How to Use a Wood Screw that’s too Short

You’re working away, building whatever it is you’re building, and ready to screw this piece of wood to that one and… oh, rats. The screws are, like, half an inch too short!

Countersinking, my friend! Countersink!

The challenge is to get the screw that is barely as long as wood piece A to make a meaningful connection with wood piece B.

First, measure the length of the too-short screw, and then divide in half. Remember that number.

Choose a bit that is larger than the head of the screw, and mark off half of the screw length with a piece of masking tape.

Find yourself a drill bit that’s slightly larger in diameter than the head of your too-short screw. Measure the drill bit, from the tip to half the length of the screw – that number you were supposed to remember.

Wrap a piece of masking tape around the drill bit at the length, leaving the tip of the bit exposed.

Chuck the bit into your power drill. If you’re new to power drills, this article will help.

Use a larger drill bit, marked with a bit of masking tape, to make the countersink.

Now drill a hole into wood piece A, but stop when the masking tape touches the wood. Back the drill out.

We’ve created our countersink hole.

Choose a bit slightly smaller in diameter than the shaft of the screw.

Find another drill bit, this one slightly smaller than the diameter of your too-short screw. Chuck that into your drill.

Use the smaller bit to drill through the countersink hole and into the second piece.

Put piece of wood B in position behind piece of wood A, and drill through the center of the countersink hole in A until the bit pushes into B.

Drive the screw through the countersink hole and into the second piece.

Now drive your too-short screw down through the countersink hole in A until it hits bottom. Half its length is now in wood piece B

Ta daaaaaa! Nice job! You’re a master countersinker!

Please note: do not do this procedure if you are not certain that you can complete it safely, or if it doesn’t seem accurate. Skippity Whistles provides this information as advice, and cannot accept any liability for your usage of it.


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Published by John D Reinhart

Author, technical writer, videographer, actor, and naval historian John D Reinhart is a very busy guy. You can find his novels as

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