How to Drive a Screw Into Wood

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Screwing a piece of wood to a stud, wall board or another piece of wood seems simple enough. Yet as with most apparently straightforward tasks, you can find little ways to improve and avoid mistakes, such as splitting the wood or failing to draw two boards tightly together. With proper technique, you can avoid camming out the slots in the screws and become expert at gauging the right clutch settings.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill and bit set
  • Magnetic bit holder
  • Slotted and Phillips bits
  • Screws
  • Bar soap or wax candle (optional)
  • Quick clamps
  • Position the board where it will be screwed to a stud or another board. Mark the screw's location on the board with a pencil.

  • Place a drill bit in the electric drill’s chuck and tighten the chuck. The bit should be the same diameter as the screw's shaft. Drill a pilot hole through the board and part way into the stud or other board. Remove the drill bit and replace it with a Phillips or screw driver bit.

  • Set the drill's chuck clutch, if present, at an intermediate number. The clutch will release when the screw is fully driven into the hole. This helps prevent the screw head or screwdriver bit from stripping when the screw is fully screwed into the wood.

  • Draw the screw across a bar of soap or a wax candle if you're screwing into a hardwood, such as maple or walnut. The soap or wax lubricates the threads, making it easier to drive the screw into the wood.

  • Place the point of the screw in the pilot hole and press it in place to seat it, or spin it by hand a few turns into the pilot hole. Then seat the screwdriver bit firmly onto the head of the screw.

  • Press firmly on the drill as you slowly screw the screw into the pilot hole. Keep the board aligned with the stud or other board to ensure that the two pieces are firmly screwed together. Clamp the boards if perfect alignment is essential.

  • Adjust the drill's clutch, if necessary, to a higher setting if the clutch releases before the screw is entirely flush.

  • Back the screw out if there is a space between the two boards. Enlarge the hole in the first board only, using a slightly larger drill bit. Replace the screw, pressing firmly on the drill handle. As the screw bites into the inner stud or board, it should pull the two boards together tightly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Put on gloves and safety glasses before drilling or screwing into wood.
  • A Phillips screw bit and matching screws are less likely to slip apart as you screw into the wood.
  • Avoid using a worn screwdriver bit; it may damage the screw head.
  • Keep tools and screws out of reach of children and pets.

References

  • Photo Credit GregorBister/iStock/Getty Images
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