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Mastering the Art of Stripped Screw Removal

By Jo Marshall
Share to PinterestRemoving Stripped Screws with Ease
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If you've ever been in the middle of a DIY project and came across a screw that your screwdriver couldn't seem to lock onto, you probably had a stripped screw on your hands. The head of the screw is so damaged, it can seem almost impossible to remove with a screwdriver. There are many handy ways to easily remove a stripped screw that don't require a screw extractor.

01

Use a rubber band to for grip

Share to PinterestUse a rubber band
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If you can't get the screw out with only your screwdriver, place a rubber band over the screw head then firmly insert your screwdriver's point. With a firm grip, slowly unscrew the screw. If you can't find a rubber band, cut away a piece of the green abrasive from the scouring side of a sponge or use steel wool. The idea here is to simply provide some grip for easier removal.

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02

Drill into the stripped screw

Share to PinterestDrill small hole in screw
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To make your screwdriver reach deeper into the screw for a better grip, drill a tiny hole into the head of the screw. Be sure to use a metal drill bit (not wood) if you try this method. Drill in small, slow increments. Drilling too far down could make the screw head pop off.

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03

Use pliers, if possible

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Can you see daylight between the screw's head and the surface the screw is drilled into? If so, pliers may be your answer. Grab hold of the screw with a pair of locking pliers, then turn the pliers until the screw loosens. This method can be a bit labor-intensive, but it works well.

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04

Don't panic

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Stripped screws are frustrating, but even the professionals deal with them now and then. Remember, removing a stripped screw is not impossible. It's merely an annoying problem. If you're struggling with one, take a break and come back to it. Over time, you'll learn which method works best in different situations.

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05

Try a flat-head screwdriver

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Chances are, your stripped screw has a Philips head. If so, find a flat-head screwdriver narrow enough to fit completely inside the Philips-head hole, then slowly loosen the screw. You can combine the rubber band method with the flat-head screwdriver method for an even better grip on the screw.

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06

Use a hammer and screwdriver

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If your screw is made of soft metal, try using a hammer to tap your screwdriver deeper into the screw head. Once it's lodged in firmly, you might get enough grip to remove the screw. Not sure if your screw is soft metal? It probably is. Soft metal screws are the kind most likely to become stripped in the first place.

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07

Use an oscillating tool, if you have access to one

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An oscillating tool is a portable power tool equipped with many interchangeable blades. It can be used to cut, sand, grind, scrape, and even polish. If you're an avid DIYer, you probably have an oscillating tool in your garage. To remove the stripped screw, first use the oscillating tool's metal cutting disc to cut a deep slot in the screwhead. Then press a flat-head screwdriver firmly into the new groove and slowly twist.

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08

Try adhering a nut to the screw

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This last-chance method requires some welding skills and special equipment, but it might be just what you need to remove a stubborn screw. Weld a nut to the top of the stripped screw and wait for it to set. Then use a socket wrench to remove both the screw and the nut together.

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09

Why do the screws become stripped?

Share to PinterestProperly insert and remove screws **a pic of a stripped screw would be better, but could not find one
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Most stripped screws are the result of using incorrect tools or simple user error. Screw heads usually wear out because the screwdriver or drill bit used on it was too small. The screwdriver or drill bit spins without a good grip on the screw, and the result is a stripped head on the screw. Turning screws at an angle can also cause stripping. Always align your screwdriver or drill directly in line with the screw. When inserting screws, it's best to create pilot holes first.

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10

How to prevent screws from stripping

Share to PinterestStop if the screw starts to strip
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Pay close attention to your screw while drilling it. If you notice that a screw you are inserting or removing is starting to strip, make sure you are using the right size screwdriver or drill bit. A partially stripped screw is far easier to remove than a completely stripped screw. If you were inserting the screw, it's best to remove the screw and start over with a new one. Don't continue to use a screw that has started to strip.

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11

The benefits of screw extractors

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When faced with a stubborn stripped screw, a screw extractor might just be your knight in shining armor. These tools, specifically crafted for such predicaments, have a unique design that allows them to grip damaged screw heads firmly. As you turn the extractor, its design digs deeper into the screw, ensuring a secure grip. Think of it as a specialized key made to unlock the most challenging screws. Investing in a set of these can save you from future frustrations, making them an essential addition to any toolbox.

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12

Enhancing grip with valve grinding compound

Share to Pinterestgrinding paste

In the world of DIY fixes, sometimes the most unconventional solutions are the most effective. Enter the valve grinding compound. Typically used for grinding engine valves, its gritty texture can be a game-changer for stripped screws. By applying a small amount to the screw head, the abrasive nature of the compound enhances the grip between your tool and the screw. It's like adding sandpaper to the mix, ensuring that your tool doesn't slip. This method is a testament to the power of improvisation in DIY tasks.

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13

Introduction to stripped screw removers

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Every problem has a tool designed to solve it, and for stripped screws, it's the stripped screw remover. These tools, with their uniquely crafted heads, are the perfect antidote to your stripped screw woes. The design ensures that the tool grips onto even the most damaged screws, turning a frustrating task into a breeze. Imagine having a master key that can unlock any door; that's what a stripped screw remover does for screws. It's a specialized solution for a common problem, proving that there's always a way out.

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14

The effectiveness of square drive bits

Share to Pinterestscrewdriver bit

In the vast universe of tools, sometimes a simple change in shape can make all the difference. Square drive bits, often overlooked, can be the perfect solution for certain stripped screws. Their shape allows them to fit into stripped screws in ways that standard Phillips or flat-heads can't. It's like finding a puzzle piece that fits just right. By simply switching to a square drive bit, you might find the grip you've been desperately searching for, showcasing the importance of having a diverse toolkit.

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15

Impact screwdrivers

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What are they and how do they help? In the realm of tools, the impact screwdriver is a blend of brute force and precision. Unlike standard screwdrivers, impact ones are designed to apply force combined with rotation. A gentle tap with a hammer, paired with the turning motion, can provide the necessary impact to dislodge the stripped screw. It's a symphony of power and rotation, ensuring that the screw yields to your efforts. For those particularly stubborn screws that refuse to budge, an impact screwdriver might just be the force multiplier you need.

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