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Driving Screws into Tough Wood

By Remodelando la Casa on Jan 11, 2013

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Last weekend I began working on one more project for the master bedroom—some beams on the ceiling. After some consideration and looking for options on how to install them, I ended up with two alternatives:

- Doing it the easy way, using the joists that were already in place, but not in the places I wanted, or

- Going the hard way, installing extra supports, so it would look proportional.

I decided to go for the latter. Yes, to achieve the best look, there was a lot more work involved.

Up there.... I had to go to the attic!

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I went up there pretty happy; after all, I was just starting this new project! I needed to attach nine 2x4 supports that would allow me to suspend the ceiling beams underneath.

No big deal, driving some screws and installing the beams. Well, it took me like two hours, paying attention where to step, working around insulation, with not that much light, and ceiling angles that made things difficult.

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Until I got to this spot! Yes, right here, where things got worse! I needed to screw my last support in, but I was stuck in there. Tried to drive in the screw, but I was tired, at a bad angle, and stuck! Actually, I couldn't even move!

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The wood there was really HARD... I simply couldn't drive the screws in. I called my DH for help; he came taking pictures and asking me to look at the camera :) but I just couldn't move! He had to help me get out of there and drive the screws in for me.

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Sometimes things that look easy, like driving a screw, can get so complicated. Many times that's the case for me, especially with long screws! I'm NOT that STRONG! I have weak arms. I tried to follow most of the things the "pros" recommend for driving screws, like using a self-centering bit, not using a worn bit, using a clutch or lining the screw up and pushing hard, but that's my problem, as I guess it is for many of you. We don't have that man power, as simple as that!

That's why I try to always do pre-drills. It takes a little longer at the beginning but saves a lot of hassle later on.

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A new tip my husband gave me (he said he read it somewhere?) would'd been the one to use when I was up there in the attic (where I didn't have pre-drilled holes). You simply rub your screws on a bar of soap. Once you drive them into the wood, they go way easier!

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That's what we're doing while we finish installing those beams!

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