If you visit the screw section of a store, you’ll be overwhelmed by the different types of screw you’ll find. There are several types of screw available for different kinds of job, but I’ll only list the most common ones used for woodworking projects.
Standard Wood Screws
All hardware stores have standard wood screws in stock. These screws are used in joining pieces of wood together. Greater part of the shank to the tip of the screw is threaded, while a little portion of the shank close to the top is smooth, so that the screw is held in place.
They come in different head shapes and sizes, and are inexpensive. Most wood screws doesn’t have the square or star head, they only come with the Phillips head.
Drywall screws can be used for jigs and shop projects. They’re easily found and are cheaper than the standard wood screws.
The shank is thin and fully threaded. Due to the thinness of the shank, sapping occurs when drilling into a 2×4 wood or hardwood. They have the Phillips head and a bugle head shape, to minimize paper tearing on drywalls. They cannot be used with a countersink bit due to shape mismatch, and because of this, I personally do not recommend these screws for use on woodworking projects.
These multi-purpose screws has different brands to include GRK or Spax. They’ve a very strong body made with reinforced steel, and are not liable to break. With this screw, you don’t need to drill a pilot hole, because of its self-drilling tip, but to avoid splitting towards the end of the wood, I always pre-drill pilot holes mostly for critical boards.
They’ve square and star drives which are convenient, to prevent the driver from slipping out. Although, they are quite expensive, about twice as much as the other types, but they are worth it, because they save enough frustration and time. Try out this Spax or multi-purpose screw today and you’ll be glad you did.
Deck screws are resistant to corrosion, made of reinforced steel, and used for constructing outdoor projects.
Stainless Steel Screw
These screws can resist a high corrosion-prone environment such as salty water. They are used in boats but are not strong compared to deck screws. Stainless steel screws are also very expensive.
They have a pointed tip, wide head, and are self-drilling. Using a standard wood screw with a drilling pocket hole may cause the work piece to split. To avoid this, I prefer using the Kreg pocket screws, although you can substitute it with the pan head screw. The square drives of the Kreg pocket screws makes them sit easily.
These screws are without pointed tips and are used in already made holes. They are fully threaded and are used with a nut, but ensure that it’s thread matches with the nuts thread when you make purchase.
Machine screws can be used to fasten boards together, but they are not commonly used in woodworking.
Sheet Metal Screw
Sheet metal screws can pierce into sheet metals with their pointed tip. They are tiny, with pan heads and may substitute a wood screw due to their similarity.
Screws To Use For Woodworking Projects
Listed below are the best screws used by woodworkers.
- #8 1-1/4″ star head screws. These screws are the most commonly used screws in a workshop. I always ensure that they are available at all times.
- Multi-purpose or production screws such as GRK, Spax, or Hillman are recommended.
- Flathead screws with tapered heads used for countersinking.
- Star or square drives are better and they save time and frustration.
Parts of a Screw
Four components make up a screw.
- The Head
- The Shank
- The Thread
- The Tip.
A screw head consist of two components which are: the head shape and the type of drive. There are varieties of drives available in stores, but as a woodworker, you only need to know and use a few of them which are: Slotted or Flathead screws, Phillips screws, Square (Robertson) drives, and Star (Torc) drives.
Different types of head shape are also available, but only two are commonly used in woodworking. They are: Flatheads and Pan head.
The Shank and Thread
Some screws are partly threaded while others are fully threaded, and the thread is wrapped round the shank to enable it drive into any material easily. There are different diameters of thread and shank indicated by numbers. The ones commonly used in woodworking are numbers 10, 8, 6, and the thickness increases as the number increases.
Screw threads are either fine threads used for hardwoods or coarse threads suitable for plywood and softwood. Sometimes, threads are displayed in per inch as 24tpi or 32tpi, where tpi is thread per inch.
This helps in reading box of screws, as the first number is the diameter of the screw, followed by the threads per inch, and the screw length.
Pointed tip screws are used for woodworking projects to control the screw to its position. Split point is embedded on self-drilling screws, and this gives it the ability to do the work of a drill bit by cutting into any work piece or wood.