View Full Version : Woodscrews in oak
09-25-2001, 07:29 PM
In order to get brass woodscrews in oak, I predrill a hole, then use soap as a lubricant. A lubricant is essential, otherwise the little brass screws will twist in two. It seems like there should be a better lubricant than soap. Perhaps glue? Is soap best or is there something better?
Thanks, Joe (for Eleanor)
Carol the Router Lady (Guest)
09-25-2001, 09:04 PM
Soap attracts moisture. OK with brass screws. Not good with steel screws. Get a real beeswax candle. Use that. It will last for years.
09-25-2001, 09:50 PM
I got a small cake of beeswax at the local craft store. It has some use for sewing. The cake came in a handy plastic container.
Hope this helps,
You may also drive the same size of steel screws first and then replacing them with the brass screws. I also use wax (any wood working wax will work Bees, candle, floor, furniture).
Good bye and work safely
Stephen Shepherd (Guest)
09-26-2001, 07:30 AM
Under the end of my workbench I have a small wooden cup that swings out when I need to use it. It is called a grease cup and contains a mixture of 75% beeswax and 25% tallow. (Melt the wax and tallow in a double boiler on the stove.) Just dip the screw in the cup and it is ready to use. The tallow makes the wax much softer and easier to use. I would actually suggest using iron screws, still need to predrill in oak and they will rust, but you will seldom twist off the heads. Brass will corrode in acidic oak. The grease/beeswax helps prevent both corrosion and rust.
09-26-2001, 07:42 AM
While lubricants are one idea, there's something else that will make this task easier as well as help the screws grip better. I tend to use more bugle head drywall type screws than the normal wood screws here in my shop. With these types of screws, a pilot hole using a standard drill bit is sufficient. However, I just finished an oak bed for a customer and I needed to use brass wood screws to attach the cleats that support the bed slats to the side rails. Whenever I use standard wood screws I drill the pilot holes using a tapered bit for the size screw I'm using.
The advantage is that the hole is tapered like the screw itself. This gives the threads a chance to engage the entire length of the pilot hole walls. A pilot hole done with a standard drill bit is straight and the threads don't engage the entire length of the walls. This can also cause the screw to get hard to turn as the thicker section of the taper enters the straight walls of the hole. In a hard wood like oak, this can cause the soft brass to shear or break.
With a tapered hole, the screw will go in easy and stop when it "bottoms" out. I've even tried to over tighten them but once they stop, that's it. You'll mess up the head before breaking off the screw. It takes a little practice to learn how deep to bore the pilot hole for whatever size screw you're using. Go too deep, and you'll need a little longer screw. Other than that, a tapered pilot hole is the best solution I can think of. Also, I think you'll find you won't need any lubricant since the screws go in without much effort.
Hope this helps,
09-26-2001, 07:00 PM
Thanks! I thought I had to be a girl to post on the Women in Woodworking Forum. I was telling the truth in a way, since I make stuff for my daughter and sister.
09-28-2001, 11:11 PM
Two things. First, go to a local hardware store and buy a wax toilet ring. It's dirty cheap - costs about a buck and a half. I've tried all kinds of lubricants for screws in oak, and I like the wax toilet rings best for lubricity and downright cheapness. I scoop all the wax up and put it into an empty margarine tub for convenience. I usually keep a couple dozen screws "stewing" in the tub so they're always together and handy.
Second - predrill for your brass screws, but run matching steel screws into the holes first. The steel screws can take the extra torque of cutting the threads, and you're not nearly as likely to twist one in two or pop off the head. Back the steel screw back out, find the threads you just cut, and spin your brass screws in. You won't damage the screws going in.
-- Tim --
09-29-2001, 11:18 AM
Have you got any sage advice on how to get the twisted-off brass screws out? These are little tiny screws. Digging them out is a disaster. My best idea so far is to drill them out, pack the hole with plastic wood, and start over. Or, drill the screw out, then replace it with a longer screw.
Joe (my real name)
09-29-2001, 10:22 PM
Joe, the easiest way I know is to use a hollow drill, one pretty close to the same diameter as the broken screw. There are several out on the market - they're made kinda' like little hole saws. Use masking tape as a depth stop. Wrap it around the hollow drill at the length of the screw. Now you've got a cylindrical hole a little bigger than the screw. It's time for one of those hole-plugger kits, the ones with the cone-shaped wooden plugs and a matching cone-shaped drill bit. Use the bit to cut a conical hole centered in your cylindrical hole, glue in one of the plugs, snick it off flush, then redrill it for the screw. Now you can use the same-sized screw and you won't have one oddball.
-- Tim --
01-03-2002, 05:38 PM
Soap should only be used as a LAST RESORT. Most soaps have enzymes that can mildew and darken the natural color of wood. If any moisture is in the wood along with the soap, mildew will follow the moistened path and show up as dark blemish over a period of time. Try to use pure / clear paraffin wax. When working with wax and oil based products, it is best to seal and protect your wooden projects before using these products.