Build / DIY

The Taming of the Screw // 3 Tips To Help You Avoid Stripping Your Screws

06.19.14
The Taming of the Screw // 3 Tips To Help You Avoid Stripping Your Screws

From the sound of things on the comments from our giveaway post, I’m not alone when it comes to the struggle I have with screws and drills. To be perfectly honest, I figured a great deal of the problem was user error on my part, and over the years have learned a few tricks to make my jobs easier. Reading through your comments this week tells me otherwise, and that perhaps there is a general need out there for a better solution. It would be lovely not to have to try so hard, and it would be even more lovely if we could avoid countless costly mistakes and and especially the dreaded screw head tear out, which of course is a whole level beyond simply stripping your screw.

Today I’m going to share a few of my personal tips and tricks for avoiding this as well as some fabulous features for this beauty, which has been designed to handle many of the issues we are chatting about, with no effort on your part whatsoever.

The Taming of the Screw // 3 Tips To Help You Avoid Stripping Your Screws
The Taming of the Screw // 3 Tips To Help You Avoid Stripping Your Screws

Speed is fairly major factor that is essential in helping you tame the screw. If you have trouble mastering the ‘light touch’ that is necessary to control your drill’s speed, you will definitely need to have a drill that has at least two speeds and you will want to choose the lower of the two. Learning to control your drilling speed beyond that, is something that takes practice and an intimate working knowledge of your drill. The more you get to know it’s quirks and habits, and yes every drill has a unique set of these in my opinion, the more you can whip it into submission and force it to behave.

This bad boy has an auto sense technology that actually allows you to work at the highest RPM’s without worry of overdriving your screw. Since it’s automatic clutch stops the drill the second it’s flush with the material it should keep you from stripping your screw after the fact, splitting your wood, or damaging your work (at least during the fastening process).

This also likely helps with my problem which is those pesky screws that stop too short or get stuck in a tricky spot like a hidden knot. I have this happen more often than I do any sort of damage to my work from a screw slipping in so easily I drive it right through my surface.

The Taming of the Screw // 3 Tips To Help You Avoid Stripping Your Screws

When you are working with a standard drill, something that will help you tremendously if you are consistently stripping your screws is to turn down your torque. You can do this by adjusting your clutch which is that adjustable numeric dial that sits on your drills collar and runs from 0 or 2 to around 20 or 24. By turning this down, you will be able to decrease the amount of torque your drill will apply before it disengages and your drill’s strength won’t overpower the job at hand. I liken this to my first experience on a wave runner at the ripe age of 13 or like when you jump behind the wheel of a vehicle on a ride of some sort (go cars, jet skis, etc) and pull on that throttle and take off flying down your straightaway at a speed you weren’t expecting? Your legs are practically flapping in the wind behind you but you are moving so fast that you almost can’t do anything but let go in order to make it stop. Ya, that is a bit like what happens with your drill. Turn down your torque, turn down your speed. Slow your roll my friends…

So this drill has an anti-strip feature which essentially means you shouldn’t have to worry about this. It would be glorious not to worry about this because it is actually quite tiresome to work like this and makes for a difficult time trying to balancing a low enough torque and speed to keep my screw head intact with high enough torque and speed to drive my screw with enough ease that I’m not a tired wreck after 30 minutes. It is a bit like a dance, a very complicated dance of the worst kind. ha

Another thing I do to tame the screw is avoid purchasing any screws (aside from pocket hole screws) that are silver in color. I only buy the brass or gold colored screws or the black coarse thread screws (these are technically drywall screws, but they work famously in soft woods). Now let me preface this by saying the gold screws are not more expensive. In fact sometimes they are less expensive, but for whatever reason they hold up much better than their silver galvanized counterparts.

I experience far, far, far less screw head tear out and stripping from this alone. Aside from perhaps getting a Smart Drill, this is my number one suggestion to you.

We are currently hosting a giveaway for a BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium Cordless Drill/Driver with AutoSense Technology, if you would like to win your very own one of these beauties…

For other helpful tips and tricks, visit our Getting Started section, Tips + Tricks section and our Tool Time section. We will be building these up quite a bit in the near future and I hope you find this helpful my friends!

Thanks to BLACK+DECKER for sponsoring today’s discussion! Kinda loving that it gave us some fabulous blog fodder and an awesome topic to chat about.

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