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MMD > Archives > May 2004 > 2004.05.01 > 11Prev  Next

Stripped Screw Holes in Wood
By Spencer Chase

Toothpicks have no place around wood screws!

Greetings!  Please, please, please do not use toothpicks to fix
stripped screw holes.  There are many other ways to fix them that other
MMD readers will doubtless offer.

I recently finished restoring a beautiful early Themodist player that
took me many hours longer than I had estimated due to several factors,
but toothpicks were one of them.  Well over 50 screw holes, some in
very difficult to access locations, had been "fixed" with toothpicks;
round ones, no less.  Toothpicks are hardwood and work, sort of, for
a quick fix but they can split the wood around them and make the repair
many times more difficult when it is fixed correctly.

Often the easiest repair is to replace the screw with a longer or
fatter screw, if there is enough wood for it without running into
obstruction or other nasties such as small airways or pouches or other
screws.  If you do use a longer screw, be sure you know where it is
going and make an appropriate pilot hole for it.

My favorite fix for the situation where you can not take the whole
thing apart to replace the cracked wood or worn hole is to use a
stainless steel sheet metal screw of the same call size.  It has no
taper and therefore will grip where the point of the original screw
was.  Drive it in carefully to make sure it is not splitting anything.
If it is too tight, it may need a bigger pilot hole but not likely.

Stainless looks almost like nickel when you polish it and it is still
possible to get slotted screw heads in sheet metal screws.  No round
heads that I have found so far.  If sheet metal screws had been invented
first, I doubt that anyone would have ever used wood screws.  If there
is any good reason to use wood screws, I would love to know what it is,
unless it is just to sell tapered pilot drills.

Best regards,
Spencer Chase
Laytonville, Calif.

(Message sent Sat 1 May 2004, 05:16:56 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Holes, Screw, Stripped, Wood

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