How to Remove Stripped Screws from Wood

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How to Remove Stripped Screws from Wood

Depending on the tools that are available, there are numerous methods that can be tried to remove a stripped screw. Assembling screwdrivers, drills, bits, and specialty tools will make the job easier. The use of a drill, whether corded or battery operated may be required, but typically only if other methods have failed. The methods for removal remain the same regardless of the shape of the head or size of the screw.


How to Avoid Stripped Screws

By choosing the correct screwdriver to remove a screw, woodworkers can avoid stripping the head of the wood screw in most cases. Exceptions do occur, such as when the screwdriver slips, if the head was partially stripped when inserted, or if the screw is so deeply embedded in hard wood that it the weakest link is where the screwdriver meets the head. Manual removal is typically considered the first choice, as a slipped drill bit will damage the head faster than a slipped twist of the wrist.

Assembling Tools Required

Woodworkers may need number of tools to remove the screw. These include a hacksaw, long nose pliers, a drill, dowel, screw extractor sets, plug cutters, a socket wrench, and a hammer; however, they may only need one or two of these. Wearing safety goggles is recommended, particularly when using a drill or hacksaw for eye protection. A pair of gripping gloves can protect hands while allowing woodworkers to hold onto tools.


Steps for Removing a Stripped Screw from Wood

  1. Manually using a screwdriver to attempt to extract the screw is the first step. Use the correct size and shape with hard pressure and turn in the appropriate direction, typically counterclockwise. If the screwdriver begins to slip, stop to avoid making the problem worse.
  2. Using a wrench placed around the handle of the screwdriver to increase torque, while pushing the screwdriver into the screw with the other hand.
  3. If the screw does not budge, woodworkers may need to use a screw extractor. These are similar to a drill bit; however, the tips have rough edges that burrow into the screw. Pressing hard into the screw while turning will reduce the risk of slipping.
  4. A drill may be needed to create a small hole into the head for the extractor to give solid gripping power. A second type of extractor, known as a multi-spline, can also be used if part of the spline or shank is exposed for it to grip.
  5. Woodworkers may be able to back the screw out with a drill and bit that corresponds to the head shape and size.

Additional Solutions for Removing Stripped Screws

  • Cutting the screw off and using a punch to tap it into the wood and covering it with putty.
  • Using a piece of rubber to grip between the screwdriver and screw, a rubber band or gripper pad may be helpful.
  • Placing a green scratchy pad as used when washing dishes and a piece of steel wood between the screwdriver and screw, with the steel wool closest to the head.
  • Cutting a notch into the head of the screw will make it possible to use a flat screwdriver to attempt removal.

As pressure can help improve the success of manual removal, placing the item into a position that enables woodworkers to maximise force can be beneficial. This is not always an option; however, for furnishings and other movable items, downward force typically allows them to exert the most pressure.


How to Buy Screw Removal Tools on eBay

Listings found on eBay include a broad selection of hand tools including those that are needed to remove stripped screws from wood. You can find the items listed in the chart by entering 'cordless drills' or 'screw extractor sets', into the search bar. You may want to consider professional grade tools for woodworking or other projects. Both battery operated and corded drills offer advantages based on your needs. Read through the seller’s comments regarding whether the item you are buying on eBay is new, used, and if it includes a warranty.

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