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Lee Valley's new Countersunk Washers solve the problem of screw heads splitting stock. The washer/screw combination applies force the same way a pan-head screw does, but is counterbored to a flush position. They're availabe in brass or stainless steel, in #6, #8 and #10 sizes, A package of 10 is $3.40 – $7.20, and they're available direct from Lee Valley. More information is available here.