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Forum topic by NedG posted 04-15-2014 10:10 PM 1716 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 2313 days

04-15-2014 10:10 PM

The wood screws available today in hardware stores are significantly inferior to those available to our dads decades ago. Today’s screws are made of a softer steel; the slots strip more often and they break (shear) far easier. This is a shame. Sheetrock screws are a reasonable substitute, but sizes and head diameters (for holding ability) are limited.
Is anyone aware of a source for old-fashion wood screws? I’m sure they are very expensive to produce, but they are a pleasure to work with. Thanks. —- Ned

28 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3584 days

#1 posted 04-15-2014 10:20 PM

I have quite a few boxes of old fashioned solid brass woodscrews, which are used on most antique restoration and older designs of modern furniture where pozidrive screws look out of place.I am afraid that is the problem with the old ones they were all single slot,pre philips head of pozidrive type cross headed screws and are inferior in this one aspect imho .I cannot agree with your findings though on modern screws. I buy good quality screws not neccessarily the most expensive, but I find them in use with the battery operated drill drivers ( which I need to use myself) to be really good and have had no problems myself to date.Maybe you should buy a few different brands and see if your opinion changes I wish you happier woodworking and good luck for the future . Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View HorizontalMike's profile


7757 posts in 2913 days

#2 posted 04-15-2014 10:39 PM

Here you go Ned. You can find your cut nails here as well. I use these guys all of the time, mostly for their accuracy, NOT for indestructiblity.

Be aware that some screws are actually made to be soft and strip. Better to preserve the wood, than to destroy it, but have a good looking screw. Pre-drilling is an often over-looked task. Just my 2-cents.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1274 posts in 1633 days

#3 posted 04-15-2014 11:14 PM

I am not sure I agree. I don’t like the tapered screws personally. While it seems like a good idea to spread out as you go deeper, many times they stripped the wood because the pilot was incorrectly drilled to deep with a taper bit.

The current crop you drill a consistent size hole using a brad point..

But in answer to your question, McFeely’s… mostly square drive.
And as Mike said above, for classic screws.

-- Jeff NJ

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3687 days

#4 posted 04-15-2014 11:18 PM

Sheetrock screws are NOT made for woodworking.
If you’re breaking screws and stripping slots, then you need to drill larger pilot holes or use the correct tapered drill bits for woodscrews. : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Redoak49's profile


3246 posts in 1987 days

#5 posted 04-16-2014 12:32 AM

I am not certain that I agree either that the old screws were better. Today, there are some very high tech screws that work great. I like the Highpoint ones sold be Woodcraft. But there are several other brands at least as good. I do not use dry wall screws for any woodworking at all as they are just not strong enough.

Today with the demands of using power drivers with philips, square or Torx drive, the screws must be much stronger and resist the having the tearout on the heads.

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2576 days

#6 posted 04-16-2014 12:54 AM

McFeely’s square drive screws are the best I’ve used. I won’t use lesser quality screws again, and if better screws exist, I’ll never know because square drive screws work so good, so I have no need to try something new.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 1888 days

#7 posted 04-16-2014 01:00 AM

I love square drive. I used to wonder why the need, but I’ve yet to have problems with them.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2563 days

#8 posted 04-16-2014 01:22 AM

I feel like the modern head types offer so much of an upgrade over the older slotted styles

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4727 posts in 2350 days

#9 posted 04-16-2014 01:44 AM

Is anyone aware of a source for old-fashion wood screws?

Here you go.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2044 days

#10 posted 04-16-2014 04:07 AM

I’ve found the Spax screws available from Big Orange to be quite good.

-- paxorion

View Rick's profile


9600 posts in 3032 days

#11 posted 04-16-2014 04:30 AM

By “Square Drive” I assume you guys mean “Robertson”?

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

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2576 days

#12 posted 04-16-2014 07:02 AM

”By “Square Drive” I assume you guys mean “Robertson”?”
Pretty much, though there are some subtle differences.

I’m not sure if the ones mcfeely’s sells are authentic robertson, but I will say that I’ve never had a single mcfeely’s screw strip out or break. Ever.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2026 days

#13 posted 04-16-2014 08:23 AM

I haven’t noticed a major change in softness of metal in screws over the years, but I do know what your talking about cause I have bought things that required assembly and the screws were terrible. They would strip or snap if you just sneeze on them. I usually just grab screws I have on hand to replace those or head to the hardware store when that is the case.

Here I usually buy my screws from either of two local ma and pa type hardware stores. One store cause they so close, the other if I have to go into town which is in the opposite direction but on the way. They sell the same thing for practically the same price and it in a green box. Don’t know the name but these little stores actually are as cheap or cheaper than the big box stores, and I want to keep ma and pa in business. So much easier to find things in those stores, soon as you walk in someone mugs you and wants to help you find everything. I hate walking a quarter mile to find and buy a thing a ma jig.

Let me not even get into my rant on packageing, go to a big box store and you get 3 screws for $2, what the heck, 3 screws? what is that? who uses screws in quantities of 3? The green boxes usually are 50 or 100 depending on what your buying and cost tween $6 and $10. If you need just a few the local has those in bins too. My Lowes has some things in bulk bins, and if it is there it is cheaper than my local hardware store, but my local store is 5 miles away, and Lowes is 25. When you weigh in time and gas, it not worth going there to save $1. Basic wood screw sizes though I prefer to buy by the box, you go thru them pretty quick.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2337 days

#14 posted 04-16-2014 11:29 AM

I may be different to some degree. First I use no regular screws. Nothing for flat or phillips screwdrivers. My preference is to head screws. I have the least trouble with them.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View johnstoneb's profile


2915 posts in 2172 days

#15 posted 04-16-2014 11:45 AM

If you’re having problems with screw heads stripping. You are either using the wrong size screwdriver or the screwdriver is worn out.
You realize there are two types of screws Philips and Read &Prince that look alike but require different drivers. Reed & Prince screws are tapered and require a Reed & Prince driver. The drivers are not interchangeable.
Screwdrivers for slotted screws require a concave grind on the sides, most cheap screwdrivers come with a flat grind on both sides and will pop out of the slot very easily. Screws get a lot of blame for aother problems.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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