Brass hardware adds to the look of woodworking projects, but brass screws are much softer than steel and can break easily when installed. To prevent this from happening:

  1. Drill a pilot hole slightly smaller than the diameter of the brass screw.
  2. Screw a steel screw the same size as the brass screw into the hole.
  3. Remove the steel screw, and screw the brass screw in the threaded hole.

Watch the video above to find out more.


Joe Truini: Brass hinges and hardware can add a decorative look to virtually any home improvement project. The challenge though is that brass screws are a lot softer than steel screws. If you’re not careful when you drive them in you can snap them off or strip the head, so here’s the trick.

Start by drilling a pilot hole for the screw. Now this you’d need to do no matter what kind of screw you’re driving in. It’s particularly important when you’re driving into hardwood as I am here with this oak. And then, and here’s the real trick, is take a steel screw that’s the same size as the brass screw and drive it into the hole. And once it’s fully seated back it out.

What you’ve done is you’ve effectively threaded the wood with the exact right size hole for now putting in the brass screw. Now that we have that hole this will go in easily without fear of stripping it or snapping it off. There you go. Perfect.

And again, this works on any kind of wood. But is particularly important when you’re doing hardwood like this oak. Because the screw will bite into that wood and snap off without that perfect-sized pilot hole.

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Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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