Many people enjoy working with wood and building their own projects from scratch. Having a good understanding of how-to select the correct screws when working with wood is crucial. Because woodworking is one of the most popular hobbies around the world there are many magazines and shows devoted to this subject which offer good advice.
People who are adept with their hands and are not afraid of the challenge, often opt to take on large woodworking projects such as building a log cabin or adding a wooden deck or gazebo to their home. But many woodworkers stick with smaller, simple projects, such as building log furniture.
Building log furniture is a very satisfying way to create something from nature with your own hands. Having the right tools is very important for successfully completing any project that is made by hand. Most people who enjoy working with wood are informed about the kinds of tools that are required, so they can safely engage in their hobby. One of the things that can be a bit tricky however, is to know what size and type of screws to use to hold the furniture together. The following are a few tips to make the selection process easier.
How to determine the size and length of screws to use
The answer to this question is not always cut and dried, but here are a few easy guidelines to follow. The main idea is to use screws that are stout enough and long enough to enable log pieces to hold together securely. The screws should not be so large as to split the wood, or be so long that screw tips poke out through the back of the log piece.
Screw Length and Width
The screw fasteners need enough thread so that the pieces of wood hold together securely. The length of thread is determined by the amount of pressure that is going to be applied to the logs while being used. A chair takes a lot of pressure when someone sits on it, while a wooden chest may only hold a few lightweight blankets. If the item receives lateral pressure forces, a thicker screw or lag bolt needs to be used.
If the pressure applied to the furniture can cause the logs to separate, ample screw threads have to be inserted into the receiving log. The log receiving the pressure should get at least 1 to 1-1/2 inch of screw thread. If this is too long and causes the screw to poke through the back, this will have to be compensated for by using a larger number of shorter screws instead.
Wood Grain Matters
The number and length of screws used is also affected by the grain of the wood. Screws needed to attach wood across the grain do not need to be as long as those that are put into end grain. Screwing into end grain generally requires at least 2 inches of thread inserted into the wood.
Selecting the Proper Screw Driver
While having the correct screws for your log furniture is important, using the proper screwdriver is critical. Screw drivers are designed to match the specific screw being used. For most tasks, #8 deck-type, Philips-head screws can be used. In pieces where strength is not a big issue it is perfectly adequate to use 1 to 1-1/4 inch flat-head screws.
Larger screws such as 2-1/2 inch deck screws or 3-inch screws are a good idea to have on hand for thicker pieces of wood or logs. If the furniture is going to be heavily used and the screws require extra strength, 1/4-diameter lag screws or lag-bolts are the perfect choice. Most lag-bolts will require a wrench or socket to be properly fastened.
Drill Pilot Holes
Since log furniture is meant to be decorative and look attractive, most woodworkers try to avoid inserting the screws directly into the wood without first pre-drilling a hole that can later be covered. Failing to drill small pilot-holes the length of the screw can cause the wood to splinter and break off when the screw is inserted.
The pilot-hole should be long enough to make sure that the counter-sink is at least flush to the surface of the wood. Keep in mind, there is a screw for every job and there are many companies that sell quality screws for all building and woodworking requirements.