What Good Are Pilot Holes?

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If you pre-drill, the screw doesn't have much to grab onto. In the old days, they simply turned the screw without any pilot holes. In fact, my dad used to do it that way. The screw threads thereby get a good "bite" into the wood.
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On 2/17/2011 4:07 PM, Gary Sokolisch wrote:

You drill pilot holes where the wood may split. Old hardened wood needs them, fresh pine, not so much.
Jeff
In the old

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On 2/17/2011 4:21 PM, Jeff Thies wrote:

What Jeff said. Gotta size the pilot hole correctly- the shaft of the screw should be a tight fit. Many people use too big a pilot bit, and wonder why they end up spinning the screw, especially if they use a power driver. Lubing the screw (a wax toilet ring works great for this) makes the screw go in easier, and the threads still get a full bite.
--
aem sends...

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Even with pine, the fastening will be stronger when the right sized pilot hole is used. Without a pilot hole the wood fibers are torn, weakening the wood in that area. A screw into the properly sized pilot hole will separate the fibers (for the threads) without breaking them.
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wrote:

re: "In the old days, they simply turned the screw without any pilot holes"
Who are "they" and when were the "old days"?
Pilot holes are not a modern invention.
Just because you're dear old dad didn't use them doesn't mean nobody else did.
I learned the technique from my great grandfather, and I'm pretty sure that he didn't invent the practice.
Of course, doing with a brace and bit was a lot more work, but when it made sense to do it, you did it.
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The right size pilot hole is just a hair smaller than the inner shank of the screw, not the threads. Thereby giving plenty of wood for the threads to hold onto.
I sometimes put a couple drops of glue on the screw threads. It lubricates the screw and it goes in easier, and once the glue hardens, it stays better. I only do this in places I figure the screw won't have to be removed. I know I'll probably get caught one of these days and have to take out one of my glued screws, and then I'll cuss myself for doing it. Bob-tx
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"Bob-tx" <No Spam no contact> wrote in message

I do just the opposite. I use a drill slightly smaller than I would normally use and coat the screw with candle wax. Sure makes them go in easier. They feel plenty tight and I find that I don't bugger the head as often since the resistance doesn't suddenly build up. Hope they won't fall out from the wax! The real danger of not using a big enough pilot hole is that the wood will split. That can happen years later when the wood dries out and there's some sort repetitive action involved (like opening and closing a door each day).
-- Bobby G.
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re: "...and coat the screw with candle wax"
Grandpa always had a beat up bar of soap in his toolbox
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re: "...and coat the screw with candle wax"

Grandpa was a soap boxer? (-"
- Bobby G.
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My dad was a carpenter in the 1950's and he used the bar soap method.
I frequently use a small finish nail to make a pilot hole in soft wood; drive it in half-way with a hammer then remove. Hard woods get drilled.
Paul
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On Feb 18, 7:43am, "Stormin Mormon"

legroups.com...
...about as funny as a screen door in a submarine.
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We've learned more since then.
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Gary Sokolisch wrote:

And I used to know a guy who inserted screws with a hammer; he said the slot was for taking them out. Neither he nor your dad (no disrepect intended) were correct.
--

dadiOH
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wrote:

The quality of random trolling has really plummeted.
R
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They can serve a number of purposes, some of which are unnecessary in many situations.
Harder woods can split without a pilot hole. You use a bit slightly smaller than the shark of the screw.
Even in soft woods, it makes it easier to put the screw in straight. You can use a smaller bit.
You can sometimes twist the head off or strip a long screw using a drill/driver without a pilot. I used a few dozen 3 and 3 1/2 inch screws in a low precision, gorilla carpentry project on Sunday (medium pine). This WOULD NOT have gotten done without pilot holes.
It just generally makes it easier/faster to do a job of the same quality in many situations.
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wrote:

In the old days life was slower and people were gentler but stronger so you could get away with putting in a very short screw without having to worry that somebody in a hurry wasn't going to yank it out when they grabbed what the screw was holding or that if they couldn't get what ever the screw was holding to move they wouldn't necessarily only grab what the screw was holding but hold it from another location as well and slowly force it to move and not complain that they had to go through the trouble because just having it was a blessing enough.
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It depends on how accurate the hole has to be, and what material you work with.
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They are holes in clouds so the pilot has an easier job to fly the plane in T-storms.
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Gary Sokolisch wrote:

Drywall screws go into fir without any trouble, but that's about the limit of both screw size and wood softness.
If your screw is bigger than a drywall screw, and/or you are drilling through something harder than fir, then you need a pilot hole.
Jon
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?

Drywall screws are OK as wood screws if quality and longevity don't matter so much. They are too brittle and break easily when stressed. If you want easy to drive screws, look for Spax from Lee Valley, McFeelys, and other good suppliers. They go in easily.
http://www.mcfeelys.com/category.aspx?cat=spax-screws&s_kwcid=TC |4266|spax%20screws||S||4729913455 That combination of the 4CUT T point and serrated thread is effective enough to eliminate pre-drilling unless you're driving into either masonry or sheet metal better than 24 gauge. A special word of caution applies here, however. The fully-threaded versions of the SPAX screw doesn't allow for as much adjustment, once driven, as you may be accustomed to having. That's because the thread forms a mechanical attachment in both the horizontal and vertical planes.
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