Steel can keep brass screws from breaking
Small brass screws often break as you try to drive them in. You really have a problem when the screws are smaller than your smallest drill bit and you can't drill a pilot hole. Before trying the brass screw, drive in a steel screw of the same size. The stronger steel one will form threads in the wood so your brass screws will go in without fuss or breakage. If you can't drill a pilot hole, poke one with a small wire brad or nail.
—Lt. Col. D. W. Porter, Woodbridge, Va.