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DIY Tips: What Is A Smooth Shank Screw?

Quite a few DIY enthusiasts don't know the difference between a full-thread screw and a smooth-shank screw and when you would use a smooth-shank screw, so we will enlighten you.




Smooth-shank screws, as shown above, should be used when joining two pieces of wood or board together.


At the DIY-Divas workshop yesterday morning, all the guys and gals made a tool caddy to take home with them. During the assembly process, quite of few of the guys and gals had problems with gaps appearing when joining wood to wood. This is a common occurrence but unless you do something about it, it will spoil a woodworking project.










Anyone who uses a Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig will be familiar with smooth-shank screws as most pocket-hole screws have a smooth shank at the top end of the screw. There is a good reason for this and it is the primary reason why smooth-shank screws should be used when joining wood to wood or joining two pieces of wood together.


All Kreg pocket-hole screws have a smooth-shank and for good reason!



A screw that has a smooth shank at the top end is designed to stop spinning in the first piece of wood while the threaded end pulls the second piece of wood that is being joined towards the first piece creating zero gaps and a tight join. It makes sense when you look closely at the screw and you can imagine how it does not spin in the first board. When you are joining two pieces of wood together always use smooth shank screws. That's why Kreg pocket-hole screws have a smooth shank and why you should use smooth shank screws to make a project that is sturdy and has no gaps between the joins.









Now that you know the purpose of a smooth-shank screw it is important to know how to achieve a strong join when using a smooth-shank screw. If you are holding the two pieces of wood being joined, you are not able to apply enough pressure manually to hold the two pieces together while you drive in the screw. What can happen is that, instead of pulling the two pieces tightly together, the second piece is pushed away and leaves a gap. If the two pieces are clamped this will not happen but can happen when manually hold the wood pieces in place.



To remedy the situation should a gap occur, loosen the screw until the gap is gone and then tighten again, holding the pieces firmly together. Always check for gaps when driving in the first screw so that you can reverse and rectify the situation.


Clamping the pieces prevents any gaps between the two pieces of wood that is being joined together.








Having an adjustable corner clamp is like having an extra pair of hands, plus they hold the joining pieces firmly together while you drill pilot holes, countersink and drive in screws. A definite 'must-have' for DIY-Divas who aren't able to hold the boards manually while working.








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