Good news about stripped screws

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - HOME -

FOR A change I thought I would look for cures for things that bug me when I am put to work around the home. One pet hate is try­ing to un­screw a screw that re­fuses to budge, or where the head is stripped or start­ing to strip.

Based on my own ex­pe­ri­ence, plus help from Google, this is what I ad­vise. If the screw is fas­tened to me­tal, spray on pen­e­trat­ing oil and let it sit for at least 15 min­utes. Use the largest man­ual screw­driver that fits your screw – the big­ger the han­dle the bet­ter. If pos­si­ble, grip the screw­driver han­dle with a wrench for more lever­age. If the screw­driver keeps slip­ping out of the stripped hole, cover it with one of a va­ri­ety of ma­te­ri­als. Press this into the hole with the screw­driver and try again. Here are some op­tions:

Wide rub­ber band, cut to form one band.

A piece of steel wool.

A piece of green abra­sive from a kitchen sponge.

Duct tape, with the ad­he­sive side against the screw head.

Place your palm against the end of the screw­driver, with your arm di­rectly be­hind it. Press di­rectly down into the screw with your full fore­arm as you ro­tate the screw­driver. If the tool you are us­ing is slip­ping, stop im­me­di­ately. Fur­ther slip­page will con­tinue to wear down the screw head and make it harder to re­move. En­sure you are turn­ing the cor­rect di­rec­tion for re­moval, which is usu­ally counter-clock­wise (“lefty loosey, righty tighty”). Press­ing down hard as you are un­screw­ing will help pre­vent slip­page.

Heat­ing the screw, if pos­si­ble, will of­ten loosen the threads. Ap­ply a heat gun or propane torch to the screw, mov­ing it con­stantly to avoid over­heat­ing. Once it is hot enough to siz­zle a drop of wa­ter, let the screw cool, then try again.

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