The small stuff can be the most frustrating part of your woodworking shop. One little screw can sometimes be the demise of an afternoon, an all-day project, or a full-blown brain-boiling nuisance. Remember these tips to optimize your woodworking screw and minimize your frustrations with these stubborn parts.
Getting Screws into Hard Wood:
It’s common for a craftsmen to strip, or even break off the head of a screw when attempting to force it through hard wood. The easiest way to tackle the “screw into hard wood” debacle is to remember just two simple tips.
— Before attempting to screw into hard woods try pre-drilling whats called a “pilot hole.” This should allow a much easier entry point – a little pocket, if you will – for the screw. In the hardest woods your pilot hole should measure about ½ the diameter of your screw – in softer woods your pilot hole should be about ¼ the diameter of your screw.
— If the pilot hole doesn’t seem to be enough to entice the screw through, try rubbing a bit of paraffin wax or moist bar soap along the screws threads. This technique is especially helpful with the softer metal screws like brass or aluminum.
— When lubing a screw, however, never use grease or oil! These may leach into, and stain the wood.
Keeping Screws Tight:
Because screws are so much harder than the wood their setting in, it doesn’t take too much friction or vibration the joggle them out of place. It is easy to assume that pulling a loose screw and replacing it with a larger one is the best solution – however, that bigger screw is just as likely to work free from the wood as it predecessor. Before resorting to fatter screws try re-securing the current screw: insert one (or a few, depending) lightly glued toothpick pieces(s) into the screw hole. The tooth picks should provide the support to keep your screw tight. In worse cases, try re-drilling the initial hole and tapping in a glued dowel. Drill a new pilot hole into the dowel and re-screw. The dowel should reinforce the strength and tightness of the first screw.
Removing Stuck Screws:
Frozen screws are the result of accumulated rust and corrosion around the screw’s body. To release the screw, you must break it away from the adhesions that bind it. In brief, there are five surefire ways to get your frozen screws loose:
1.) Chemical removal: Let a chemical like Coke, Pepsi, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, etc. soak into the screw hole. Sometimes tapping the screw as you apply chemical solution allows for deeper penetration and easier extraction. Let chemical sit, and try to turn/release screw.
2.) With Force/Impact: Make certain you have the right size screwdriver. If you can move the screw at all, try to tighten it. This will break the screw free and you should then be able to reverse the screw out. If the screw’s head is sticking up, grab it with a pair of vice grips or pliers and turn it loose that way. If the screw’s head is not elevated, put your screwdriver in the screw’s head sockets, lock onto the screwdriver shaft with your vice grips, and while pressing down on the screwdriver, try turning the vice grips. The extra leverage may be enough to loosen the screw. Lightly tapping your screwdriver with a hammer while it is inserted into the screws head may also release it. wire connector types