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Thread: Opinions? Using an impact driver for pocket screws

  1. #1

    Opinions? Using an impact driver for pocket screws

    I've found it difficult to adjust the clutch on a drill driver to consistently drive the screw to the right tension. Is an impact driver a good choice for this? Maybe a lower torque model?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    Exactly. I use a 12V impact driver with pocket hole screws. If I use my 18V driver it's easy to break screws or strip them out in the hole. The 12V seems to be perfect for seating the screws w/o breaking them and it has low enough torque that you can stop before stripping them out.

    John

  3. #3
    We use impacts on pocket screws all day long. Its just about technique and operator control. We have a couple small drivers that are slower RPM which are good for someone to tends to over-torque but once you get the timing, and paying attention to the sound down the bigger faster drills are fine. I dont ever worry about which impact I use even in 1/2" ply with 1" screws. Its all about the feel/timing/sound.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  4. #4
    I use 18v Bosch impact drivers for screws - either GKR screws or prefer Spax screws. No problem wth breaking screws . Impact drivers have 1500 lbs. torque.

    Spax screws are heat treated to no. 5 hardness .

    If you go to Spax website - Spax will send you a very helpful sample package.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    I put a piece of tape on the driver and make a line with a sharpie long ways on the driver shaft. That allows me to watch the shaft and see when it slows down. Yes, if you keep driving the point comes out the other side. DAMHIKT. Without that line, I couldn't really tell when the driver was slowing down. With enough practice, I guess you could learn how to tell.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by kent borcherding View Post
    I use 18v Bosch impact drivers for screws - either GKR screws or prefer Spax screws. No problem wth breaking screws . Impact drivers have 1500 lbs. torque.

    Spax screws are heat treated to no. 5 hardness .

    If you go to Spax website - Spax will send you a very helpful sample package.
    Are you buying spax screws for pocket holes? We buy pocket hole screws in bulk. I cant phathom spax could compete on price. Will give it a look.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Iwamoto View Post
    I put a piece of tape on the driver and make a line with a sharpie long ways on the driver shaft. That allows me to watch the shaft and see when it slows down. Yes, if you keep driving the point comes out the other side. DAMHIKT. Without that line, I couldn't really tell when the driver was slowing down. With enough practice, I guess you could learn how to tell.
    If your drilling your pockets correctly and using the right screw for the material (other than extremely soft woods) you should never blow a screw out the other side of the material, and with the correct screw (perhaps less so with fine threads) you should never be able to over-drive the screw. Marking your bit with tape and a marker for depth shouldnt really ever be an issue. The threshold of loose, tight, and way to tight, would never be measurable with a sharpie mark.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    Marking your bit with tape and a marker for depth shouldnt really ever be an issue. The threshold of loose, tight, and way to tight, would never be measurable with a sharpie mark.
    The way I read his post he is using the tape and marker to give him an indication of whether or not the driver bit is turning, not for depth.
    Regards,

    Kris

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    We use impacts on pocket screws all day long. Its just about technique and operator control. We have a couple small drivers that are slower RPM which are good for someone to tends to over-torque but once you get the timing, and paying attention to the sound down the bigger faster drills are fine. I dont ever worry about which impact I use even in 1/2" ply with 1" screws. Its all about the feel/timing/sound.
    What Mark said.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
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    159
    I prefer using a drill/ driver. With an impact driver, it's easy to drive the screw in so fast that it twists the work piece. A drill allows the screw to slowly drill into the material. A 12V impact driver would probably be OK, 18V easily too much.

    But it also depends on how well you can clamp your work pieces. Two narrow face frame pieces are more difficult to keep aligned than two large boards.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Crystal Lake, IL
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    516
    I use my 18V Milwaukee with no problems ever. I use quality screws, Kreg, with fine thread, and self drilling. Square drive. I've never had a blowout or a cracked face frame. They snug up nice and stop.
    Jeff

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    I cannot comment on how pro's do it, but as a hobbyist I have driven thousands of pocket screws, and I have had some strip out pine or plywood. I now use a 12V compact screw gun or impact, and just snug them. Then I go back and tighten them by hand with a T handle screwdriver.

    This gives even a dummy like me a good feel for how tight to go, and is still plenty quick enough for hobby work.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  13. #13
    12v driver

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    NE Connecticut
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    We use impacts on pocket screws all day long. Its just about technique and operator control. We have a couple small drivers that are slower RPM which are good for someone to tends to over-torque but once you get the timing, and paying attention to the sound down the bigger faster drills are fine. I dont ever worry about which impact I use even in 1/2" ply with 1" screws. Its all about the feel/timing/sound.
    I agree with Mark. I use an 18v impact driver for everything from pocket screws to lag screws. It doesn't take long to learn the sounds and feel of the driver to get the results you want. If anything, I think there is more control with an impact driver than with a drill.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Coffee City, Texas
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    169
    My 18V Milwaukee has three torque/speed ranges although I tend to leave it on the highest setting. It will destroy a frame and drive screws right through softwood if I'm not careful, but my view is that the larger capacity tool that can also do more delicate work is usually preferable. If you are only ever going to use it to drive very small hardware, a 12V impact driver might be worth looking at. I built my shop from the ground up with the 18V impact and I haven't yet felt the need to buy a smaller tool to gain extra control. I recommend the brushless models. Far more expensive, but worth it IMO. In either case, to answer your question OP yes, an impact driver will serve you better than a drill when driving screws.
    Dojo Kun, 1: Be humble and polite.

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