wood screws breaking off

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I'm having trouble with wood screws breaking off under pressure (that is, when I'm screwing them in). I'm using steel wood screws, pre-drilling holes, and using white oak. They seem to be breaking off quite easily.
Are there better screws to be using? All local hardware stores seem only to carry steel.
Ideas?
Thanks.
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Square drive screws, available from Rockler or McFeeley have a dry lubricant coating, which helps, but you can still break them. When working with very hard wood, such as the white oak you mention, I often scrape the threads across a wax candle before screwing them into the wood.
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Try waxing the screws before driving them (paste wax or just rub them on an old candle).
Don't use soap, esp with steel screws. It attracts water.
Are you sure the pilot hole you're drilling is the right diameter?
djb
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Wax. Beeswax works best, in my experience. Or paste furniture wax. Paraffin doesn't work as well.
John Martin
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The diameter of your pilot holes may be wrong. The link is to a good chart that should get you in the ball park:
http://www.mcfeelys.com/html/wadb.html
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Wax them puppies. I bought a wax toilet ring for like 99, melted it down into an old soup can so I had a decent container, then stick the screws into that. Its soft, pliable and one ring will last a long long time. Made all the difference in the world when I built my shop and was driving in 2"-3" deck screws.
Mike wrote:

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I would do the following:
Use the correct pilot drill bit first Use square drive screws Use fine thread screws-not course Use beeswax or candle wax to lube them. Do NOT use soap; they will rust faster than you would think.
On 13 Dec 2003 10:51:14 -0800, im_in_the_mood snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mike) wrote:

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Another thing to try along with or instead of lubricant is a hammer drill with driver bit. Use square or phillips drive screws.
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im_in_the_mood snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mike) wrote:

Either you're not drilling your pilot holes large enough, or you're using inferior screws.
The pilot holes should be a trifle smaller than the solid portion of the shaft of the screw. Various charts are available showing the appropriate size of pilot hole to use, depending on the size of the screw and the material it's being used in. Note that a pilot hole that's appropriately sized for, say, a #8 screw going into pine or fir, is too small for the same screw in white oak.
Check the packaging on the screws you're using for the country of origin. If it's China or India, the screws are definitely inferior. Best in my experience are ones made in the USA or Canada. Where are you buying your screws, at a home center (e.g. Lowe's, Home Depot), or a real hardware store (e.g. Ace, Tru-Value, etc)? I have much better luck finding American or Canadian made fasteners at the real hardware stores. Most of what the home centers have is junk.
It also helps to lubricate the screw threads with wax before driving them.
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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thanks for all the replies/advice, i appreciate it!
snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote in message (Mike) wrote:

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Spit on the screws and buy good one's.
(Mike) wrote:

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wrote:

Bad idea to deliberately introduce moisture. Saliva isn't much of a lubricant, either. Paste wax or paraffin is a much better choice.
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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In a pinch it works
wrote:

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im_in_the_mood snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mike) wrote ...

complete waste of time and totally unnecessary. Save the wax for 1/2" galvanized lag bolts. It may also foul any future finish and surely won't fix a problem with a improperly sized countersink.
If you are breaking screws, a)the pilot hole is not right and/or b)the torque on the driver is set too high.
First determine where the break is occurring. If you are snapping off the head as commonly happens with a hard wood like oak or maple then you probably have not drilled the pilot hole in the top piece big enough. Most common two step counter sinks sized for the threads do not drill a big enough hole in the top piece. This hole must be big enough to allow the thread to spin and draw the bottom piece up tight. Oversize the countersink a bit or predrill the top piece with a bigger bit. Use the wax on your skiis.
mike
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im_in_the_mood snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

I've had trouble with cheap steel screws from places like HD, having exactly the problem you describe. After getting screws from Trend-lines and most recently, McFeeley's, I have yet to break a screw. IMO, there is a difference in quality.

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On 13 Dec 2003 10:51:14 -0800, im_in_the_mood snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mike) brought forth from the murky depths:

Are they cheap import screws? Give McFeelys a call/web visit for better quality screws. http://www.mcfeelys.com
Are the drill bits tapered wood-screw bits? If not, get 'em.
Sure you're using the correct size bit for the screw?
Try using some paraffin on the threads as you install them.
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Don't know if this is an official Wreck-endorsed practice or not, but I'm finding I really like Johnson's as a screw lube. (Johson's paste wax, not Johnson and Johnson's KY Jelly, get your mind out of the gutter.) I just poke them into the cake and zip them in. I have no idea what sort of long-term effect this might have, as the solvent might never evaporate. Doesn't seem to be a problem though, and they sure do go in easier.
Very necessary when driving teensy brass screws into hardwood, in order to get the screw down tight and avoid destroying the head.
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Silvan writes:

The thing I usually use is a toilet ring. Wax, cheap (I think I paid 89 cents for the last one), usually gets lost (or tossed by my wife) before it comes close to being used up, stores easily on a nail in the wall (it's when I leave it lying around that Frances tosses it, so the nail in the wall was a new consideration).
Jim Ray has some good stuff in a tube, too, Pawtucky? Check McFeely's.
Charlie Self
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On 14 Dec 2003 11:36:31 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) brought forth from the murky depths:

I keep meaning to try that.

Why? It's been comfy there for several decades now.

Didja know that there has been no wax in those things for a decade? It's all synthetic now.

Yeah, I saw that stuff and wondered about it.
(When are you going to pull those thirty carriage returns off the tail end of your sig, Charlie?)
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Don't try, do.

Because if you put KY on your screws, it will introduce moisture, you dolt!

Is that true? I just re-did a crapper a couple years ago, and I'd swear it was wax. Most of the ones I've seen are some kind of foamy gooey stuff, but this looked just like the 30 year old thing that I pulled off. Only with less shit on it.
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