When you join wood together using screws — especially hardwood or this longleaf pine — there is a temptation to skip the drilling steps and to attempt to secure one piece of wood to another as if it were sheetrock on a stud wall. This is bad technique and a recipe for disaster. Screws are a robust means to join wood, but to be most effective you must properly prepare the joint. The captive piece of wood should have a countersink formed to accept the head of the screw and a clearance hole bored that is just slightly larger than the diameter of the shank of the screw. The anchor piece needs a pilot hole which accommodates the core of the screw and allows the threaded section of the screw to cut into the wood tissue without displacing so much material as to cause splitting.