It’s easy to be confused. Screws are undoubtedly the most versatile fasteners used in woodworking, but there are a lot of choices. Wood screws are handy for quickly building jigs and clamping forms, joining cabinet and furniture parts, mounting hardware and trim, and much more. Screws form strong connections between parts made from solid wood, plywood and other sheet goods without the need for cut joinery. From heads to drives, points to threads, platings to coatings, our author gives you a thorough education in the options available in the world of modern screws. or adhesives (and unlike glued joints, screws are removable, so you can take apart whatever you’ve built). Screws are also good for reinforcing parts assembled with traditional joinery — for example, pinning tenons in their mortises.
Choosing the right wood screw used to be simple pick a zinc or brass screw with the right size and length for the job at hand. But technological developments in construction and wood products manufacturing have spawned an extensive range of new screws in recent decades. There are so many choices, it’ll positively make your head spin!
Metal screws vs. wood screws for DIY projects
While they are alike in function and utility, wood and metal screws feature different properties that distinguish them for their specific roles.
Uses of metal screws
Metal screws differ from wood screws in their design and specific function, featuring design elements geared toward fastening metal-based materials and hard plastics. These are self-tapping screws typically used to secure sheet metal to metal, plastic, fiberglass, wood, or other materials.
Few metal materials are pre-drilled with holes, so it is sometimes necessary to use screws that can create their own pilot holes for maximum efficiency. Self-tapping metal fasteners can pierce thin metals with ease by cutting their own threads and provide a firm hold. Metal screws are designed to withstand the stress of holding together heavy metal pieces for an extended period.
A metal screw is fully threaded to maximize grip and fully secure the two connecting pieces. You can use metal screws any time you are connecting any material to a metal base, be it plastic, fiberglass, or wood, as these are the most versatile screws. They can also be used to attach hinges, hasps, brackets, and other types of hardware.
Uses of wood screws
Wood screws are similar to metal screws in some ways, but their differences allow them to serve a specific purpose. As the name would suggest, wood screws are best for fastening materials like plywood, lumber, or other types of wood. A few key design features make wood screws ideal when working with these softer materials, but they can also be used to attach hardware to wood as long as a pilot hole is drilled to accommodate the unthreaded portion of the screw.
As wood fasteners go, they are excellent for use in many different applications as they are designed for flexibility. Wood screws have a sharp point that can dig into wood, making them highly useful for woodworking applications. Most wood screws are only partially threaded, which allows you to connect two pieces of wood more securely with minimal damage to the attached wooden piece. Wood screws are few and far apart to minimize damage and prevent cracking. However, these screws are explicitly used for attaching materials to wood; they might not have enough tensile strength for particularly cumbersome loads.
In short, if you are attempting to attach sheet metal, you should choose metal screws. They are easier to drive into metal and will offer a greater level of strength and security. On the other hand, wood screws are better suited for applications involving plywood, lumber, and other wood materials. Metal screws are ideal for self-tapping, whereas, in wooden screws, self-tapping is not possible. These fasteners are typically used in outdoor building structures such as decks and fences.
What To Look Before Buying Woodworking Screws?
If you haven’t used wooden screws before then it would be difficult for you to differentiate between good quality and bad quality screws. This is because you had only used the conventional nails that remained part of woodworking for years and looks the same as well.
However, if this is the first time you are going to buy woodworking screws, then we are going to make it easy for you and help you buy the best screws for woodworking.
One of the important considerations that everyone must look for when buying wooden screws is to check what type of material used in the manufacturing of the product.
Screws made of stainless steel and carrying zinc coating are naturally carried high quality and prove to be more durable than other forms of steel. Screws made of stainless steel are one of the strongest screws available on the market. They are suitable to be used in outdoor works and durable enough for lasting use.
Size of Screws
The right size of screws always matters when it comes to finishing and creating strong wooden joints. You should use adequate sized screws in the woodworking elements to get the desired shape of the product. So you need to consider the length and diameter of the screw before ordering one for yourself.
This is the most important factor you need to consider when buying a screw for woodworking. It consists of two factors i.e. Drive Type and Head Shape. The most common drive types include flathead screw, Phillips screw, drive, and square drive. You can choose between different types of drives depending on their use.
Similarly, there is a variety of Head Shapes and most common of head shapes include flathead and a round head. Both flathead and round head screws either take all drives for drilling or allow and prevent splitting in most of the jobs.
Each screw carries a different type of thread that offers different use and construction. Like you will find coarse threaded screws and fine threaded screws. Both are different in shapes and construction making them suitable for drywall and plywood.
Coarse threaded screws are easy to drill and take less time to remove the screws. On the other hand, the fine threaded screws take a longer time to fit in, work with pre-tapped holes and nuts are required to fix the screws.
There are different types of threaded screws like serrated threads, twin thread, and dual thread. These thread types help in reducing the splitting of screws and give quick fastening.
The shank makes an important consideration when buying woodworking screws. It carries threads, varies in size and thickness which is measured in numbers. The higher the thickness of the shank, the better it can perform. you can choose the right thickness according to your use.
Our Top Picks
You could spend hours comparing different screw types and lengths. This list compiles the best wood screws for your consideration based on popular uses of commonly available types.
If you’re looking for a good all-purpose wood screw to keep on hand, consider the #8 x 1-¼” Silver Star Stainless Steel Wood Screw. It is made of 305 stainless steel, which is rated for use with pressure-treated lumber. Suitable for indoor and outdoor applications, it’s made to endure harsh weather, high moisture, and coastal areas. The T20 Torx head connects securely to the driver, almost eliminating cam-out—the process of the driver slipping off the screw while you’re working which can lead to damaging the screw or screwdriver. Self-countersinking nibs and a knurled shoulder make for easier, cleaner installation. This screw is available in three lengths: 1-¼, 1-½, and 2 inches.
For exterior construction projects, the FastenMaster FMGD003-75 GuardDog Exterior Wood Screw is an excellent choice. It is a multipurpose exterior wood screw for use with treated wood such as pressure-treated ACQ, cedar, and redwood. The versatile head style can be installed with a #2 square driver, Phillips driver bit, or PoziSquare driver bit (included in every box). The sharp threads quickly engage and penetrate lumber for quick and easy installation. Available in five lengths of 1-⅝, 2, 2-½, 3, and 3-½ inches.
Phillips head screws were invented in the 1930s as the first upgrade over slotted screws. They are still widely used in both manual-driven and power tool-driven applications. Bolt Dropper #8 x 1-½” Stainless Phillips Wood Screws are made of corrosion- and rust-resistant 304 stainless steel for excellent durability outdoors, in wet environments, and in pressure-treated lumber. A deep-cut Phillips head drive helps prevent stripping out the head. Deep, coarse threads increase gripping power, especially in softwoods. These screws have a fully threaded shank that will not overtighten, protecting delicate connections from damage.
Screws have always been the highlight of GRK’s product range. Their wide variety of screws has proved to be both functional and durable for users. This particular screw model of R4 has been on the top of popularity charts ever since its release.
First of all, they don’t look cheap in any way. They come with either a shining silver shade or a lustrous golden tone that will not undermine the appeal of your plywood structure, rather enhance it!
One pack will get you 100 of them at a time, which should last long enough to complete your project. But if you do need more, they also come in groups of three packs giving you plenty to work with.
These screws are designed to make your work faster and therefore giving you the advantage of improved productivity. Impress your clients and colleagues with its fast bite tip which removes the need for pre-drilling. You can get a faster start for single-step installations this way.
The Hillman Group has been developing fasteners since 1964. With experiences in this industry spread over more than half a century, Hillman has plenty to offer for the people looking for home improvements. Its ProCrafter model of screws is one of their offerings to make woodworks a little easier for you.
This screw brings in premium quality which is ensured through the unique features laid out upon it.
First of all, you don’t have to pre-drill it for a smooth drive into the plywood. Its sharp end can make itself go through the wood. Besides, the countersinking nibs placed on it allows each drive to be clean and effortless.
You don’t have to worry about splitting the block of plywood while using these screws. Type 17 cut-point can prevent such occurrences while allowing smooth and quick penetration.
Their size is small enough to keep the wood intact and strong enough to hold everything together. It manages to bring the best of both worlds for you!
When we hear stainless steel, we immediately look at its durability. These nifty short screws are super resistant to any sort of corrosion. In other words, once you drill, you don’t need to think about it again.
This is a product we can get behind without breaking a sweat, as the quality of steel assures us significantly. Not to mention, it is also resistant to rust alongside corrosion.
Meaning, you can use it on both outdoor and indoor wood. It is also weather-resistant, hence, great for outdoor items that deal with rain, snow, and heat.
The thread starts from the tip and goes up till the head. Although, not a self-drilling tool, this goes in with ease into the clearance holes. Furthermore, the full-body threads hold the pieces together firmly. Hence we can say, these fasteners are ideal for hardwoods.
This reliable black wood screw is primarily originated from the United States. They are made of black oxide and wax. This is a Truss Headed Wood Screw of 8×1/2 inches.
The head point of this screw product is quite sharp. The threads and slots are amazingly clean and deep. The waxing feature of this screw allows easy driving. They can quickly drive into stainless steel materials with strong holding power.
If you are looking for repairing your small furniture, then this will be a great choice. These black screws have a fine smooth finish that makes the material look good. For example, you can fix your railings or racks or curtain rods with this piece of item.
This item weighs about 2.88 ounces and is well known for its sturdiness. For small projects, they are sized correctly. Smaller in size, but these screws remain secure for a long time. They are packed in the 50s.