What kind of screw should I use? Woodworking Basics

Get my curated list of affordable woodworking tools. Never overspend on tools again► Why use screws instead of nails or glue? What types of screws should you keep around your shop? While I prefer glue for most projects, there are certain scenarios where a screw is necessary in woodworking. Here are the basics. Full article here: /> More BASICS videos► />INSTAGRAM► />WWMM T-SHIRTS► />FACEBOOK► />TOOLS I RECOMMEND► />_ Music: "Princess Meow-Meow's Theme" and all the cool music on WWMM is created by Per Almered. ----AWESOME! ---------------- MAILING ADDRESS: WWMM 448 Ignacio Blvd. #237 Novato CA 94949 ---------------- Woodworking for Mere Mortals® is a registered trademark of ZRAM Media, LLC.

Michael Richardson
Steve I have been recovering from total knee replacement surgery and am now 6 weeks out and recovering nicely. During these past 6 weeks I made some life changing decisions regarding how I wanted to spend my retirement. At 72, I have a few more productive years left before I decide to turn my law practice over to my son. But not being able to predict the future, I wanted to start now to develop my skills as a woodworker so that I can fill my retired days doing something useful. During my recovery I found sleeping to be almost impossible at times and have often pulled out my iPad and watched woodworking videos. Yours are some of the most enjoyable ones I have found. You manage to convey necessary skills in a way that is both entertaining and insightful. There may be more skilled woodworkers out there, more elaborate shops, better equipment, and so forth but few channels convey the warmth, humor, and I think, the general caring about the craft as does yours. Keep up the great work. It may not bring about world peace but you may bring about some inner peace among us mere mortals. Yes I have enrolled in your weekend woodworker course and look forward to the day I can get back in my shop and stand on two good legs. Thanks again.
Daniel Console
I watched the whole thing expecting MICROJIG, MAKER OF THE GRIPPER to pop at me like some sort of ptsd
Slot head screws need to be illegal!
Steve the Pirate
What's the difference between a screw, a bolt, and a nail? Well, let's see... I've never been bolted
DIY Montreal
wow, I'm shocked at how quickly you flew past square drive screws! I was sure that's what the whole speech was leading up to. lol, guess that's cause I'm from Canada. You're right, we swear by square heads here!
Anthony Wright
There is a self adjusting screw driver,fits all screw heads. A big ammer 😂
Silverback Gorrilla
You're just so funny and charismatic and the videos are highly informative. Instant subscribe.
Johnnyy 69
Where is my totally unexpected Microjig introduction? :_(
Dadgum it
It's a bolt! No, it's a screw! No, it's a--- microjig maker of the GRRRiper
Eric Singleton
Glad to see you! You've been missed! Great info!
Stephan Pöhnlein
Nails are stronger than you think. This can be confirmed by anyone who has ever taken a pallet apart.
David Tingley
FYI, the reason that Robertson socket-head screws (which is what Peter Robertson, the inventor, called them) aren't as widely available in the USA as they are in places like New Zealand and Australia: Robertson's invention was patented in Canada in 1909, well before the Philips screw. Robertson insisted on maintaining an exclusive patent on his invention. He wanted to make a lot of money making them, and have control over the quality of every screw and driver. The US military took a very close look at this invention, which at the time it came out was orders of magnitude better than the only competition; slot head screws. There were no Philips, Torx or star screws at that time. The American military brass loved the Robertson system, BUT.. ..the rub was that there was a procurement regulation in place that they couldn't accept any basic equipment that wasn't either available from a 'secure' American source, or from at least two sources. This makes a LOT of sense. You don't want to make a bunch of equipment and then find that you can't maintain it because the source dries up or refuses to sell you the parts you need. In retrospect, I think that Robertson was extremely short-sighted not to license his invention to an American manufacturer, and just collect the royalties. And I'm saying that as a Canadian who absolutely loves them. When I buy American goods that come with Philips-head screws supplied, I often head directly to the hardware store to see if I can replace them with square-head screws. They're invaluable on jobs where you have to drive a lot of screws upward into wood, as I did most recently a few years ago replacing soffits around my house. You put the screw on the end of the driver, and it stays there. Then you just screw it in, as easy as pie.
Thanks. ... I just graduated screw U. Meant to be a joke not mean. Your videos are great.
Porkchop Sandwiches
Been using star/torx exclusively for years now... never looking back
jeffrey price
What about pozidrive, cheers from uk. You can tell a pozidrive screw by the lines it has in between the cross on the head of the screw.
Jordan Wright
Awe man no cheesy micro jig spot...
Art T.
Yes! More basics videos! Your the ONLY knowledgeable person on YouTube who makes them with amazing quality editing/content. I think we can all agree. Well except the trolls of course. But anyway, I’m getting started in all this woodworking and made your BMW. I love it & use it all the time. But these basics videos is what helps me not waste money buying inferior or incorrect sundries and tools. Thanks Steve!
Duct tape master race.
I use drywall screws in everything from Plywood into 2x12 it works ok Probably not the correct way but hey it works
Guillaume Ohz
Thank you, for a pure newbie this is very very very helpfull
Pete Miller
3 Best things about CANADA : 1) Hockey 2) Tim Hortons 3) Robertson Screws!!!! Superior to our American counterpart...the Phillips screw.
Scott Nelson
No, we argue about BOLTS! ;-)
Rubix 1976
Bolts are what Mr Frankenstein had through his neck, there solved. 😆
Doug Marshall
Recently found your channel and I have been binging your content. Truly great content, and for a novice woodworker with no mentor or peers to work with- you've been an invaluable asset. Do you have a patreon? You've given me so great advice, so I picked up some spax 1 1/4" star head multipurpose screws today. I can't wait to use them as I continue working on my french cleat system. If you are even in the KC area, I totally owe you a beer. Thank you!
Hugatry's HackVlog
Very detailed and thorough video! When it comes to screws, I've had two life changing discoveries. First one was finding out that some "Phillips screws" aren't actually Phillips screws, but Pozidriv instead. Using Pozidriv (PZ) bits for Pozidriv screws and Phillips (PH) bits for Phillips screws helps a lot. Seconds one was the Torx screw. Oh boy! I don't remember what I was making, but I do remember the feeling when I noticed how great Torx screws are!
Cuse me while I chuck my microjig into the trash
Hello. I'm starting in the woodworking and my first project will be a dining table. Wish me luck.
Thanks for the info , I love watching things being explained by people that actually use the thing their talking about Torx drive are very good , they use them on cars a lot
Mark Broadway [WMS]
Machine screws have not point?!?! really? what about for holding machines together..... (J/k, lol)
LOST ALL credibility when i saw ryobi LOL!
Bear Thompson
First one of your vids I’ve seen. One of the best instructional videos I’ve seen on ANY subject! Focused (ie, on topic), thorough for the intended audience, efficiently presented without seeming rushed, and very relatable for this woodworking novice. I always thought camming out when driving Phillips screws was due to my own inexperience and have been very frustrated with ruined heads and driver tips. I also definitely relate to and appreciated your comment re: big box hardware chains. Locally, we have lost a smaller community store and will soon have a Home Depot and Lowe’s right next to each other! Thanks for a great vid!
Daniel Jacobsen
I Thought this was one of YOUR BEST VIDEOS!!! I am a decent woodworker (hobby) and I learned a lot, Thank you.
Bret .Maverick
At work pretty much all we use is square drives. I can't stand star screws.
In Canada all you find is Robertson screws. Never seen star hear rarely Philips.
Appple the fruit
Dude, this piece was amazing. Loved every bit of it. Kudos.. :D
I hate dolphins
T25 star for construction, square for woodcrafting. All day errday.
Edgar Araujo
Hey dude....thanks for the screw up job on screws... 😁😉👍🏁 Very very helpful insight, Did learn alot on how to screw up a job😁👍😉🏁 I also use#8 but since i didn't find any #8 i used #7 and they did hold up to the workpiece. Thanks again may God Christ Bless you.
Ian Atkinson
Is pozidrive (PZ rather than PH) not common in the States? In the UK these are the most common screws I think, they engage a lot better than the traditional Phillips screws. You don't see so many torx screws here though I'm sure you can get them, we sometimes use them at work with the little pole in the middle of the head which are described as security screws. One thing I've never really understood is how some screws you need to drill a hole to avoid splitting the wood and others are advertised as not needing a pilot hole and you can drive them straight in with no splitting. They must both push the wood apart a bit when they go in and no material comes out of the hole?
Brendan Smith
Torx screws FTW! My favorite type of drive! No more stripping out!
As a machine screws myself, this video is hurtful to me. "Machine screws have no points." Oh wait... He said points not point. My bad, as a machine screws, I'm a little dull. Carry on
Abu Aniha
Thank you so much for your time and efforts making these videos for the ordinary folks, I am just starting out in DIYs , just subscribed, Bless, take care
Stevie Cator
Informative. Thanks
When I do drywall/Sheetrock, I only use Robertson/square head screws.... Switched from Phillips long ago & boy has it made my life easier & lot faster.
Black Opal
Cool vid tx. Idk anymore than you, but I'd say it is very likely that phillips are designed to avoid over-tightening or driving right through material. Makes a lot of sense, that's why drywall screws are always phillips, cz it' so easy to go through and your always on the edge. I just did a drywall job, they drive so nice and stop themselves in the perfect spot and it's because the phillips pops out when it hits that friction increase. It would be a simple calculation of the angle of the slot. Pretty neat Also, I always thought the difference between a bolt and a screw was the threads. A bolt, you can put a nut on and fits properly, screws you cannot put a nut on. I know you said there is no agreement but that's because ppl are mostly convinced of the rightness of their opinion and on this question, nobody really knows for sure, lol.... except me, cz I'm right..haha Peace
Terry Wong
Thank you, I always find your videos very informative. You get down to the basics without the fancy tools. Some videos have such industrial tools you wonder where the average person have such tools and the large facilities. I'm sure they must do this for a living. Enlightenment is always welcomed.
I really like this series of videos (which glue, wood finishing, screws). They are really handy for a novice like me. Thanks man for sharing this tips.
Steve, what camera do you use? Your cinamatography and lighting looks great
I'm always screwing up :-)
Donna gunn
Thank you for educating us. For those of us just learning it helps. I'm glad I found this one.
Jake Mauger
Eastern US here. The go-to general construction screw around here is the epoxy coated square drive. I always keep 1 5/8" and 2 1/2" on hand.
You didn’t mention the Frearson drive/head, which is the bain of the cruciform drive world. Cruciform drives deserve a topic all on their own, as there are many patented variants and purposes. The biggest causes of cam-out, and consequent chewing of screws and drivers, are: 1. Wrong choice of driver; 2. Poor quality driver; 3. Poor quality screw. Almost everyone has a Frearson driver without realising it. It has a pointed tip that will work with many, but not all, Phillips heads, but not with PZ heads. With a Frearson head, a Frearson driver will give huge torque and will never cam out. Similarly, with a good quality PZ head, a good quality PZ driver, of the correct gauge, rarely slips. The worst combination is a poor quality, soft, Phillips head with a Frearson driver. The soft head screw has a shallow bed and the pointed driver cannot ever seat properly. If low torque is needed then you’ll get by, but in thick wood, and/or without pre-drilling, the high torque needed results in cam-out and chewing.
Love your explanations! simply opened my mind about my "screw issues". But what about the screws with semi-threaded SHANKS? what is it for?
Javo A. C.
Machine screws are pointless
Seriously... I want your hardware store.
Bertie Blue
Fabulous vid, informative, on point and entertaining. Thanks for your expertise very useful
Yay! More coppery anti-corrosion screws! They are the best.
Ken Trock
Thanks for the primer. When I need to make a house repair I usually go with whatever screw or nail I have hanging around. Until now that is 🏠
David Handley
Star (Torx) are the best. They never cam out and give a neat finish. Love your work Steve.
Daily Life with Kimberly
Who would have thought it? A video on screws, was perfect! Thank you for explaining them, I really needed this video. Perfect description with a great flow throughout the entire video. 👍
Benjamin Esposti
I've found that not all Philips screws are alike. And I'm not talking about Pozidriv. Some philips have a more rounded, shallower engagement. Those are the ones that tend to cam-out (aka "strip") the most. The others have a more distinct, sharper shape, and have better engagement with the driver. Obviously, that is, if you use the correct driver. I've heard there are at least four types of cross-type drives: Philips, Pozidriv, Reed & Prince, and Frearson.
The research for this must have been grueling...but thanks!
Reed Kay
I'v been with ya a long time and I think the Basics Series is top notch Thanks Steve...
Bob Washere
Flat head screw drivers quality affects the usability of the screws. Quality drivers are expensive but squarely fit the heads. This important in fields like gun smithing. Similarly JIS screw drivers require quality drivers as well.
I'm a simple man. I see a video by Steve and I like it. Always informative and pleasant.
chris hogan
Nothing was brought to me by Micro Jig....
Annie Thyme
Thanks Steve this was really helpful. Going to make sure I save this video to a playlist so I can come back and easily find it next time I'm scratching my head about this. I hope 2018 is off to a good start for you! :)
Ruben Enslin
Hi Steve! I enjoy your clips! Can you recommend software to do one’s diy projects on?
The Native American
thank you for this video
Dan Collins
This was really helpful. Great vid.
Richard Morris
Support your local hardware stores! Thanks Steve.
lots of lots of good information about..... Micro jig.... I get you Steve
Will Parsons
You and your videos.....Awesome stuff! Your truthfulness about certain fasteners are bang on and right to the point. Good Job!!
Per Almered
Love that shirt, and damn, the running has really paid off, good for you!
Scott Brooks
thank you steve. i have been waiting for this very video for months. well played sir, thank you.
Great info. Great to see you back making videos for the general public. You rock !!!
No microjig?
Raj Nerlat
Hi Steve, very informative, great clarity and ... funny!! 👍 You r going places! All the best. Will return to yr videos often. (I am from India).
Le Diabolique
Enjoyable and informative. I subscribed.
Richard Foley
Steve I love your videos and have learned a lot from them Im studying carpentry at my technical highschool and I can't get enough of your videos and BTW the beginning part big box store clip is so true and so funny I lost my shit watching that
Also keep in mind some coated screws can react to certain type of chemicals in treated woods.
If there's an expectation that the end user should be able to disassemble, the ubiquity of Philips drivers makes them a good choice in many circumstances regardless of the shortcomings.
Drew Achong
4:56 "machine screws have no point." Does that make them pointless? 🤣
Elson B
Amazing post Steve. Thanks a lot!
Anthony Robinson
Thank you for a great video. Simple easy to understand and you had video demonstrations of each screw and the video quality was very high. I appreciate it!
Digant Shah
Thanks for your time and efforts. Watched till the end. Really informative.
Jeffrey Padgett
Robertson screws are being used more and more in scenic carpentry in the US. Most of the theatres I've worked for have switched to Robertson bits.
Willian Dissenha
About screws and bolts, here in Brazil they are all simply called by the same name: "parafusos". So... For me it's really not a problem hahaha
vincon ark
they are vary stronge
Lucid Moses
I think the idea of wood workers using a lot of nails comes from non-wood workers basically only seeing house framing where they do use a lot of nails.
Jason C.
Those square drive work really good in pocket holes.
Interresting to see your US perspective on this Topic in Europe you'll pretty much by the same types of screws, with a few exceptions drywall screws work the same - Philips Other wood screws were pretty much replaced by screws with Pozi-Driv (the Philips-Successor) or Torx Machine Screws use metric ISO threads and all of it is easier to understand, if you just think about it without knowning the standard and again i must say, i really love the way it works in europe here - #8 screw, x Threads per Inch and all those nutso rollercoaster Standards are very weird to "learn" if you are not used to - the Unified Thread Standard is just bonkers if you buy a woodscrew in europe and you need a screw with a diameter of 4,5 mm and a lenght of 50 mm you'll just buy a 4,5x50 screw - done, in the us you need to know that a #8 screw has around 0,16 Inch - the Unified Thread Standard is not even derived from the Inch, nor the mm Same goes for machine screws - if you have an 8 mm hole and need a bolt that is 70 mm Long, just buy an M8x70 mm Screw - done in the Unified Thread Standard even the Thread Pitch and the Numbering is inconsistend - #n below 1/4" and up in fractions in ISO threading you can calculate everything by a common formula if you want
Steve Miller
Look at Steve shopping at True Value!
Ilya Shmakov
"You know how intimidating this experience can be at times. You may only need a micro jig". Also, don't you have pozidriv over your side of the ocean at all?
Lorna's Handmade Soaps
Thanks for the info & for sharing.
sheryl napier
What a great video!!! Thanks so much for posting. From Maine, USA
Missed you!!
ruchi chaunal
In India, 99% still use nails or flat head screws 😁😁
Fred McIntyre
Thanks for the info Steve! 👍👊
hugo Bose
I must admit Steve I've screwed a few different Screws in my time. Great info for those novices out there AND great vid :-)
Amazing Steve, you truly impress. And I mean its videos like this that prove how talented you are and I mean its easy to type this of stuff but. You made a video about screws... SCREWS And its AWESOME!