TikTok's Genius Tip To Avoid Splitting Wood On Any Home Improvement Project

Many home improvement projects require knowing how to work with wood. This can be difficult because there are quite a few complications that can arise when using wood to repair and build, such as wood-splitting. Wood splitting often occurs when driving screws or nails into wood. The fibers in lightweight woods like cedar make room for screws and nails easily, so they are less likely to split. The fibers in heavier woods, like hard maple or oak, have a hard time moving to make room. These heavier woods are more likely to split as a result. Although wood splitting is common, TikTok user Paul Sellers revealed that a woodworker can avoid this by simply dipping screws into paste wax before driving them into the wood.

In the video, Sellers shows exactly how this trick works. He first predrills a hole that is not quite as big as the threads of the screw he intends to use. The woodworker then dips a screw into paste wax and drives it into the hole he created using an electric screwdriver. Although this hole is quite close to the end of the piece of wood he uses, it still does not result in wood splitting. This simple and easy trick may help you avoid frustrating wood splitting during your next home improvement project. Here's what else you should know.

Dip your screws in paste wax before drilling


Avoid splitting the wood when driving screws with this great woodworking tip! #paulsellers #woodworkinghacks #woodworkingtips #handtoolwoodworking #woodworkingbeginners #woodworking

♬ original sound – Paul Sellers

As you can see in Paul Sellers' video, the paste wax method only adds a few seconds to a woodworking project — whether it's beginner or expert level — but likely saves hours in material repurchasing and scrapped projects due to damaged wood. If you are interested in using this method but do not want to coat screws one by one for a large project, fear not — you can apply the wax in batches. An article from Woodsmith recommends heating old wax in a wax pot and dipping the screws into the melted wax to prepare them for your woodworking projects. This way you can quickly dip all of your screws ahead of when you'll need them so that they'll be ready to go.

Although paste wax may be the most effective product to use to prevent wood splitting, some commenters on Paul Sellers' video had their own suggestions. One user mentioned using a candle or bar of soap. Another recommended motor oil. "You could use any kind of lubricant, to be honest, even used motor oil should do the trick and it also protects the wood from rotting," one wrote. Regardless, the paste wax method appears to be one of the most popular ways to prevent wood-splitting.

Can you use the paste wax method for nails?

The TikTok video shows viewers how to coat screws in paste wax to prevent splitting, but what about nails? After all, nails are often used in woodworking projects. Luckily, it turns out that you can use the paste wax method on nails too. Applying wax to nails before hammering them into wood even prevents them from bending.

In addition to waxing nails or screws, you should also be mindful of their placement to avoid wood splitting. Placing either within half an inch of the end of a piece of wood can make it more likely to split. The paste wax also will not likely be all that effective if you do not select the appropriate nails or screws for your project. Keep in mind that there are nails and screws made specifically for denser wood, mounting wood to walls, attaching hardware to wood, and more.

Predrilling is also a great way to prevent a nail from splitting wood, especially when you need to drill close to the end of a piece. Be careful, though — make sure the drilled hole is smaller than the nail's diameter; otherwise, the nail won't go in correctly.