In general when joining wood, how deep should the fasterners go? To
clarify, if I'm joining two 1/2" planks with screws - should I use a 1"
screw, a 3/4", 5/8". I'm trying to determine what size screws to order for
my next project, and to do that I'll need to figure out how deep the screws
should go into the wood. Seems like in the above example 1" screws would be
too long, the risk of the point erupting from the wood is too great. But
5/8" is pretty darn short - barely penetrating the second board.
So, it seems like the answer is easy - 3/4". But before I go and ruin a
perfectly nice project, I figure I'd better ask just in case.
You should use the longest screws you can find that don't come out the other
side. That being said, no matter what screws you use, 1/2" to 1/2" is going
to be a weak fairly attachment no matter what screws you use. I'd certainly
use glue in addition to screws and it would help to know where in your
project are you joining 1/2" boards? Maybe it's a location that can be
joined by other means.
1/2" to 1/2" is a hypothetical. The actual project itself will involve a
whole bunch of different sized boards. What I was interested in hearing,
and thanks for the advice - "use the longest screws you can find that don't
come out the other side" Glue is definitely going to be used for all the
joints - just so I can minimize usage of screws.
For some reason I had it in my head that it was in fact better to use the
smallest length screws that still joined the boards.
Another rule of thumb is to put your thumb on the back side of the work. If
the screw goes into your thumb, it is too long.
Keep in mind that screws not only come in different lengths, but different
thicknesses. I use mostly #6 and #8 for typical 3/4" wood but if you are
working with 2 x 4's and the like #10 or #12 may be better. Pre drilling a
pilot hole helps as does a countersink. You can get bits that do both in
Buy good screws. Buy from McFeelys, Lee Valley and the like, not Home
Depot. I also like the square drive screws too.
Sometimes the longest possible screw will give the best holding power.
You can take a 1" screw and grind off about 1/16" so it won't blow
through. I still use a regular screwdriver in cases where I need the
greatest possible control, and this sounds like one of them.
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