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Farmington, MI

Extremely strong studs?

In my house which was built in 1959, the wall studs are pine. My dad and I have been in the process of replacing the wood paneling with drywall, and we've noticed that the studs in this house are ridiculously hard to drill or screw into. I've dulled brand new drill bits and broken drywall screws all over the place. When drilling into it, the wood tends to jam up into the flutes of the bit rather than flake out like one would expect. I often have to drill in an inch, pull out the bit and peel the wood off, then repeat the process until I have the hole I need. Putting in screws require a lot of elbow grease, and that's even with using Robertson screw heads over the cam-out prone Phillips.

Has anyone else seen this before? My theory is that the tree sap in the wood cured over the past few decades making the wood extremely dense.

Louisville, KY

1 recommendation

Basically, the wood they used back then was just better than the wood we get today. This is mainly because the trees that are grown for lumber today are hybrids designed to grow very fast and thus the wood is not anywhere's near as dense as wood from back then. I've worked on some projects with lumber much older than what you are working on and it's almost like working with steel!


reply to TheSMJ
get a bar of soap, and coat the bits and screws with it. just drag them over it, you don't need much.

jack b
Gone Fishing
Cape Cod
reply to TheSMJ
Sounds like it might be yellow pine. Very tough wood.

Mr Matt

Eustis, FL
·Embarq Now Centu..
reply to TheSMJ
The studs in question are probably Southern Yellow Pine. Check out this link for more details: »www.southernpinelumber.com/pdf/W···0SYP.pdf

I had a home with yellow pine studs. In order to install screws I drilled the recommended diameter starter holes for the screws, I was installing. I lubricated the hole with carpenters or white glue to reduce friction.

This website has recommendations for drilling starting holes for screws installed in various materials:

Chapel Hill, NC
·AT&T Southeast

1 edit
reply to jack b
said by jack b:

Sounds like it might be yellow pine. Very tough wood.

Ditto.. When I built my house, the lumber supply house I used operated their own sawmills and gave me the option of supplying southern yellow pine or white pine for the framing.

I chose yellow pine.. it being quoted as significantly stronger than white pine, but with some tendency to warp a bit more as it passes from kilm dried moisture levels to the very low moisture levels the wood goes to, once it is framed into a dried in house.

The yellow pine, especially up in the attic is pretty near as hard as white oak when it comes to driving a nail into it and boring holes.. If you are going to drive nails in this stuff, after it has dried out, you need to choose a heavier weight framing hammer.

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