Best screws ever

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Review by motthunter posted 01-13-2009 05:46 PM 4980 views 2 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Best screws ever No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

No matter how many years I have been driving screws into wood, I still end up stripping the heads every once in a while and or slipping off with my power driver and foolishly marring the wood in a project.

I switched to square drive screws and I have not made a goof like this in ages. I first started using them in pocket hole joinery, but now I use them for everything. There are several sources for these screws but I get mine from McFeeley’s. They have a good selection and prices are good. Just remember to also order the bits to drive them. Usually, the drivers get thrown in when you get a variety pack.

The first time I ordered, I decided to call rather than place a net order so that I could gain confidence in who I was dealing with. The guys who answer their phones are fastener gurus. I was extremely impressed. Nice to see that someone has a call center in the US these days

You can get cheaper screws, but square heads save so much time and prevent screw ups that can ruin a project.

-- making sawdust....

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2141 posts in 4568 days

23 comments so far

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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4791 days

#1 posted 01-13-2009 06:06 PM

The head style you are refering to was originally patented and manufacured by a guy named Robertson here in Canada.
The history of the screw is convoluted with the second world war and some bad judgment on behalf of the US congress when choosing a head for factories during the war. ( hences the proliferation of the god awful philips head)

The best square heads are still made by Roberston and their screws fit the heads so accurately that they can be driven with one hand.
Of the newer additions to the square design I really like the Spax style sold at Lee Valley that conbines both square and philips style togerher with a new design screw body that cuts into the wood much easier.

Why do I know all this trivia? ;-)

As an aside, my cousin made living in the Arizona are peddling Robertsons and screws to electrical contractors 30 years ago.
They had never seen them and went nuts.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4568 days

#2 posted 01-13-2009 06:36 PM

I had hears that they were originally made in Canada.. I wasn’t sure that this was true since I can’t figure out what you use screws for int he production of head cheese and back bacon.. ha ha.

Thanks for the trivia above. It was interesting. I also am no fan of the Phillips head. I guess that I need to thank a Canadian next time I use a screw.

-- making sawdust....

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5084 days

#3 posted 01-13-2009 06:43 PM

The idea of having to use a Phillips head Grabber screw makes me shiver. I’m a big fan of the square head screws.

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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4791 days

#4 posted 01-13-2009 07:02 PM

I used a whole bunch of these last year and they are now on my shortlist.
They drive twice as easy as regular screws and pull the boards down with the larger finer tap on the head end.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View ChesapeakeBob's profile


368 posts in 4252 days

#5 posted 01-13-2009 07:52 PM

I had a long career in hardware. I’m so old, I can remember when only slotted screws were sold and people would absolutely refuse Phillips head screws. Phillips really got going in the mid 1970’s.

-- Chesapeake Bob, Southern Maryland

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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4791 days

#6 posted 01-13-2009 08:43 PM

Seems to my recollection that they took off when the steel stud/drywall construction method became so popular for office construction.
Does that ring a bell with you too Bob?


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4791 days

#7 posted 01-14-2009 02:02 AM

This one makes me pretty happy for case work with MDF.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View matter's profile


210 posts in 4539 days

#8 posted 01-14-2009 06:09 AM

The only place for Philips heads is in drywall. Their inate ability to cam out on high torque lead to the invention of the drywall gun. I tried to swap tips in a drywall gun for robbies to use on decks, but they just won’t cam out before they are set 1/4” below the surface

-- The only easy wood project is a fire

View kalynzoo's profile


7 posts in 4197 days

#9 posted 01-15-2009 12:21 AM

I’ve been using square heads for years, never stripped the head.

-- Gary Kalyn, Kalynzoo Productions

View Microsuffer's profile


52 posts in 4334 days

#10 posted 01-16-2009 02:47 AM

An interesting education on the subject. Wouldn’t have considered squares without reading this. Thanks.

-- "Those are my principals, if you don't like them....I have others." - Groucho Marx

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4568 days

#11 posted 01-16-2009 03:38 AM

who knew that so many would be interested in such a screwy topic?

-- making sawdust....

View firecaster's profile


574 posts in 4188 days

#12 posted 01-17-2009 12:45 AM

A hardware store was my first real job at 16. Worked there until my 30s. I remember when we sold drivers for something called Robertson screws but had never seen a Robertson screw.

We also had a much larger selection of slotted screws than phillips.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View Nic's profile


119 posts in 4242 days

#13 posted 01-17-2009 06:31 PM

i am in agreement with the square drive screws. Started using them with Kregs pocket hole and now use them for everything. The Re-usability is another great factor.

View Karson's profile


35223 posts in 5170 days

#14 posted 01-17-2009 10:07 PM

I remember growing up in Canada and Dad have a wall rack with Robertson Screw Drivers. But he never had the screws. Go figure.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Built2Last's profile


234 posts in 4247 days

#15 posted 01-20-2009 11:46 PM

I built swings for a living before I retired and still build quite a few. I use square drive most of the time and torx when I find a special on them. I have found that people will blame the screw most of the time when they have problems with the rounding out (square drive) when most of the time it’s the bit that causes the problem. Even so called good bits will do this sometimes, so the first thing I do with a bit is either take a fine file or a diamond sharpner and make sure the bit is the same size from the tip to the main body. This will allow the bit to go futher into the screw head most on the time. I usually use Micro-Brite 500 screws, ( I have been finding them a lot latley on e-bay). By taking a couple of minutes with a file I can usually build 10 or more swings with the same bit and never have a problem.

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