My attempt to assemble the light box for our stained glass project came to little yesterday. I knew I would have to pre-drill the screw holes in the oak boards; however, no matter how big a bit I used, the screws kept seizing up and twisting off in my hand. Working with stained glass teaches you that when you start messing up, it's time to quit, rest, and regroup. Carpentry is much the same. Rather than butcher the job entirely, I knocked off and decided to seek help the next day.
This morning, I went down to Kleindorfer's and explained my problem. Kleindorfer's is an old-fashioned hardware store. Unlike Menard's or Lowe's, they have more in the way of basic components than just kits; indeed, if you're looking for just one left-handed doohickey, they've probably got it in a bin somewhere. Their sales people are also more knowledgeable (and helpful) than the chain stores.
Suggestion number one: to put screws into really tight wood, treat the screws with beeswax first. Suggestion number two: use a tapered drill bit. Having imparted this wisdom, the clerk took me right to a bunch of things hanging on a wall and took down a No. 8 Screw Setter bit. It would do my screws with no by-guess-and-by-golly, and would drill out a set for the head as well. I asked if they had any beeswax. Of course they did.
So, I have spent three hours this afternoon drilling and screwing, and I'm all but caught up to where I need to be. The screws went in like butter, by the way.
This old dog is learning a really important new trick: On any scratch building project, you know you're going to wind up at Kleindorfer's at last; you might as well go there at first from now on.