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I’m installing 12 hinges today on a collapsible bookcase and about half of them are in tight quarters where no drill can go, and screwdrivers are no picnic, either.

To make the job easier, I like to cut the screw threads in the pilot holes before assembling things. And because I have 72 screws to install before lunch, I’ll speed up the process with a drill/driver.

The screws are brass and slotted, so they don’t want to stick to the magnetic slotted bit in my drill. So I taped the screw to the bit and finished wrapping the tape at exactly the distance where I wanted to stop screwing. So the tape worked like both tape and a depth stop.

Cutting the screw threads before assembly makes a huge difference when installing brass screws, and taping the screw to the drill made 72 holes easy to do in a few minutes.

— Christopher Schwarz


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Showing 14 comments
  • drsmith

    Another similar tip: When you’re having trouble getting screws into tight spaces, use a tiny bit of poster tack putty to temporarily hold the screw on the end of the driver. You can use the same trick to retrieve screws from recessed holes after they’ve been unscrewed. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years – works great.

  • JohnFT

    Since brass screws have a tendency to shear off at the most inappropriate time I have done this many times.
    How ever what I have done is purchased steel screws of the same size to use as my threading tool. The blue tape is a good trick for a lot of things like this. This frees up a hand to do other things that might be needed.

  • Ed O

    Great advice. This is another reason for me to love blue tape, just when I thought I couldn’t love it any more!

  • JWatriss

    Blue tape improves your screwing?

    “That’s what she said.”


  • johnbrownmd

    You’re even sharpening your screwdrivers?

  • Jennie Alexander

    Jennie here
    Computer Mthat we could oist images?an is acting up. I never saw this post until this morning And never logged in. .
    I did have a birthday and the planets are alignedt. Don’t recall when I last drove a screw! OR a car.
    I wentyu Spell Check on this bblloogg for Christmas. Would also suggest that Computer Man let us put up images.

  • cagenuts

    Lee Valley sells a screw holder for this exact situation. It’s only $12.50.

    Nice tip though Chris.

  • The Cabinetmaker in the Rye

    Or you could just do like everybody here and use Robertson screws that stay on the driver by themselves. ;o)

  • Edward in Vancouver

    I’ve always used brass machine screws for hinges. LV sells the screws and taps. You drill and tap the hole and screw the machine screw in. No one can tell if it is a machine screw or not, and they hold a lot better than wood screws–even in softwoods.

    But the blue tape screw holder is a keeper, I’ll be using that one from now on, thanks!

  • Charlie Simpson

    Man that’s two good ideas. I’ve always had trouble with brass screws, but I never thought to cut the threads before assembly. D’oh!

  • Jonathan Szczepanski

    I don’t know how many times blue tape has gotten me out of a sticky wicket in the workshop. Blue tape… it’s like the duct tape of the workshop.

  • navajosh

    I’m not sure I understand cutting screw threads in this way. Does it mean you are drilling in a screw and then removing it to leave behind the grooves for the remaining screws for the tight assembly?

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