For lubricating screws before driving them home, I’ve used them all: bar soap, liquid soap, wax, even sweat. I’ve also sheared and stripped the heads off more than my fair share of screws.
Recently, I was installing some oak faceframe kitchen cabinets, and when it came time to screw the cabinets together, I looked in my drill case for the bar of Ivory soap. It wasn’t there. Rummaging around, I spied a roll of Teflon plumbers’ tape, and on a whim, I wrapped the tip of a #8, 2-1/2 in. coarse-thread screw with two or three twists of tape. I inserted it into a 1-1/4 in. deep countersunk hole and ran it into the adjacent cabinet. It went into that oak like Sherman through Atlanta. When it came time to mount the cabinets to the wall, I wrapped the factory-supplied #10, 2-1/2 in. pan heads the same way.
I prebored the back of the cabinets and screwed them to the framing—rock-hard Douglas-fir studs—without any pilot holes. I didn’t shear one shaft or strip one screw head. It took several minutes to prepare the screws, but the aggravation avoided is worth at least a couple of cups of coffee on the other end.
Peter Klebaur, Mountainside, NJ
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #153