If you want to know how to remove a stripped screw, or what IS a stripped screw, that right up there is a stripped screw. If that happens out in the shed when you’re building a workbench, no big deal. Cut it off with your angle grinder and put in another. When it happens in a temporary application where the screw has to come out, here’s how you remove it.
First let’s talk about how, or why this happens. There are plenty-O-ways ways to strip a screw.
- You probably should have drilled a pilot hole cause the wood is a little too hard and the screw won’t go deeper.
- You’re using a #2 Phillips bit in a screw that you should be using a #1 Phillips bit and the bit is spinning out of the head, or vice versa, or a #3 in a #2, something’s just not fitting right.
- Your Phillips bit is stripped. If you’re constantly spinning out of screws you’ve probably damaged your screw bit and now you’re in a downward spiral of making the screw bit worse each time you use it, which means you’re going to spin out of more and more screws. Go buy a pack of #2 Phillips bits and swap them out once in a while. They’re cheap, see? A #2 Phillips bit tip 25 Pack for 10 bucks. While you’re at it, buy a magnetic bit tip holder. It makes your life easier and you’re not loosening and tightening that keyless chuck every time you want to swap out a bit.
- You are not really good at screwing in screws. I bet this is the #1 reason. You see, when you’re screwing a screw with a cordless driver you need to be straight on the screw with the gun, not at an angle or when the bit spins it will spin up and out EVERY SINGLE TIME. Also you need to be applying a good amount of pressure to keep the bit seated in the screw head and to get the screw to screw in.
So you may have read about my anti-slide ladder insurance for wussies post. I didn’t use the right screws for the job. I just needed to use simple wood screws but instead I grabbed Tapcon® concrete screws. Well I’m screwing one in, half paying attention, kind of half-assed, and before I know it I get the familiar chatter that lets me know the screw is not going to go any deeper and the Phillips bit just jumped out of the screw head and spun freely, essentially removing any metal for the bit to grab. What that means is now you can’t put it in any further, what that ALSO means is that you can get it OUT either.
This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t in the middle of Emily’s deck.
You should already have one of these around, but if you don’t, go buy a kit called a stripped screw remover or stripped screw extractor kit. It looks like this. Mine is a Craftsman, but they all work the same.
So what you do is you put in the bit that fits the size of the screw head you’ve stripped, you LEAN ON IT, and you start backing it out slowly. It will start to shave out material and then it should bite and start backing out the screw.
OK, so if you choose too small of a removal bit OR don’t lean on it enough you’ll know it because the screw wont budge and it’ll just shave and shave. See? Not budging.
Now I get the next size up and REALLY lean on it.
OK, there you go. The screw backed out. I got the 2×4 out of the middle of the deck, and I’m a hero.
Aw yeah, look at that bored out screw head. That’s how you remove a stripped screw. Now that’s satisfaction.