How To Screw Into Wood Without Drill

June 25, 2023

Drill a screw into wood manually by hand tool.

If you don’t have a drill at hand, screwing into wood would be quite difficult. Yet, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible for you to do it. If you have a handheld screwdriver, you can surely get the job done. But not with much effort. Of course, having an electric drill can quicken the screwing process for you. It can also bring in better overall results. Plus, if you are working on several screws or screwing into hardwood, your job will become easier once you have power tools or electric drill at hand.

Simple Steps on How to Screw into Wood without a Drill

Before the invention of the cordless drills or drivers, most works on wood were done using nails. Screws were often used only for finer jobs. But when the cordless drills hit the scene, screwdrivers were relegated to secondary importance. Yet, there would be some instances that still require the use of screwdrivers in driving the screw into wood. Thus, you should know the simple steps on how to use the screwdriver to drive a screw into a wood:

Step 1) Start with a Pilot Hole

Creating a pivot hole slightly smaller than the screw itself is the main point here.

You will surely develop a stronger grip if you refrain from using a cordless drill or driver when screwing into wood. You’ll get extra workouts for your forearm muscles likewise. You can start the job with a pilot hole. You should first tap out a pilot hole before installing screws by hand.

You can do this by using a hammer and a small nail in creating a small hole in the wood. This pilot hole can facilitate the screwing process, especially, if you are working on a hardwood. It helps you keep the screw in place and in a straight position. Moreover, it prevents the wood from casually splitting when you’re screwing.

Once you’ve made a pilot hole, you can then insert the tip of the screw into the hole. Then, turn the screwdriver slowly with your screwdriver. Your pilot hole should be deeper if you are using a longer screw.

You should also carefully pull out the nail that you are using for creating the pilot hole. You need to be very careful in pulling the nail because if you do it abruptly, you may damage the wood. You can use pliers to pull the nail by gripping the nail with the pliers and pulling the nail straight out. However, if the nail is stubborn enough, you could use the claw of the hammer. You should at least use a rag to cushion the hammerhead to avoid damage to the wood.

Step 2) Select the Right Screwdriver

When choosing a screwdriver, you should select something whose tip fits well into the head of the screw. The tip of the screwdriver should fill the recess completely. If you are working on thicker pieces, however, you should use heavier screws to have better leverage and holding power.

Screwdrivers, like the slot-head, vary according to the width of the tip as well as the shank’s length in inches. Hence, you should choose a screwdriver that has a tip that matches the screw head’s diameter. On the other hand, Robertson and Phillips’s drivers have designated numbers. The greater the number, the heavier and larger the tip of the screw that it can drive.

Step 3) Screw into Wood

To screw into the wood, you need to press on the screwdriver firmly. Place the tip of the screwdriver on the slot on the screw head. Then, position the tip of the screw onto the pilot hole. Afterward, turn your screwdriver as you press on it.

Keep the stud and the board aligned. Ensure that the two pieces are screwed firmly together. If you find it hard to align the boards, you can use a clamp to keep the boards aligned.

You should, however, avoid vigorously cranking your screwdriver, especially, if you are working on thick wood. Vigorous cranking of a screwdriver can make the wood crack or can leave you vulnerable to injury. If the screw is already partly inserted, you don’t need to crank as hard as when the screw is still not inserted.

Additional Tips

In What Circumstances You Can Use Screwdriver to Screw into Wood Without Power Drill?

You may be frowning at the idea of using a screwdriver to drive a screw into wood, given the fact that power tools are very much available nowadays. However, there are instances when you need to content yourself with the use of a screwdriver. A few of these instances are as follows:

  • You should use a screwdriver when the use of power tools may be risky.
  • It would help if you used a screwdriver when working in wet places or in places where water is present.
  • You should use a screwdriver when working on non-standard sized screws.
  • You should use a screwdriver when the use of power tools and electronic tools is impractical.
  • Use a screwdriver when you need to work out your forearms.
  • It would be best if you opted for screwdriver when the safety equipment for the use of power tools is not available.

Things You Must Beware of When Using Screwdriver for Drilling into Wood

The use of screwdrivers to drive screws, however, is also fraught with disadvantages. First, you still need to make a pilot hole before you can screw into wood. Second, it takes longer to complete the task. Moreover, aligning the boards may be doubly difficult when using screwdrivers. Plus, it is more challenging to complete the job and requires hard work on your part. Hence, the use of screwdrivers is not suitable for large projects.


There will be instances wherein you will be needing a screwdriver to screw into wood, especially when power tools are not available. Hence, you should familiarize yourself with the simple steps on how to use the screwdriver for such purpose. Working with the screwdrivers, however, gives you a bit of satisfaction that you would not usually get when using power tools. It also gives your forearm muscles the needed workout to make them stronger and firmer. So, you should never shy away from using the screwdrivers to enjoy the inherent advantages concomitant with its use.

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