What Size of Drill Bit Do I Need For a #6 Screw?

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So, you’ve snagged a shiny new wood drill and a bunch of #6 screws, and you’re eager to dive in. But wait, which drill bit size is the perfect match for those screws? With a sea of choices out there, even the savviest woodworker can feel a bit overwhelmed.

No worries! I’ve got your back. Here’s a handy guide on picking the right drill bit for that #6 screw. Let’s get drilling!

What Drill Bit Size Corresponds to a #6 Screw?

For a #6 screw, the recommended pilot hole sizes are 5/64″ for softwoods and 3/32″ for hardwoods. 

If you refer to the table below, you will notice that hardwoods generally require larger pilot holes. This is for a good reason: hardwoods are denser and may crack when a screw is driven in if the hole is made too small. 

#6 screws

In contrast, softwoods have more give; their fibers can compress and decompress a bit more. Hence, they require a smaller pilot hole that will create a tighter fit for the #6 screw.

Screw SizeDrill Hole Sizes
SoftwoodHardwood
#51/16″5/64″
#65/64″3/32″
#75/64″3/32″
#83/32″1/8″

The diameter of tapered bits gets increasingly smaller as you get to the tip, as opposed to straight bits that maintain a uniform diameter all throughout. 

different screw sizes

The following table includes hole sizes made with tapered bits and straight bits. For softwood, #6 screws would need a 1/8″ tapered bit or a 3/32″ straight bit. For hardwood, #6 screws would need a 9/64″ tapered bit or a 7/64″ straight bit. 

Screw Size

SoftwoodHardwood
Tapered BitStraight BitTapered BitStraight Bit
#57/64″5/64″1/8″3/32″
#61/8″3/32″9/64″7/64″
#85/32″7/64″11/64″1/8″
#103/16″1/8″13/64″9/64″
#1213/64″9/64″7/32″5/32″

How to Properly Utilize a #6 Screw

#6 screws are mostly used in fine woodworks like boards, or wooden box projects. These need smaller holes, and thus, a smaller size screw like #6 is preferable, if not necessary.

Alright, let’s break this down for you. First things first: What kind of wood are you working with? Is it tough (hardwood) or a bit softer (softwood)? The answer matters because it’ll help you choose the right drill bit size. 

Now, take a peek at the table above. It’ll tell you the exact hole size and drill bit you’ll need to fit a #6 screw just right.

#6 screw on wooden surface

When you have chosen your drill bit, you will need a drill. Cordless drills are fine for smaller projects involving #6 screws, but for tougher wood, you might need a corded drill for more torque. 

Most drills nowadays can double as a screwdriver with screwdriver attachments, but if you made proper pilot holes, a regular screwdriver is enough for a #6 screw. 

Considerations to Know for #6 Screws

#6 screws are commonly used for boards and plywood. For thicker materials, you might want to consider using  #8 to #12 screws. 

drilling on wood

Take into consideration the type of wood as well. For softwoods, you will usually create smaller pilot holes, as opposed to slightly larger ones on hardwoods. 

What to Do Before You Use #6 Screws

Screws act as a wedge when driven into materials like wood. Without proper preparation, the screw can split the wood, especially hardwood. 

This is why you need to drill pilot holes. A pilot hole is a hole you drill in a construction material (in our case, wood); you can drive a screw in easily, safely, and securely. Think of it as a primer for screws. 

Measure the pieces of wood you will be joining with the screw so you can get screws of the proper length. Ensure that you have the correct tools, including a suitable screwdriver or drill bit that matches the screw head.

FAQ

Is M6 the same as #6?

No, M6 is not the same as #6. The ‘M’ in M6 means metric. All measurements of screws in this series–M0, M1, M2, and so on–use the metric system [1]

#6 screws, or Number 6 screws along with the other screw sizes on the tables above, use the Unified Thread Standard commonly used in the US and Canada. 

What does a #6 screw mean?

A #6 screw means that it’s the sixth thread size in the Unified Thread Standard. It has a certain diameter along with others in the standards, and for simplicity, is just referred to as such.

Conclusion

Just like you wouldn’t use a hammer for a screw, picking the right drill bit for the job is crucial. Ever wondered what size drill bit you need for a #6 screw? Now you know the answer! You can always check the list above to find the perfect fit and make your drilling a breeze.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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