Monthly Archives: May 2016

General Rules about which size screws and in what direction

Sometimes there is some confusion about which size screws to choose from.  Typically, you have 1”, 1 ¼”, 1 5/8”, 2”, 2 ½” and 3” screws.

What Direction?

First, you should know what boards are being screwed together and in what direction.  Makes sense.

Always screw through the lesser board into the greater board.  In other words, screw through the thinner width to connect the thicker board.  For example, if you were to screw a 1×4 into a 2×4, you should screw through the 1×4 to enter into the 2×4.

This is not only structural, but very smart.

What Size?

If you are screwing into a 2×4, then you want to use 3” screws.

In this case, the 3” screw goes through the 2×4 on the 2” side (or more precisely, the 1 ½” side.)

If you want to screw together two 1×4 boards, then you use a 1 58” screws.   In this case, the 1 5/8” screw goes through the 1×4 on the 1” side (or more precisely, the ¾” side.)

A carpenter should always choose a screw that is at least twice the width of the board.  3” screws should be used to connect 2x4s and 2x6s.   1 5/8” screws should be used to connect 1x4s and 1x6s.  1 ¼” screws should be used to screw through something that is ½” thick.  1” screws should be used to connect anything less than that.

And as always, make sure the screw is not too long so that it pokes out from the back.  A pointy screw would be unsafe to precious hands.  It would have to be grinded off, which would make the screw useless in the long run and will also reduce your structural integrity for whatever project.

But you also don’t want to use a screw that is too terribly long.  If you use a 3” screw to attach a ½” board to a 2×4, the smooth head will be the only part holding the ½” board together.

Look at a 3” screw.  There is a long portion of it that is smooth and has no threads towards the screw’s head.

You don’t want that.  You want those threads to be a part of keeping the boards tight.  So choose something smaller.

I certainly hope this helps.  Keep building!


Basic Rules about Building a Frame

Building frames is the basic element in most construction.  Your house, apartment, deck and other projects are built with many frames put together to make boxes or floors or whatever.

The first basic rule: your short end of the frame will cap your longer ends.

What do you mean?

If you are building a frame that is 4 feet by 8 feet(4×8), your 4 foot boards will cap your 8 foot boards, or in this case, 7’9″ boards.

         The reason the board is 7’9″ and not 8’0″ is to compensate for the 1 1/2″ from each 4′ board on each end.  In combination, they add up to 3″ and therefore subtract that 3″ from the 8’0″ boards.  Therefore: 7’9″.

You want to make a perfect 4×8 frame.

Rightly so, if you are building a frame from 1x4s, you need to subtract 1 1/2″ from your shorter boards.  Such as, the 4×8 frame would have 2 boards at 4’0″ and 2 boards at 7’10 1/2″.

However, it is not always the case to have your short ends cap the longer boards.  In some cases, it is wiser to have your longer boards cap the shorter ones.  When your longer side is expected to hold weight, the longer boards should cap the shorter boards.

The reason for this: You want the weight to push against the boards and not burden or stress the screws that are connecting your boards.

Good luck with your projects!


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