How to Drive Long Screws

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Introduction: How to Drive Long Screws

I have always used a drill to drive screws.  However, screws longer than 2 1/2 inches often strip out before I can get them driven all the way in.  Up until now I’ve always avoided 3 inch and longer screws unless I really needed them.  Then one day I saw a video of someone driving a 4 inch screw with an impact driver.  That looked way too easy.  I had to have one of those.

Naturally, as soon as I had one, I had to try out driving the 4 inch screws, so I went to the local hardware store and bought some just to try them out.  This may be the smallest and lightest of all my power tools, but I think it’s my new favorite!

If you are still having trouble driving long screws, or simply aren't going to buy an impact driver, try scraping the screws along a bar of soap wax or buy pre-lubricated screws.  (Soap is hydrophilic and will draw water around the screw, thanks ringai.)  That has helped me in the past, but no where near as much as the impact driver.

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    12 Comments

    In addition to the impact driver I highly recommend star head screws. They greatly reducing stripping over philips. They cost more but you make that up in time saved.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Deck-Mate-8-x-2-in-Star-Flat-Head-Wood-Deck-Screws-5-lb-Pack-735064/202308668

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    Just when you thought ya had all the tools you need.....well not really but this just moved up the list near number one. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks. I'm glad I could inspire you to try one. I love it.

    Soap is caustic so it is not the best thing to put on metal, use wax. Drilling a pilot hole can help a lot and screws actually hold stronger in the correct size pilot hole too because you damage the wood fibers less.

    Good points, pfred2. Thanks.

    You can also try using a bar of soap to lubricate the screw, making it easier to drive. Can also try buying better bits that have texture that better grab the screw. Lastly, it may be the drill you are using, I have a two speed Dewalt combo hammer drill that has a low speed setting that makes the biggest improvement when driving long bolts.

    However, impact drivers are pretty slick and wished I had one!

    Thanks cklug2. I've had varying results with different drills. I just found the impact driver worked so much better I had to let people know. If someone told me they were going to buy a drill, I'd tell them to get an impact driver and a chuck for it instead.

    Good info, thanks for sharing it.

    Thanks. The impact driver works so much better than a drill or even a hammer drill I felt I had to let people know.