Uses for Wood Screws

Updated July 19, 2017

When constructing woodworking projects, you must have the proper fasteners. Knowing that a screw is a wood screw is not enough to know if it is the correct fastener for your project. There are various lengths, gauges, head styles and drive types from which you can make an informed choice.

The Main Use

When you need to fasten two pieces of wood together in a secure manner, the wood screw is the correct choice. One indication that you have chosen a wood screw and not a drywall screw or sheet metal screw is in the threaded portion. Both the drywall and sheet metal screw are threaded from the tip to the head, while a wood screw has a smooth section under the head before the threads begin.

Additional Uses

While wood screws are used to fasten wood pieces securely together, they have another use. You also use wood screws to adhere thin, non-wood items to wood, such as locks, hinges and handles. Here again, you will need to make an informed choice about the type of wood screw to use.

Head Styles and Drives

There are three head types from which to choose. Flathead screws, slightly tapered underneath the head, will be flush with the surface when completely installed. When attaching very thin objects to wood, the best choice is the round-headed wood screw, which is flat under the head. Thin objects do not allow for depression of the screw top. The oval head is tapered underneath, but slightly rounded on top. Additionally their drive will be either a slotted or Phillips head.

The Gauge

Besides head style, the gauge of the screw is also important. The gauge refers to the thread diameter. The thicker the screw, the larger the gauge. Common wood screws come in gauges from six to 12 gauge (one-eighth to one-quarter inch). How your finished product looks depends on your choice of wood screw.


The length of your wood screw is important. You do not want to drive a screw in only to have its tip protrude on the other side. Nor do you want one that does not reach far enough into the second wood piece. Screws are measured from the tip of the screw to the head's widest part. For a flathead screw, that would be the top of the screw, while a round-headed screw would be measured from the tip to the underside of the head.

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About the Author

Cas Schicke is a freelance writer with numerous published articles. Her topics of interest pertain to home and garden issues. Sharing knowledge about the why or how of growing things or useful home information is the main ingredient of Schicke's published articles. Her articles have been published in eHow and GardenGuides.