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Thread: Self-drilling Wood Screws - good source?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Left Coast
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    Self-drilling Wood Screws - good source?

    After drilling lots of pilot holes over the years, both in hardwood and softwood lumber, and those years making that task less fun that it once was, is there a source anyone has for good quality self-drilling general purpose steel wood screws in the common sizes? The only ones I can find up here (Canada) are mostly construction screws that are in lengths I would almost never use.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

    Joe H.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    Do you really want a drill grind on the end of the screw, or something like a SPAX screw that has a modified thread to almost act like a drill? Big box stores around here sell SPAX.

  3. #3
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    Inkerman, Ontario, Canada
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    811
    + 1 for SPAX

  4. #4
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    Feb 2003
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    McKean, PA
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    13,423
    I've switched to Spax screws. I like the Torx drive and the higher strength. In really hard wood such as hickory I still drill pilot holes and countersinks to avoid potential spitting.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  5. #5
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    Apr 2013
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    Okotoks AB
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    Lee Valley used to have a very good selection of screws, including Spax. They still do carry these.

    https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop...rilling-screws

    I use them & they are quite good, better than any I've gotten at a big box store.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    59
    I agree on the Spax. Definitely easy since they are widely available (in the US). However the selection is somewhat limited in the shorter lengths (especially if prefer something besides Phillips...which I do).

    I have recently become partial to McFeely's square drive: https://www.mcfeelys.com/fsl. I like the positive fit of the Robertson/square drive which makes it easier to get things started with only one hand free and no pilot hole.
    Last edited by Patrick Varley; 04-05-2021 at 8:40 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Varley View Post
    I agree on the Spax. Definitely easy since they are widely available (in the US). However the selection is somewhat limited in the shorter lengths (especially if prefer something besides Phillips...which I do).

    I have recently become partial to McFeely's square drive: https://www.mcfeelys.com/fsl. I like the positive fit of the Robertson/square drive which makes it easier to get things started with only one hand free and no pilot hole.
    +1 to McFeeley's square drive.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  8. #8
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    Wayland, MA
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    I've never seen a "self drilling" screw that actually clears material out of the hole to make room for the mass of the screw. Hence they still crack wood that is subject to such things. I'll continue to pre-drill holes to avoid the frustration of split parts near the end of the project.

    The quality of the readily available "construction screws" from the likes of Spax and Deckmate has certainly dramatically improved over the last two decades. The Torx drive is a marvelous innovation.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
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    2,097
    We use wood screws with a type 17 tip in SPF door jambs that are otherwise prone to splitting. They work very well. The Link Frank Pratt included above has screws that feature this tip style.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    56,630
    Spax or GRK for me. Both are readily available from local sources.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    Edmonton, Canada
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  12. #12
    Spax or GRK are the only fasteners I've used for years. The contractor who did our composite decking used square-drive screws and I have been totally unimpressed with those as I try to snug them up.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  13. #13
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    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    I've never seen a "self drilling" screw that actually clears material out of the hole to make room for the mass of the screw. Hence they still crack wood that is subject to such things. I'll continue to pre-drill holes to avoid the frustration of split parts near the end of the project.

    The quality of the readily available "construction screws" from the likes of Spax and Deckmate has certainly dramatically improved over the last two decades. The Torx drive is a marvelous innovation.
    I think these would drill out the hole. https://www.amazon.com/12x2-1-Reamer...a-883314655431

  14. #14
    Are Spax ever available in bulk? The only places I've seen them locally are in expensive small packages.

    I can get GRK locally in bulk and have been using them almost exclusively for the last 10 years or so. The anti-corrosion coating is overkill for interior but I like being able to have just one screw type I can grab for any project as I do plenty of exterior projects as well, which probably eat up most of the screws. They're softer so they don't break easily and are cuttable with a side cutters, unlike hardened screws.

    GRK used to offer #6 screws in longer lengths (maybe up to 1 3/4?) but lately I can't find them over 1 1/4", which has me looking for alternatives.

    Alan

  15. #15
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    Apr 2008
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
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    GRK screws are great and used a few thousands for my past projects but expensive/overkill for most projects I think.
    I buy large gars (500) of various sizes of the ones I listed and they have been as good as GRK screws for me.

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