Whether the angle of the driver was off or the size of the screwdriver was not correct, screw heads can become stripped out. Not only are stripped screws unsightly, but can seem impossible to tighten or loosen—trapping the screw however deep it happened to be when the stripping occurred. What a headache, right? Well, help is here. In this article, we’re going to look at four ways to remove a screw with a stripped head.
1. Rubberband Hack
Sometimes, a screw may not be too badly stripped, but you know that it will only get worse if you continue to attempt tightening or removing it. In these instances, there’s a chance that something as simple as a rubber band can help. Lay one section of the rubber band across the top of the screw head, sandwiching it between the screw intention and your driver bit. Turn the driver counter-clockwise with consistent pressure, but very slowly to remove the screw. While the rubber is durable and flexible enough fill in the stripped gaps, it is likely not strong enough for quick force to be applied, so a low speed is the key to success with this hack.
2. Screw Grab Solution
If the rubber band is slipping from the indentations in the screw head, it may be time for something a little more stable. A substance called “Screw Grab” may be just the ticket. The Screw Grab material contains crystal-like structures that fill in the stripped gaps between the screw and your driver. Following the directions on the substance, apply a dab to the stripped driver, and then apply consistent force to the driver. Just like the rubber band, keep the speed slow and the pressure constant as you turn the driver counter-clockwise for removal.
3. Screw Extractor Kit
Another nifty tool for stripped screw removal is an extractor bit set—something you can likely find at any hardware store and may not be a bad tool to keep in your toolbox. Upon inspection of the bit tool, you’ll notice that one side of the drill bit contains what is known as a “burnishing” bit and the other end will have an extraction bit. The burnishing bit is used to purposely wear a specially shaped indentation in the top of the stripped screw. Once that indentation is made by running the driver clockwise, the extraction bit can then be placed on and pushed into the new indentation, running it slowly counter-clockwise. This extractor bit contains many tiny sharper sections designed to grip the inside of the burnished indentations and allow for careful removal.
4. Cutting a New Indentation
When all of these methods have failed or the necessary supplies are not available, there is one last trick to removing the stripped screw. Using a rotatory saw with a blade roughly the thickness of a flat-head screwdriver you have on hand, cut the top of the screw to a depth equal with the of the head of the screw. This new slot will act as a new flat-head style indentation, allowing you to turn the screw slowly and carefully with a flat-head screwdriver until it is fully removed.
There you have it—four ways to get our of stripped screw jam. For larger demolition jobs, look no further than the demolition professionals from DT Wreck-IT Specialized Demolition Services out of Tulsa, OK.