to ” WOOD screw , and when while the common sizes are relatively inexpensive, when you get into 10/12/14 sizes, well the price gets up there.

Buy a small package of 80 of the larger sizes at the borg, yer gonna find yerself paying 15 bucks a pop and more..You just cannot be rushing out to buy a new package every time you need five or twenty of the weird sizes. Far better to keep track as best you can of what you got in stock. Some sizes I buy by the thousands….some by the hundreds (80 these days).

I try and use metal (plastic don’t last in CDN cold weather) drawers to organize them…

4 metal drawers and a rack end up costing close to 200, which is expensive, but if they help you keep track of 500 bucks worth of screws over a lifetime, it’s a no brainer time saver investment.

like these..

I’ve been fortunate to pick up a few of them at garage sales for way less. generally populated by worthless junk, for a few bucks.

Executive summay
There is no one “go to screw” (Don’t ask your wife for confirmation)
Cogitate a tad from time to time on the costs of the fasteners
try and keep em organized to be economical

Eric in Calgary

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View CharlesA's profile


3329 posts in 1819 days

#7 posted 02-22-2014 10:37 AM

In lots of instances where I’m just screwing wood to itself for jigs or putting rough things together, I reach for Kreg screws bc they are so easy to use one handed in my driver. I purchased several different kinds of screws recently,and I’ve settled on another screw for general woodworking: SPAX. They drive easily, self-countersink, work well, and I like that I can get them in yellow zinc. HD carries them:

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View carver1942's profile


93 posts in 1726 days

#8 posted 02-22-2014 11:39 AM

I use Confirmat screws to assemble kitchen cabinet boxes. They hold rock solid in plywood and PDF. They require a drill bit that’s made for them.

I use the 7mm size for 3/4” plywood and the 5mm size for 1/2” plywood. Ed

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3459 days

#9 posted 02-22-2014 12:37 PM

Thanks all, I’ve been using some GRK screws similar to the ones CharlesA above uses. The SPAX ones he shows cost a little bit less. GRK are also found at home depot. I think I’d like the SPAX more though because of the specialized torx type head. Good food for though from everyone.


-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1956 days

#10 posted 02-22-2014 02:51 PM

+1 on the spax screws. I love those things. I have actually been needing some more screws and I am glad Charles reminded me of my old friend SPAX. Last time I bought them, the package said made in USA or Germany. Both countries I trust more than the usual place of manufacture.

Just a side note, what supplier do y’all order your regular old hardwood screws from? I’ve been using drywall screws this whole time and would like to convert.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View CharlesA's profile


3329 posts in 1819 days

#11 posted 02-22-2014 02:58 PM

I use Spax for my hardwood screws. I bought some premium HighPoint hardwood screws from woodcraft and compared them, and I’ve decided the Spax are better in hardwood applications as well.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

546 posts in 2399 days

#12 posted 02-22-2014 03:06 PM

I also use only SPAX screws in all different sizes and they have worked great for me. I can get them locally at big box stores like HD, Lowes, or Menards or you can order larger quantities online at McFeelys.

-- Matt, Arizona,

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1956 days

#13 posted 02-22-2014 03:19 PM

Cool, thanks guys

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

507 posts in 3538 days

#14 posted 02-22-2014 03:23 PM

I use the trim head finish screws from GRK because they are available in the small town I live in. Like any other screw, they work best if you pre-drill when near the end of a board. The bits (as bigblockyeti said) do have a tendency to twist off or wear down so buy several if you go that route. I also use Kreg and other sizes of GRK screws almost exclusively.

-- jstegall

View Todd's profile


398 posts in 1698 days

#15 posted 02-22-2014 03:24 PM

Great thread! I tend to use pocket screws for all my furniture assembly (whether in a “pocket” or not). I use deck or drywall screws to assemble shop tables and stands. I’m going to look into the SPAX for furniture assembly.

Never given it much thought before this thread!

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

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