Screws in joinery

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Forum topic by Kazzaniga posted 01-20-2015 06:43 PM 1142 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1221 days

01-20-2015 06:43 PM

Good evening, I’m a beginner in woodworking and I’m from Italy so I hope you can forgive my English. I have just really started “studying” something about woodworking even if I have always enjoyed working with wood. I used to make small pieces of furniture and I only used screws to create a joint but reading some books and informations about woodworking joinery I’ve just found out there are not many informations about screws and almost all the joints use only the wood (mortise and tenon, dovetails and so on) in these works. So I’m wondering, is it just because an aesthetic reason and to make the work more precious or maybe it’s also because this kind of joints (only wood) make the whole structure stronger and more easy to hold a weight?

7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10390 posts in 3646 days

#1 posted 01-20-2015 06:47 PM

Screws work great in a lot of situations. However prior to
the 20th century they were not very available so other
methods were used.

Some specific joinery should be done with traditional joinery,
particularly chairs, but for most work screws and other
modern methods can simplify joinery.

Of course traditional joinery is worthwhile to learn and
makes it woodworking more enjoyable f you can use
old-school joinery when you want to or when the
aesthetic or structure of the piece demands it.

View waho6o9's profile


8190 posts in 2575 days

#2 posted 01-20-2015 07:06 PM

Welcome to Lumber Jocks Kazzaniga!

Enjoy the journey, it’s going to be a great one.

View benchbuilder's profile


284 posts in 2448 days

#3 posted 01-20-2015 08:46 PM

Hey kazz, its nice that you have come into the world of woodworking. It will lead you down many enjoyable roads. As for using screws, they have their place and time, but to use a joint that makes a project stand out as well as being stronger is very self satisfying. You can say its as strong as the wood and not a screw in it anywhere.. Reading, watching and listening all leads to learning. You will learn a lot here as there are many knowlegeable people here to learn from.. So, When in dought, ask!!!
Welcome to lumberjocks

View OSU55's profile


1670 posts in 1987 days

#4 posted 01-20-2015 09:31 PM

Welcome! There are many ways to make wood joints, and screws have their place, as do other types of joinery. While you will get a lot of opinions here, I would suggest researching wood joinery types and reasons. The type of joinery you may end up using depends a great deal on what you plan to build (shop carts/benches/cabinets, outdoor furniture, home furniture, etc) and what your goals are. While some joinery types were required years ago with no glue, no pre made dowels, no screws, etc., they are not required with todays abundance of high strength glues, screws, dowels, dominoes, machines, and methods. Some want to practice the methods of old and put more craftsmanship into a piece, others want a nice piece fast. The decision is yours.

As for screws, lookup Kreg and their pocket screw joinery.

View handsawgeek's profile


645 posts in 1393 days

#5 posted 01-20-2015 09:46 PM

Hi Kazzaniga,
First off welcome to LJs.

As a general rule of thumb, I use screw and glue joinery in nearly all of the shop furniture and fixtures that I build, because these things don’t need to be overly pretty as much as being strong and functional.
For finer furniture, accent pieces, and toys screws are rarely used in favor of more traditional joinery.
A lot of it depends on what type of projects you like to build and your skill level (both comfort and technical).

Try Googling”Screws For Woodworking” and you will find a wealth of information on what types of screws are best for any woodworking application.

-- Ed

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4135 posts in 2307 days

#6 posted 01-22-2015 08:04 PM

Sam Maloof used screws in his 25-50 thousand dollar rocking chairs and other things. There’s a right palace and wrong place for most everything.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3740 days

#7 posted 01-22-2015 10:23 PM

Screws are popular and work well.
You might look at some of the websites featuring “Kreg Pocket Hole Screws”

Historically nails and screws were VERY expensive. Quality and quantity was difficult, and so having a 18th and 19th century blacksmith make a box of 100 screws or uniform size…. led many to focus on glues, and “captured” joints like dovetails and the like.

So in the old times, it was simple to have furniture using only hand tools, and held together with glue, and occasionally some kind of nails in different locations. Screws were for attaching hinges.

Ignore those that say screws isn’t “real woodworking” it is just modern not Wrong.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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