Where To Buy Wood Screws
Both Robertson and TORX drives have two qualities that make them a great choice for woodworkers who use power drivers: stick fit and resistance to cam out. Stick fit is the ability of the driver bit and drive recess to form a temporary connection. Once you set a square or star drive screw on the tip of a drive bit, you can drive it without having to hold onto the screw. This not only frees up your extra hand, but it allows you to drive screws into all kinds of hard-to-reach places. TORX and Robertson drives both feature deep recesses into which the head of the driver fits snugly. The recess has near-vertical sidewalls, which means very little need for down pressure on the driver to keep it engaged. This not only significantly reduces the chance of cam out, but also reduces driver wear and damage.
where to buy wood screws
Two other screw drive styles are worth mentioning: Pozisquare and Outlaw drive. Pozisquare (aka combo drive) is a hybrid that combines a #2 Phillips and a #2 square drive in a single screw head recess. You can use either a Phillips or Robertson bit to drive them, but a special Pozisquare (combo) bit gives you better stick fit and cam out resistance. The new kid on the block, Outlaw Fasteners, raised more than $100k via Kickstarter and created their own line of unique deck screws. A three-tiered hexagonal head recess offers 18 points of contact for a super stick fit with virtually no cam out. In lieu of using their special driver, Outlaw screws can be driven with a regular hex driver.
Hi-Lo thread (Rockler Hi-lo screws; Kreg Hi-lo pocket-hole screws): A dualthread screw with a coarser, sharper outer thread and a finer inner thread. Creates a multipurpose screw that offers good holding power and less strip-out in all woods and sheet goods.
Reverse thread section (Starborn Cap-Tor xd deck screws): A section of reversed thread just under the head of the deck screw helps prevent dimpling and mushrooming (raised area around the screw head). A similar reverse thread on SPAX stainless steel wood deck screws helps prevent the screw from backing out as the lumber dries out.
Euro screw thread: Melamine, particleboard, and MDF are notorious for their poor holding power when joined with regular screws. In the 1970s, German hardware manufacturer Hafele introduced Confirmat oversized screws specifically for building ready-toassemble Euro-style furniture and cabinets. Confirmat (or similar Firmit) fasteners act like threaded steel dowels, forming a strong, stiff butt joint between parts.
In the final step of manufacturing, most steel wood screws receive some kind of plating (a metallurgical process done to bare metal screws) or coating (applied to either bare metal screws or already-plated screws). Screws are plated and/or coated for three reasons.
Galvanizing processes, e.g., electroplating and hot dipping, have traditionally provided screws with the best protection against rust, but modern deck and construction screws are also available with high-tech coatings or plating/coating combinations for outdoor environments:
The better the surface lubricity of a screw, the easier it is to drive and the less power it takes to drive it in. Slippery screws are also less likely to cam out, break or get stuck when they encounter knots or dense grain.
Wood screws are thread forming screws that have a gimlet point, and a sharp crested, coarse pitch thread. They create tight joints and can still be removed easily. They can be produced in two different ways: cut thread screws have a tapered shank while rolled thread screws have a constant shank diameter.
Oval Head: An oval head wood screw has a countersunk head with a rounded top surface and a cone-shaped bearing surface of approximately 82 degrees. It is preferred over a flat head screw in conical applications, or when a more decorative finished look is wanted.
Brass wood screws are often used for their color appearance, moderate corrosion resistance, and because they can conduct electricity. However, they are not high in strength and nonmagnetic.
Stainless steel wood screws provide excellent protection against corrosion and rust, and can be used with ACQ treated wood. Stainless screws are the most preferred for prolong outdoor use.
Structural screws are a strong and efficient type of construction screw and convenient alternative to traditional lag screws. You can install them without needing to drill a pilot hole, saving you precious time on the job site.
SD and SDS Connector Screws are specifically designed to replace nails in certain applications. They are load-rated, with load values typically exceeding 10d or 16d common nails. The SD screws are available in a galvanized coating. The SDS screws are made of 316 stainless steel making them ideal for interior and exterior applications.
Hex Head Structural Screws are a great choice if a hex-head drive is preferred. These construction screws are available in a variety of options so you can be sure to find the one that meets your needs.
Screws are also used to hold things together where expansion and contraction of the wood can be an issue. A common use is to attach a tabletop to a base. The screws will be set into a slot, allowing the wood to move as humidity changes.
There is no agreement on this, but personally, I view a bolt as a fastener that goes all the way through two material with a nut attached, while a screw pulls two pieces together and only the head of the fastener is visible. But I can think of plenty of exceptions such a machine screws.
Screws used in woodworking will have a pointed tip to help guide the screw into a precise location. Self-drilling screws have a split point that cuts into the wood like a drill bit. Other screws, such as machine screws have no point.
The treads of a screw wrap around the shank. Together, this is the part that drives into the material. The threaded part of some screws stops before it gets to the head, while other screws are fully threaded.
Shanks and threads come in different sizes. The diameter is indicated by a number. The most common wood screws are number 6, 8, and 10, the larger the number the bigger the thickness. I almost always use #8 diameter screws. Longer screws are usually #10s.
In the U.S. threads are sometimes indicated in threads per inch, usually 24 or 32 tpi. These are important to know with machine screws or bolts where you need to get a nut to match. Sometimes wood screws come in coarse or fine threads. Use fine threads for hardwoods and coarse threads for softwoods and plywood.
Square drives are a huge improvement! They are also called Robertson screws and are most common in Canada. They are definitely harder to find in the U.S. Their square shape greatly reduces, almost eliminating cam-out and driver slipping. Here in the U.S. you will mostly find these in pocket screws.
You can just power the screw into the wood to make it flush, but you will get better and cleaner results if you use a countersink bit to drill a pilot hole, or use a countersink to cut the bevels after you drill a pilot hole.
Wood screws are widely available in all home centers and hardware stores and are designed to join two pieces of wood together. They are threaded part of the way and then have a smooth shank at the top. This helps hold the screws in place. They are relatively inexpensive and come an all kinds of diameters and head shapes. You will usually want to use the ones with the tapered heads. Unfortunately, in the U.S., most woodscrews are still only available with Phillips heads instead of star or square drives.
For even better corrosion resistance, especially on boats and in salty marine environments, you can use stainless steel screws. While they offer the best protection from the weather, they are not as strong as deck screws and are very expensive.
Pocket screws are self drilling and have a wide head that grabs the flat shoulder made by drilling pocket holes. If you use regular wood screws with pocket holes, they may drive all the way through, or possibly split the wood. I use the Kreg pocket screws, but you might be able to substitute pan head screws. The Kreg screws have a square drive which makes them really easy to seat. Watch my pocket hole basics video to learn a lot more about pocket hole joinery.
Usually, sheet metal screws are tiny with a sharp point intended for piercing and driving into sheet metal. Think of heating ducts for instance. They usually have pan heads and will probably work as a wood screw if you need a substitute.
Chris Baylor is a woodworking expert and writer with over a decade of hands-on commercial carpentry experience. He has studied under master carpenters and also designs wooden tools and furniture, sharing tutorials on websites including Woodworkers Workshop and Homemade Tools.
SAMMYS Vertical Rod Mount anchors feature an internal machine thread to facilitate threaded rod and bolt connections and an external thread for attaching to wood structures. These anchors are quick to install using the Sammy Nut Driver with an 18V cordless drill and save time compared to traditional methods resulting in a lower installation cost.
Happy -- 06/17/2017 I placed very small order from Bear Woods. My order included hard to find small screws #3 x 1/4". The screws are of good quality and the service from Bear Woods, even with a small order was exceptional. Thank you Bear Woods.-- By Thomas Gardner
Happy Customer! -- 08/15/2013 I use a lot of these tiny screws in my work, and am glad to have a source for a quality product. Thank you! These are not prone to breakage as I've found with solid brass screws, plus they can easily be held at the tip of a magnetized screwdriver! Double plus!-- By Michael Baker 041b061a72