How To Get A Stripped Screw Out Of Wood

Woody Jackson | Last modified on October 7th, 2021

Stripped screws are one of the most frustrating problems that any mechanic can have. If they cannot get the screw out, countless hours of labor can be spent on an issue that could have been prevented. There is also a risk in trying to force the screw out by damaging the wood surrounding it. 

How To Get A Stripped Screw Out Of Wood

To get a stripped screw out of wood, you need to use rubber bands for grip. But, there’re also many other methods to do it in an easy way. In this article, I will cover how to remove broken and stripped screws from wood efficiently so you don’t have to spend all day on something like this.

10 Ways To Remove A Stripped Screw Out Of Wood

A stripped screw is a bane to any woodworker, but don’t be afraid! There are many different ways that it can be removed and prevented in the first place. Read on for ten solutions that will help remove your dreaded stripped screw.

Pull Out The Screw With Pliers

The most obvious approach is also one of the most direct: just pluck out the offending screw with your handy-dandy pair of pliers! You may have to twist and pull a lot, but eventually, you will succeed in either popping it through or bending it until you can break off the head below the surface of your wood project’s surface.

Pull Out The Screw With Pliers

Switch To A Flat-head Screwdriver

If the tip of your screwdriver is stripped, too, you can switch to a flat head. Many of the solutions here will have you switching to a flat head. They’re sturdy and unlikely to snap off under pressure, but try not to grip it too tight or use too much force on any one spot; this will only make your situation worse and might damage your wood project even more than before.

Switch To A Flat-Head Screwdriver

Use A Larger Driver Bit

Another easy solution is to get a bigger driver bit simply if you’re dealing with a screw or bolt that refuses to budge. Most woodworkers will always have a set of extra bits and drivers in their toolbox, so you can either stop by the store or just order online.

Use A Larger Driver Bit

Tap The Screwdriver With A Hammer

If your screw is, in fact, still jammed after using the previous solutions, it is time to turn to the hammer and chisel. Of course, it may be time to remove it entirely and start over if you’re headed for a full-scale remodel or re-finishing, but for most little jobs, you can simply tap it with a small hammer before taking out your pliers once again.

Tap The Screwdriver With A Hammer

Use Steel Wool

If you’ve already done a lot of work and don’t want to start over, you can also try using steel wool. Harder materials will usually see through the stripped screw’s head more quickly. In fact, by the time you finish reading this article, it might be all gone! Be careful, though: if you’re using a softwood and it is already pretty old or dried out, it may break right off from the pressure.

Use Steel Wool

Switch To A Manual Screwdriver

For some stripped screws stuck in some tight places where your drill or electric screwdriver just won’t reach, you can always switch to a regular manual screwdriver. You’ll probably have to switch to a smaller screwdriver to keep the head on the table as you work, but it can usually get the job done just as well.

Switch To A Manual Screwdriver

Drill Into The Screw

If you’re dealing with a really thick or particularly stubborn stripped screw, you can also drill into it from one side so that it pops out from the other. If this is your last resort before starting over again, be sure to use a low power setting so that you don’t end up breaking off the inside of your project’s wood, and make sure that your drill has a reverse setting so that you can easily remove the bit if it gets stuck!

Drill Into The Screw

Use Rubber Bands For Grip

If you don’t want to spend money on new drill bits or even bother getting out your hammer and pliers, a straightforward solution is also one of the most old-fashioned. Use rubber bands! Simply slip one over your screwdriver bit, and grip it with your pliers as tightly as possible. Your screw should come right out!

Use Rubber Bands For Grip

Use An Abrasive Powder

Sometimes the quickest solutions are the most obscure, but they’re also some of the easiest. For example, if you have nothing else on hand to remove a stripped screw, just apply an abrasive powder or sandpaper to it and work it in with slow circular movements (or if you’re using sandpaper, in straight lines).

Use An Abrasive Powder

Cut A Slot For A Flat-Head Screwdriver

If none of the solutions persist and your screw is beyond hope, you can always try cutting a slot in your wooden screwdriver bit so that it will fit over the handle of a flat-head screwdriver. Be careful, though: at this point, you’re already pushing more than your weight into the wood project.

Cut A Slot For A Flat-Head Screwdriver

FAQ

How Do You Remove A Screw With A Stripped Head?

The best way to remove a screw with a stripped head is to use the correct tool for the job. A screwdriver should be used, or another type of suitable tool that suits your needs, such as pliers. The screw may also be removed using a drill with the proper settings and bit size to ensure it does not damage the surface from which it is being removed. If this doesn’t work, you will have to try a different method and consider visiting a professional.

Can You Drill Out A Stripped Screw?

Answers to this question would be: Yes, it is possible to drill out a stripped screw. As long as the stripped screw isn’t too far down the hole of what you’re drilling into and you have access to tools that can reach down to that level, you can probably get the job done! The specific process for doing so will vary depending on what type of screw it is and how deeply it has been stripped.

How Do You Get A Stripped Screw Out Of A Piece Of Wood?

The most common way is to use an extractor with a small coiled wire inside that spins when you turn it with your drill or screwdriver. Remember, don’t over-tighten your drill, as this may cause the stripped screw even more damage. Once you’ve inserted the extractor into the slot where the head of the screw used to be and tightened it down with your drill, then use your tool and continue turning until you feel the tension from both sides decrease (usually with a popping sound).

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