Once I was introduced to Big Timber’s Gold Star screws, I have never wanted to use anything else. I like to keep all of the sizes I use regularly lined up on a storage dresser in my shop.
So what makes these screw so great you might ask? Well for a lot of us our first experience driving a screw with a drill was something of a frustrating experience. They were probably Phillips head screws (the ones with a + on the top), and it might have been a corded drill, or something gutless like an old Black and Decker that never quite finished the job. If it was a corded drill, it possibly stripped the + before you got it very far and then you had to try to get it back out.
Using a present day cordless impact drill will lessen your frustration significantly. The one I use is a 20 volt DeWalt, you can defiantly get by with a lot less power, and there are many good brands such as Makita, Milwaukee, Hitachi etc . My husband bought this one for me as part of a set that included a circular saw and wanted to have enough power for it to run easily. This makes for a rather heavy drill, but I’ve gotten used to it and like it.
Using and impact drill makes a difference when your screw starts to meet a little more resistance. The drill then starts to “ratchet” the screw the rest of the way. With the old plug-in drills, this is the point where you either got the screw in by backing it out and going in at a run, or stripped the head and started to cry. Well, maybe not cry out loud. Curse under your breath might be more accurate.
Switching to a screw with a “star” on the head will resolve the rest of your former frustration of trying to build with screws. These screw don’t strip out nearly as often and go right in if you’re using an impact drill.
Another nice feature of Big Timber’s screws is the self-drilling tips. That is what the groove you see at the ends is for.
If you are lucky to live by a non-big chain hardware store that stocks these, then they probably also stock the corresponding bits that you can buy out of a jar. They come color coded and hold up better than the ones I have found at Lowe’s and Home Depot. The metal is different and they don’t break as often.
The size of bit you need is right on the container, in no time you’ll know whether the screw size you’re driving requires a green or purple bit.
I’m sure there are other brands of “star” head screw out there. You can find them in the decking section at the big-box stores. You’ll pay for them though, the big containers I buy are between $20-$25 each and they have a lot of screws in them.
You might have better luck at a local lumber yard that isn’t a national chain. They might even consider stocking these if they don’t already have a similar product.
Happy building! I promise if you switch to a cordless impact drill and and star head screws, building things out of 2×4’s, 1x’s and plywood will no longer be a frustrating experience!!
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