Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideas. Please share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip. If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.
Linguists don’t agree on the exact origin of the word lag. It may have been a variation on “last,” or it may have originated from the Norwegian word lagga, meaning “go slowly.”
For woodworkers’ purposes, we mostly use the term in relation to lag bolts or screws, meaning a fastener without threads on the upper section of the shaft, which allows one or more of the fastened parts to not be constrained by that section of the shaft.
An alternative to using a lag fastener is to overdrill the workpiece, preventing the screw from engaging. That can be done with a drill bit of the appropriate size in a process called “lag technique.”
You drill a hole so that your screw can “lag” through one piece as you attach it the other. But, if you don’t have a drill bit handy or you don’t want to have to go down three flights of stairs just to make this one hole, here’s a way around that predicament:
Run a screw through the piece of wood you’re attaching. Drive it all the way in. If the wood is really soft you can often strip the threads it has created, and, voila, you have an unthreaded hole. If that doesn’t work, or if the wood is so soft that the head of the screw just continues to get deeper, reverse your drill and back the screw out.
When only the tip is in the hole, continue to run the drill in reverse, but push down like you were driving the screw in. In most cases it will push right through the wood, creating the hole you seek.
Note: this is a good technique for a DIY construction project, not recommended for fine furniture!
Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.