Last updated on November 23, 2022 4:33 pm by the writer.
Got a stuck and stripped screw?
There’s nothing that feels more hopeless than trying to remove a screw with a completely bored-out head with your screwdriver.
Imagine when you are at the peak of your DIY project, and you get stuck with a stubborn screw that won’t welcome your screwdriver or drill bits.
All the frustration goes on to that driver that you keep turning for tens of minutes, and nothing happens except a formerly T-slit opening into a much wider bore.
If you’re currently in this state, relax.’Cause we’ve summed up all the possible ways, you can remove that pesky screw.
Surprisingly, you can remove a stripped screw with these tools.
Method 1– Take the screw off with a flat-head screwdriver and a pair of pliers.
Turning a loose screwdriver deeper on a Philipp’s screw head may also damage your screw bits.
Maybe you’ll disagree with trying a flat head since the tip doesn’t match the head.
But at this point, if you’re dealing with a destroyed Phillips head or poze head – A flat head might actually get a grip on the outward corners.
So go ahead and see if this simple method will raise that screw-up a bit by about ⅛ inch.
After that, put the flat screwdriver aside and take the rest out gently with your pliers from the shaft.
Method 2– A left-handed drill bit may do the trick.
Left-handed drill bits turn in reverse and drill. Trying to turn that screw head in reverse slowly may bite onto the screw!
Get a drill bit that is smaller than the size of the head of the stubborn screw. Attach the left-handed bit to your drill and set it to the reverse function.
Drive the bit firmly on the screw head until it grips. When it does, you’ll have that screw off in no time.
You can use a bench grinder to make a reverse drill bit from an old broken drill bit.
Method 3– Try a vise-grip plier.
You can use any plier, but a vise-grip plier holds better.
If the screw’s head is a bit sticking out, you can easily grip it with the plier from the side– it won’t hold as easily from the front of the jaw, but sometimes there’s only one way in.
Make adjustments, so the jaws are narrower than the screw head.
Lock the screw and turn the pliers counterclockwise. One or two full rotations may get most of it loosened. Unclamp the screw from the pliers when removal is complete.
Method 4– Tap the stripped screw with a hammer.
You will also need a rubber band and a screwdriver for this method.
By tapping the screw head firmly with a hammer, the head forms a more reliable grip as any outward burrs can be pushed back down.
Now cover the head with a rubber band or duct tape if you have a roll around to provide extra grip.
You can now use your screwdriver or a flat screwdriver to turn the screw off the surface.
Or you can tighten the screw’s grip with a rubber band before unscrewing.
This can loosen the shaft up more than just covering the rubber band on the stripped head of the screw and loosening straight away.
Going in the opposite direction for a bit might be easier.
Method 5– Cut a slot with an oscillating or a Dremel tool.
Any of these tools would work if you have a cutting disk if none of the methods above didn’t work.
Attach the disk to your tool and cut a new slot on the screw head for a large-sized screwdriver.
Cut a deep slit if you are going to take it out with a flat screwdriver.
Make a thin slit so the driver can hold it. If the cut is bigger, the slit may not hold and fit tightly to the screwdriver.
Both the Dremel tool and oscillating tool can create fly-off metal shavings so make sure to wear eye protection.
Method 6– Try steel wool or an abrasive powder for added grip.
You can take a small piece of steel wool and or a pinch of abrasive powder and insert it between the screw head and the screwdriver bit.
That should add more grip for unscrewing.
Method 7– A screw extractor set will do the job.
A screw extractor has counter threads.
When driven in reverse, the screw head should grip into the tip of the extractor screw.
Attach the screw extractor to your drill and secure it in the chuck. Set your drill in reverse.
Turn the drill on and keep drilling until the screw head bites and is removed from the surface.
Method 8– Weld a nut.
If you have an oxyacetylene kit with a welding torch, you can weld a nut above the screw head.
Weld them together and unscrew it through the nut.
Why do screws keep getting stripped?
You may not notice it, but stripped screws are the result of poor DIYing habits and worn-out bits. And occasionally, a weak point in softer stainless steel fixings.
How to avoid screws from stripping?
Here’s what you can do to avoid stripping your screws.
Use only the right bit size for the screw you are working on. Aside from that, avoid using worn-out bits at all costs.
Apply only the right pressure and speed, and don’t overtighten your screws.
Make it a habit to drill a pilot hole before screwing  in anything that is large or requires the possibility of removal.
Some screws need a bit holder, use it if you have one. I really like the magnetic bits! That holds onto screws.
Some stainless steel screws strip easily because it is a softer metal. But believe me, it only takes a few small steps to avoid stripped screws in the future.
And if what your doing is not visual like in-house construction, get out a dog bar and rip that sucker out before anyone notices.
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My name is Aaron, and thank you for reading my article. As a qualified builder, I share some tips here at Bangingtoolbox to help provide better DIY information on the internet.
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