Don't Get Screwed - PB March 2016


Think you can use the same wood screw for every job? Think again. There’s a surprisingly large amount of engineering in a performance wood screw and compared to the standard multi-purpose screw. Here are five problems you may have if you use a sub-standard screw:

  1. Failure to hold: premium quality screws feature what is known as partial threading:  the shank of the screw has a smooth section between the head of the screw and the thread. This feature is often found on decking screws and should be used on jobs which need to hold two pieces of wood together. Decking screws such as the Performance Decking screw from Samac also feature a locking thread that will clamp the decking board in place, giving no board movement. When selecting a partially threaded screw, always make sure that the non-threaded part is at least the thickness of the piece to be screwed into place.
  2. Splitting:  in an ideal world you want a screw that will bite into the wood effortlessly, without having to drill a pilot hole, and without splitting the wood. Look for a performance screw with a type 17 and partially serrated thread. These features gives the screw a combined sawing and cutting action which actually removes unwanted timber rather than displacing it therefore reducing splitting
  3. Damage to tools: less well engineered screws require a much higher torque to drive them home – and this significantly increases the wear and tear on your power tools or requires a great deal more effort if you’re using a screwdriver. Performance screws like the Samac Performance Plus are coated with a wax finish and feature a specially-designed milling thread above the main thread to reduce torque, making them easier to drive in.
  4. Stripped heads: you are much less likely to damage the screw head or cam out on a low torque screw because you will need to apply much less pressure, making the action more accurate and less chance of slipping. Pozi head screws are much less prone to head stripping than Philips or slotted designs. To avoid the problem altogether – and let’s face it, trying to remove a stripped screw is a hassle you can do without – look for a screw with a reinforced pozi head. Make sure you use the right sized driver bit for the screw to improve your chances further. Each box of Samacs’ Performance Plus screws include a free driver bit so you can always be sure you’re getting the right size bit for the right screw.
  5. Thread engagement and jacking: jacking occurs when screwing sheet material to a base substrate. Either the top board lifts up as the screw starts to engage the bottom board while not driving into the anchoring material. Or, when there is a gap between the two layers and the screw finally does bite into the bottom layer, the gap between the layers is fixed because the threads in the upper layer won't let the top layer be drawn down onto the bottom. To prevent jacking, look for screws that are partially threaded and feature a milling thread that will remove all debris from the hole.