What kind of screw should I use? Woodworking Basics

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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.

Stephan Pöhnlein
Nails are stronger than you think. This can be confirmed by anyone who has ever taken a pallet apart.
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!
Slot head screws need to be illegal!
Dadgum it
It's a bolt! No, it's a screw! No, it's a--- microjig maker of the GRRRiper
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?
Seriously... I want your hardware store.
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.
Scott Nelson
No, we argue about BOLTS! ;-)
Johnnyy 69
Where is my totally unexpected Microjig introduction? :_(
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.
No microjig?
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!
Javo A. C.
Machine screws are pointless
Daniel Console
I watched the whole thing expecting MICROJIG, MAKER OF THE GRIPPER to pop at me like some sort of ptsd
People will argue over everything
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.
The difference between a screw and a bolt is that "Bolt You!" just doesn't carry as much weight.
Screws will probably never replace nails when it comes to framing and construction work. Screws have to be harder, and therefore more brittle. Nails can handle shear stresses much better and will typically flex and bend before failing. I've never seen a nail snap while hammering it in, but I have seen screws snap before.
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
Eric Singleton
Glad to see you! You've been missed! Great info!
Jordan Wright
Awe man no cheesy micro jig spot...
So......when is it a screw and not a bolt? Or is a bolt a kind of screw?
Rubix 1976
Bolts are what Mr Frankenstein had through his neck, there solved. 😆
Remigiusz Marcinkiewicz
Two notes: 1. Yes, Philips screw head was designed to cam out, and to do that at a specific torque, but stay centered on the fastener. This helps in quick assembly as the driver does not jump out in a random direction and mar the surface, but still cams out in a predictable and easily detected manner. It was an important factor back when electric drills/drivers did not have an adjustable clutch and fasteners were made of lower quality steel, resulting in snapped screw heads. It's less important now, as you can set your cordless drill to cam out internally at a given torque and advances in metallurgy allow very strong fasteners to be mass-produced cheaply. 2. There absolutely definitely should be a note on Pozidriv heads and how they differ from Philips. They were designed to *not* cam out (at least, not until a much higher torque is achieved) when a Pozidriv driver is used, but can still be driven with Philips bits if necessary. HOWEVER, the reverse is absolutely not true. Using a Pozidriv driver on a Philips head is a very efficient way to destroy both and get frustrated at a mediocre result. Being able to tell the difference and remember it at all times is very important as Philips and Pozidriv screws and drivers are both prevalent and often mixed by people who think they're the same thing.
Calvin Williams
Thanks. ... I just graduated screw U. Meant to be a joke not mean. Your videos are great.
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.
Porkchop Sandwiches
Been using star/torx exclusively for years now... never looking back
It would be great if you could explain more why some screws have the shank with no threads, what's the purpose of it? I believe it's for increasing the pull of the screw from the end board and so it won't be fixed to the top board, but I am not sure about it.
The Real Hal Jordan
I don't why standard wood screws all come in partially thread. Maybe to save on milling, but I'd like an option for all thread small wood screws even if they cost a little more, without buying stainless steel or marine screws
Christoffer Bergström
I've been looking forward to this
lots of lots of good information about..... Micro jig.... I get you Steve
Ass Möde
just realized something cool about those SPAX screws from home depot, they are dual phillips and square drive! (and torx of course if you want them). It's recommended you get the special "spax drive" but it's 3 bucks a pop so just being able to use a square drive is cool. Maybe a generic Phillips/robertson dual drive (P2R2) would work but I haven't tested it. Plus the #8 ones can be driven with one of those extra long Kreg driver bits from your pocket hole jig
Mart Dorgelo
Hi Steve! Glad you’re back!! Greetings from The Netherlands!
Jason C.
Those square drive work really good in pocket holes.
When in doubt, is it better to screw, nail or bolt? 😏😏
Ali Maleki
Steve I’m really jealous of you; that hardware selection is amazing. I have to rely on the big box stores where (as you pointed out) there are zero employees within screaming distance!
I miss your vids
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. 👍
Matthew Young
For those wondering a screw has a certain type of thread that has a much larger pitch than a bolt. A bolt has a machine thread which can come is different variation. A machine screw is a bolt but with threads all the way up the shank. A bolt will have a half threaded half shank.
What about immortal flying reptiles?
Luis Sonoma
Love the video. I know your tried to make it brief but something you mentioned made me think about Phillips, how they were made to intentionally slip after it's intended Torque. I think this may be true to some Philip screw. If you want a screw and screw driver that won't slip then JIS(Japanese Industry Standard) would be used. I don't think its used for wood working. I ran into it when I was repairing a dirt bike (Honda); so I assume that its mostly used for machinery. The screws are marked by a single indentation on the corner of the screw head and its associated bits/drivers tend to have a more square/flat look and feel to them apart from the JIS label. I though it was worth mentioning it even though its off topic.
Nuke Terrorist Israel!!!
What about chewing gum and bandaids wtf!!!!
Robin Lewis
Some really interesting points, great video Steve
Ian Steele
In the UK Pozidriv screws are more common than Phillips. They are very similar but don’t cam out as easily. Not sure if you have them in US but they are well worth seeking out.
Tim Michael
Nailed it! Great video Steve. For the basic intents and purposes I tend to agree with your distinction between bolts and screws.
Typical Asian
I’m scared of table saws
SCREW this video.... :)
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.
Hayden Nigro
This man is the Gordon Ramsey of woodworking
there is at least 2 types of x or + head screws , one you did not mention , and that might be part of the problem Philips and improved Pozi Drive screws with extra x in the middle are not the same type of screws. philips drivers have shallower , rounder bits than pozi drivers, and despite fitting them in most cases lesser contact surface makes the ph driver break the edges of pz screw internaly and pops out On the other hand pozi drivers are too long for their size compared to ph equivalent and don't fit into philips head screws. i was amazed and still am that most people don't know that ph screws and pz screws need different drivers, even some trained technicians. i have both sets and using corect ones with corect screws makes a hell of a difference.
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.
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
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!
Matthias Wandel
what you call "flat head screw" is actually called a "countersink screw"
Jack Ross
Where are the project vids?
Metatronic Mods
I bought some equipment last year that uses slotted screws with a non standard thread to secure a filter cover which regularly has to be removed. Likely some sick joke by a disgruntled requisition officer.
Deep Outdoors
my house is from the twentys and theres flathead screws everywhere!! always annoys me lol
vincon ark
they are vary stronge
Lycan Delavesta
Just to say, I like you(no homo way)... :)
dont know why i watching this ....
Jack P
Most of the Philips head screwdriver I get also have a square drive
Rainer Lilje-Halbritter
If you use a depth-stop you have to take a Philips-head, it will not work with torx. In this case it is important, that the driver comes out! That ist the reason, why drywall-screws habe a Philips-head.
I understand the focus here is on woodworking ... however, if you have a Japanese vehicle or Japanese electronics equipment (etc), and you see what looks like a Philips screw, it's very likely a "JIS" standard screw slot. The difference is subtle. You can find the drivers on Amazon cheap. A Philips screwdriver on a JIS screw will not engage very deeply and will strip the head if you apply even moderate torque. A proper JIS screwdriver allows you to put way more torque on the fastener. If you have a Japanese vehicle, even a cheap set of JIS drivers will save you much hassle.
i cant stand Robertson screws every time im fighting the drill bit to get it out of the screw.
Haim Bilia
I wish Steve Ramsey was my dad...
Petar Paskov
Can't believe I'm in the first 10 viewers :-)
Pelopidas Evangelopoulos
Make a joinery and strength best methods for woodworking basics.
ap snorroveli
I personally hate torx drivers almost as much as the flathead screws and think pz pozzy are the best.
Henricks House
It's been a while Steve!! Being the amateur I am I really appreciate these basic woodworking videos! I feel like I have the vision of how to build stuff and what to build but I mess up things like when it's appropriate to use screws, bolts, nails, or wood glue and then what type to use!!
Jack Mcslay
I don't have this problem because in my native language we don't have separate words for "screw" and "bolt"
The Only Alan
I've got to say, going to a hardware store doesn't generally mean that you're going to get better service. At Home Depot they literally never know what I'm looking for but even at Ace Hardware they often don't know what metric screws are. Heck, I've even had trouble getting Hardware at Fastenal
You said screw and bottom, demonetised!
Andy P
Fat Steve would have had a Microjig intro... just sayin'
you looking younger steve .
r stewardson
Is that the inside of Pini Hardware? I remember when they were located on Grant Ave east of 101. When 101 ran thru Novato back in the fifties.
Fran Maric
Can you please just make some videos about projects and not random things?
Maybe add concrete screws and talk about why they aren't used for wood.
Marcus Wolschon
For pocket holes I recommend Spax backpanel screws. Mostly because you can get them in Europe where pocket holes are sadly not common. (As opposed to Lamello.)
Hi Steve, any video on making of wooden blanket box, chest, storage bench kind of project? My objective is to have a storage wooden box in bedroom which can be used as bench.
J.M. Castilla
OK, gracias por sus videos, thanks for your videos Subscriber: [email protected]
Gene Garcia
I like your shirt!
Willem Arnhem
You forgot an important detail, many philips screws are actually pozidrive
I just watched a 13 minute video about screws. And I enjoyed it
How much wood would a woodworker work if a woodworker could work wood?
Jackbone John
I went into my hardware store, bought one screw and had it gift wrapped.
Hey I'm a Maker
Go Canada! FYI Robertson screws are a lot less than Torx.
Daniel Jacobsen
I Thought this was one of YOUR BEST VIDEOS!!! I am a decent woodworker (hobby) and I learned a lot, Thank you.
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
Ranjit bau
Good information quite wel
Fine, No comment
I will definitely only buy star / torque/ and square drive from now on. Philips heads just suck too. They strip out so easily.
john amptech
screws for wood,metal,plastic etc have threads to the head,bolts have a bare section of the shank,whether pointed for wood or for metal or plastic,i've used all of them,engines,guitar amp cabinets,using batons with wood bolts fixed to my triumph spitfires sheel to lower it back to the chassis,i had to learn these this because i kept buying the wrong fixings for the job intended. Use rubber bands if you like i don't care,i thought i'd put it out there.
Abu Aniha
I love slot head screws because even years later the grip is better than star or Philips head.
Alejandro C
If you are using nails with wood and you bend them, after you say... You’ve been working many years as a carpenter just give up. And find your real profession
For sorting purposes in my shop, all screws have a point, if it takes a nut its a bolt. Head and drive styles are less important, except for slotted screws, they go in the scrap metal pail.
Nails are only good for shingles and siding ;-)
Ricky Mercado
Excelente tutorial
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