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Thread: I know this has been discussed before

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    I know this has been discussed before

    but, a quick search didn't find the answer... what do you guys use for screws on faceplates? I was using the #12 sheet metal screws, but tonight I twisted the heads off of 3 out of 8... 1 putting the screws in and 2 taking them out... these are hex head sheet metal screws and I have used them a few times... do you re-use screws and use new ones each time? Now I have to spend part of tomorrow digging the broken screws out of a perfectly good bowl blank.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  2. #2
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    Chuck one thing that i learnt on this forum was to use wax. Ordinary parafin wax makes screws go in much easier and lubricates the path. You just scratch the threads on the wax and go to it and you would not believe the difference it makes to the screw going into the wood.

    This applys to any wood not just on faceplates.

    The other tool galoots used to use was a gimlet. Let the gimlet pilot the hole and then put the screw in. I was lucky i had a hand me down given me by my dad.

    You can get them at Lee Valley today just without the nice wood handle

    I was also taught that a bradawl would do a job at making a hole but this i was taught worked best in softwoods where you just push it in and turn it sideways. But thats more for a pilot hole.

    Lee Valley has a square one they claim best for hardwoods.

    I dont know about that. Some hardwoods i have had in my hands wont be dented by that awl.

    Hope this helps give you some ideas.
    cheers

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Ellis View Post
    do you re-use screws and use new ones each time? (
    Chuck,

    I'm superstitious. I never reuse them. I've got a big old broken turned bowl, and I toss the old ones in there, for one-off projects.

    I'm so superstitious that if I even drop one on the floor, off it goes, into the bowl...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  4. #4
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    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
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    I have never had a McFeeley's screw break. I do not think Glenn has either.
    I have broken other make screws. Glenn is a heck of a lot stronger than me. He has broken a lot of screws from the Big Boxes.

    Are your face plate holes countersunk? If so a proper type of screw for a countersunk hole would be torqued evenly whereas a screw, like a sheet metal screw, that has a flat shoulder could have more pressure on one side than the other when being inserted into a tapered hole.

    That's my 2 cents worth. Hope it helped you.

    Enjoy,
    Jim

    It is rare for me to drive a woodscrew that is not lubricated. My first choice is bee's wax. This is sometimes available as a toilet bowl installation ring. The synthetic toilet bowl ring goo seems to work well also. Glenn prefers it. Pardon the expression, but it is "snottier" than wax. It would be easier to get it where you don't want it. It does work easier. Glenn uses it and he is particular.

    The wax that is around certain kinds of cheese works well also. If I am desperate, I will use candle wax. Candle wax does not stay on the screw as well as the other waxes I mentioned.
    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 09-07-2011 at 05:12 AM. Reason: Extend the post
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  5. #5
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    Chuck, I use the same as you...#12 hex head sheet metal screws. I think mine are 2 1/4" or 2 1/2" long. I use an impact driver to put the screws in. I never remember to use wax, but it's a good idea. I'll use a screw a time or two, but once they start to look a bit worn I toss them or set them aside for non-critical projects. The only one I've ever broken was a used one.

    When I was doing structural steel inspection, I was told the ironworkers were not allowed not re-use a bolt after it had been torqued. It's my understanding that each time a threaded fastener is torqued, it loses some of its strength. There was one large overhead sign above the roadway at an airport that I inspected where I found that about half of the bolts had not been properly torqued. I flunked the whole installation and made them replace (and properly torque) all the bolts in the structure.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
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    and soap

    Chuck one thing that i learnt on this forum was to use wax. Ordinary parafin wax makes screws go in much easier and lubricates the path. You just scratch the threads on the wax and go to it and you would not believe the difference it makes to the screw going into the wood.
    Yep! thats what I do as well, although I dont do a lot of faceplate work. But you can also use soap, I have used toilet soap on many occaisions especially if its a bit soft. Does the same job and its easier to find some days than my block of wax

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    yeah each time you torque a scew or bolt you are stretching the steel. Think of bending a piece of metal back and forth repeatedly until it breaks. You are on the same principle.
    Also, using any screw in a faceplate is only going to suck it in so far against the wood before breaking the heads. (I have this happen all the time installing leaf hinges in hardwood with a powerdriver set on one of the lowest settings) I have even had it happen putting them in with the original cordless screwdriver. Almost as soon as the head contacts the, in my case, leaf of the hinge, *snap! This would be less so with the heavier screws you are using but still be relative to the amount of torque you are applying.

    You really need to set them by hand, at least to tighten them and only make them tight don't force it. In this type of application the joint where the shank meets the head is the weakest part. And screws that small are not going to suck the faceplate into the wood.
    Another way to go about it, still by hand is not to tighten them as they go in but to put them on the same way you would replace a valve cover or oil pan, etc. alternate tightening so they work together. Even if you only have 3 in your fp still alternate. Otherwise what can happen is the first screw draws the fp in tight but may even suck it a little into the wood then the second screw draws the other side of the fp in but where it sucked in on the other side acts as a fulcrum excerting even more stress on the head of that screw. It may not break right then and there but the stress remains and thus when you add the strain of turning then the resistance of the cutter.....

    Also, make sure the pilot hole is just a little deeper than the length of the screw. If it bottoms out in hardwood that can snap the head as well.

    Sorry to be so verbose.... I just finished my second cup of coffee and its kicking in.....

  8. #8
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    Thanks all for the info... I guess I need to give up on some of my tight grip on the wallet and buy some new screws... I bought these at the local country hardware store and not sure of the quality, but I've been using them for a while... I put them down with an 18 volt power driver, so I probably need to dial back on the torque a little also... I hate digging the broken screws out of my bowl blanks... it's a real PAIN in places best not mentioned on a family site. I haven't tried the wax idea before, but definitely will... the blank last night was a piece of green slippery elm... pretty heavy and only been cut about 30 days...
    Rich, I always alternate opposite sides of the face plate and rarely use a pilot hole... maybe I need to...
    Appreciate all the good answers.
    Last edited by Chuck Ellis; 09-07-2011 at 01:31 PM.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Cape Cod, Ma.
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    Pilot holes FTW every time. And you may consider getting one of these. It's saved my bacon a few times!

    http://www.amazon.com/Alden-8530P-Gr...5405798&sr=8-5

    There are a myriad of them out there. Each for different size screws and bolts. Just type screw extractor in the search and a whole bunch of sets will come up. Quite reasonabley priced considering the alternative of further damage to a nice blank.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Harrisburg, NC
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    I think you found the easiest answer yourself, turn down the torque. I only use a faceplate with green wood (because I can’t afford dry store-bought wood). I have used the same screws many many times and have not had one break….but I do only snug them up. I do flatten the area to receive the faceplate before installing.

    My 18V Dewalt has enough torque that it feels like it will break my arm if I happen to get a bit caught in ¼” thick steel.. and there is no way to keep the drill in your hand.

    If I were screwing into dry wood then I would pre-drill and maybe use wax.
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

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