Screwing: Just say no? - diyAudio
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Old 5th July 2009, 09:45 PM   #1
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Default Screwing: Just say no?

I am back surveying my garage and tools to begin making new equipment to listen to after a hiatus of 30 years. A few recent trips to Lowes, and the neighborhood hardware store show case lots of new tools and adhesives.

I must be getting more particular with age. More exact rather than more lazy, I like to think, because now I can't imagine working without a table saw and router. (Though I think these RotoZip (Dremels on steroids) are quite spanky.

Every loudspeaker I have built in the past was birthed with merely a Skill saw, electric hand drill, and files in the delivery room. Now there are more choices that are appealing. And arguably more resources with less hard choices.

But as I read and go down the rabbit holes of these threads I have been hearing a lot of discussion about not using screws. No prohibitions exactly, so much as some pride of accomplishment. There are more clamps out there now than Carter has liver pills, which is great. I imagine the adhesives are more advanced and trustworthy than Elmer's white glue. But what performance differences would there be if one were forsworn from screwing.

What is current de rigueur for fastening wood joints and why would one not use both screws and wood? (Unless it is assumed that cabinet=MDF and MDF doesn't hold screws worth a flip.)

I am looking for a construction thread of "best practices" in general but on fasteners in particular as I plan my first project back in the delivery room.
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Old 5th July 2009, 10:10 PM   #2
Henkjan is offline Henkjan  Netherlands
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there's the fact that you'll allways see the screws through the paint....
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Old 5th July 2009, 10:18 PM   #3
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Less forgiving of alignment, I suppose.
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Old 5th July 2009, 10:36 PM   #4
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Old 5th July 2009, 10:48 PM   #5
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Screws are really terrible in MDF, and they tend to strip out when driven perpendicular and split the stuff when driven from the edge. So, not so secure. Plywood is better, but still a few screws are no match for some good glue.

More importantly some kind of mechanical joint. Even a simple rabbet adds a huge mechanical strength to a joint. I'm not any kind of expert in speaker design, but it seems to me that having all the sides of the box joined so they're acting together as one solid piece, not as six separately wobbling sides has got to be better.

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Old 6th July 2009, 01:56 AM   #6
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Screwing is good. Specifically I like the expensive stainless steel screws Lowe's sells- the ones with the hex bit right in each box. They're designed not to pull out (not pulling out is good) in soft or difficult conditions. They're about $8, just like downtown as the saying goes. If everybody can see that you've screwed, go a bit deeper and use plugs or spot putty.
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Old 6th July 2009, 02:23 AM   #7
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Default Screws in MDF

My best tip is to pre-drill the hole you want to put the screw into when using any man-made material. The root diameter of the screw is a good place to start.

Been at this for more than 20 years and used just about every method under the sun. Screws are quick and can be very strong if used in conjunction with the right glue.


P.S. for some tips on construction methods that are a bit different check out the thread I posted on Tapped horn for car. It uses a combination of methods.
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Old 6th July 2009, 02:24 AM   #8
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Originally posted by Henkjan
there's the fact that you'll allways see the screws through the paint....
Wood filler + sandable filler primer make them invisible under paint.

Other people have had good results with Bondo which does not shrink when it dries and should therefore work with one coat.

Eschewing screws does allow for more finish options like a clear finish (shellac and/or clear lacquer) on top of Baltic Birch.
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Old 6th July 2009, 02:30 AM   #9
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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OK Conrad, I'll look for them. Do you use a shank pilot hole in the board they go through?

I find it hard to get the pieces to pull together without a big pilot hole for the shank.
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Old 6th July 2009, 02:34 AM   #10
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I don't own one of those combo drill sets, but I do drill two sizes of hole to accommodate the (non-existent in some sizes) shank. I believe it gives you more pulling power at the joint if the threads don't engage the top piece, but then I believe all sorts of nonsense.
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