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When using a screwdriver this can be difficult as the screw tends to slip. Once the screw passes the veneer it is easy to finish screwing in... I'm looking for an easy way to get the screw past the veneer surface.

Is there a tool for this? (Say, a screwdriver with its tip shaped like a screw?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

You're looking for a bradawl:

enter image description here

Its business end is like a straight slot screwdriver, only typically smaller and sharper. You push it into the wood where you want the screw to go, then twist to open a small hole. The screw tip will then fit into the hole without slipping. Be careful not to let the tip of the awl slip as you're pushing it into the surface, especially as you said it's slippery.

You might also get away with using a scratch awl, which has a pointed end instead, so it will make a smaller hole. If the hole is too small, you still risk having the screw slip out of it.

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In these cases, I just give the screw a slight tap with a hammer to achieve this.

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I drill a proper sized pilot hole for the screw. It turns out that screwing into a proper sized pilot hole results in a stronger screw joint than just forcing the screw into the wood on its own. The proper drill size to use is typically the same diameter of the screw down at the bottom of the threads. See figure below:

enter image description here

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Automatic center punch. less likely to hurt you and makes a nice dimple in almost anything

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