Dry Wall Screws

Drywall screws have become one of the most important tools of the motion picture industry. They do much less damage to wood, they are easier to remove and can even be reused. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Always check if the screw sticks out the back of joined material. The tips are like razor blades for people handling the materials. Screw them in at an angle to reduce the depth they go in.

2. Remove all screws from recycled material. Back out sharp tipsof screws in structures that might be reattached later.

3. These screws don't bend like a nail, they break. If the head of the screw breaks off it can be difficult to remove both the head portion and the broken tip. If you remove all but one screw, sometimes the attached parts can be twisted apart. You can drill along side of a broken screw to make the parts come apart easier. Vice grip pliers will usually remove the headless part if you can get a grip on it.

4. If you have to leave a broken screw in a piece of wood, label the screw with a felt pen so that someone doesn't destroy a saw blade by cutting into it. The screws are very hard.

5. If you bend a screw, throw it away.

6. If you even slightly strip out the slots in the head of a screw, throw it away.

7. If the screw-driving bit gets warn at all, throw it away.

8. If you insert the screwdriver bit into the screw at the correct angle it will tighten or loosen easier. Short drywall bits within a magnetic holder have some play and seem to find the correct angle better.

9. Use screws with no threads near the head to allow the upper piece of wood to pull against the bottom piece.

10. If you are trying to remove screws and you can't see the correct angle for the bit, use a flashlight.

11. Select dry wall screw driving tips with serrations on the sides of the 4 bits, they help the blades grip the screw slots better.

12. Position yourself so that you can apply enough torque to keep the bit engaged in the head of the screw. The harder the screw drives, the harder you have to push.

13. Storing and returning screws to their proper size bins will save a lot of time later.

14. Having many different lengths of screws handy saves a lot of time.

15. When attaching metal to wood, the head can break off if screw is at an angle or is off-center to the hole in the metal.

16. It is helpful to have various lengths of screwdriver bit holders. I use a 12-inch long Irwin 1/4" bit extension. You have to sand the bit shank down to fit. The setscrew keeps the bit from turning.

17. For set pieces that are attached to others, consider placement of screws to facilitate easy removal of separate parts.

18. Variable speed screw guns are helpful especially when backing out screws. Apply pressure at the correct angle and start slowly. Once the screw is moving, pick up speed. If you strip out the slots in the screw head you will be sorry.

19. When driving screws initially, keep in mind ease of removal.

20. Label the position of screws in blind places with a felt pen to facilitate removal.

21. Try to avoid burying the head of screws in soft wood. It will be hard to remove. Use the adjustable clutch on the screw gun to drive the screw only as far as you want.

22. Drilling the top piece of wood will allow the screw to make a better grip to the bottom piece and will allow the screw to drive easier.

23. Two separate drills, one for the drill and one for the screw bit, avoids the time it takes time to change bits.

24. Treat all dry wall screws as you would razor blades.

25. When you attach soft material such as Celotex to plasterboard, use screws with complete threads to make removal easier. Screws with no threads near the head will just spin.

26. When tacking up temporary boards to existing walls use only the number of screws needed to reduce repair to the walls when you are through.

27. To avoid problems with hardwood, pilot drill holes. It is easy to break a screw.

28. Don't use drywall bits of a smaller size than the screws.

29. Keep extra bits and holders around to save time looking for them.

Just a few suggestions.

© Copyright 2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.