Square Drive Screws

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Forum topic by interpim posted 03-04-2009 06:43 AM 6376 views 1 time favorited 49 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1170 posts in 3428 days

03-04-2009 06:43 AM

Well, I am fed up with stripping out philips driver bits, so I have decided I want to use square drive screws from now on. I have done a bit of shopping online, and quickly realised that there are way to many different types of screws out there LOL…

I found this site and they seem to have some fairly good deals. Does anyone have any experience with this site, and can say if these are good deals or not?

Also, does anyone recommend a certain brand/type of screw for general purpose assembly? I find myself using 1 1/4” screws most of the time…

-- San Diego, CA

49 replies so far

View MedicKen's profile


1612 posts in 3432 days

#1 posted 03-04-2009 07:16 AM

I have known about McFeelys for a few years. I have only purchased from them once and I am happy with what I received. I was putting some 3/4 MDF shelves together and bought the confirmat type screws and drill. I must say I am pleased with the purchase, I have not had any other type of fastener hold as well. Even without glue the joint is much stronger. As for the rest of their products if they are anything like what I have already purchased they will be good. I will buy from them again!

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 4033 days

#2 posted 03-04-2009 07:29 AM

I love McFeeley’s. Plenty of information in the catalogs that will help you get the right screw for the job. They occasionally have some good deals on tools too.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3649 days

#3 posted 03-04-2009 07:39 AM

Square drive is the way to go, BUT, Get a good quality driver bit, not the cheap ones that are out today. Also, McFeely’s claims to be the best or originator, or some such stuff, but their prices are higher than you can get locally in most cases.

I’ve been connecting almost everything with pocket screws lately, and try to use the Kreg brand as they are cheap, and hold really well, but there are other brands out there, such as what is at McFeely’s. When building a deck I only use the square drive screws which I believe are available in 1 1/4”, (but could be mistaken). I know for sure that Rockler has 1 1/4” square drive (non deck) screws available, VERY cheap.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3684 days

#4 posted 03-04-2009 07:39 AM

If you have a fastenal store in your area, they are a good resource, especially if you like to buy in bulk

View doyoulikegumwood's profile


384 posts in 3962 days

#5 posted 03-04-2009 08:06 AM

i have to agree with tool dad McFeelys is good but more pricey then fastenal i go thru 1” and 1/4 screws by the ton and get them from fasenal they even have the self tappers you need for pocket screws.

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18250 posts in 3645 days

#6 posted 03-04-2009 08:39 AM

I’ve run a cagillion sq drive screws in the umteen years. Only way to go, but the drivers do eventually wear out too. As soon as they don’t hold srtaight, throw them away!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 3524 days

#7 posted 03-04-2009 08:49 AM

I use to strip screw heads a lot too and I still do sometimes but I found three things that really improved my screw driving abilities. First is the bit. Make sure you get a quality bit. I use Dewalt bits. When the bit starts slipping while driving the screws, toss it and chuck a new bit. Second is to make sure you use the correct size bits. There are two common sizes for phillips screws so make sure you’re using the correct size. The last thing is to put pressure on the bit while you are turning the screw.

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3960 days

#8 posted 03-04-2009 12:37 PM

I myself prefer square drive. I’ve also seen some new deck screws that use a Torx bit…jury is still out on that one.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3567 days

#9 posted 03-04-2009 12:47 PM

I buy the coated decking screws from HD. These use a combination square/phillips head and each box comes with the bit. I have never had one strip on me and they will last just about as long as SS.

I have tried cheaper versions of these screws and just about every one stripped on me, I took those back and got my $$$ back.

I have purchased SS screws from McFeely’s, but the coated deck screws are readily available at the end of the road, and the total cost is still less than buying 10 lbs from McF and getting them shipped.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3418 days

#10 posted 03-04-2009 01:19 PM

I have been using the screws I can get here at HD….I did have this same problem with the philips head screws what help it for me was a switch in tools…I always use a cordless drill to drive screws…until I got an impact driver…it helped/solved most of my stripped screw head issues….....

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 3731 days

#11 posted 03-04-2009 04:58 PM

Square drives make it sooo much easier, but you can easily drive the suckers so far you can split the wood, so you have to develop a new “feel” for driving them. But you’ll never go back to phillips.

They come in both fine and coarse threads. I like the coarse threads but they are easier to drive too far. Kreg, for instance, recommends fine thread for hardwoods, and coarse for softwood.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3496 days

#12 posted 03-04-2009 05:09 PM

McFreelys has an assortment of srews, mostly leftovers from their shipping department that is on sale right now and its $15 for a mixed 5 lb box and that includes shipping. Just call and tell them you want their special.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View skydog's profile


11 posts in 3595 days

#13 posted 03-04-2009 05:11 PM

I went through the same transition to square drive about a year ago and am quite happy I did. I usually get them from McFeeleys, and now have a large assortment at the ready. It does represent somewhat of an investment, but sure beats running to HD every time you need a new size. Also, there was an article in one of the mags a few months ago (Popular Woodworking?) that showed the performance of the standard McFeelys screw to equal the more expensive Spax…

View stanley2's profile


344 posts in 3765 days

#14 posted 03-04-2009 05:50 PM

Too hard to resist commenting – Canadian P. L. Robertson received his patent for the square headed screw in 1909. Yes, 100 years ago. It is so far superior to the slot or the Philips headed screws it is amazing to me that it has not been universally adopted as the primary screw. Our son lives in Dallas and when we were doing some home improvements we had to rely on HD for these screws since they were not readily available in local hardware stores. You can easily drive a 3 inch deck screw or a #5 – 1/2” hinge screw w/o slipping and marring the work area.

-- Phil in British Columbia

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3927 days

#15 posted 03-04-2009 08:46 PM

Square drive, or Robertson screws are the only way to go. They allow more driving force with less rotational torque effects forcing the drive bit out of the screw head. I got turned on to them working at a cabinet shop (thats all we used). We bought them in huge quantities ,and they also had a special “drill” tip and countersink ribs under the screw head, but I found that if you used a countersink bit then the ribs would dig the screw in deeper than you wanted it to go. So when I buy them for myself I buy the ones without the countersink helpers…they tend to tighten better when assembling things like casework.


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