You were removing a screw and crack, it breaks. The head of the screw no longer obeys your screwdriver… Worse: the body of the screw is broken in two. How to continue your work with a screw stuck in its hole? Rest assured, there are several methods to successfully remove a broken screw. From the simplest to the most extreme, with or without a power tool…
The screw head protrudes a little from the hole…
The breakage occurred during the extraction and the head overflows a little. Luck is with you! You can try to grab it with multiple pliers. Once hooked by the pliers, gently turn the screw to extract it completely.
Always a little bit of penetrating oil
Extracting a jammed screw should be done gently, especially if it’s an old screw. The good idea is to start by spraying a little penetrating oil in the hole. By unsticking the elements, this product will facilitate the extraction, whatever the method used.
Screwdriver and rubber band: the winning duo
What is complicated in the case of a broken screw head is that your screwdriver no longer has a grip. Add a rubbery element to the head of the screwdriver; that may be enough to give you the PTO you’re missing. Put a simple flat rubber band on the end of the screwdriver, or whatever you have on hand (a piece of tire will do). Then insert the rubber head screwdriver into the screw head. Press well, so that the rubber adheres as much as possible. If the head of the screw is not too damaged, all you have to do is unscrew it quietly.
No screw resists a drop of strong glue
You can try this solution worthy of the D system. Put a drop of strong glue on the end of the remaining screw and stick an old screwdriver there, well aligned with the screw. Once the glue is dry, all you have to do is unscrew as normal using the screwdriver. The screw attached to the screwdriver will eventually leave its hole gently.
Create a slot in the screw head
Since the broken screw no longer obeys the screwdriver, you will have to be cunning… In your toolbox is probably a rotary cutter or a hacksaw? With this type of tool, you can cut a slot in the broken screw head, so that you can unscrew it with a flat screwdriver. All you have to do is unscrew it and you’re done.
Try the screwdriver
If you have a screwdriver, it can get you out of trouble. Use it to insert the broken screw head directly into it. After loosening the chuck, insert the screw head and tighten securely. In the unscrewing position, start gently, not too quickly. If the screw head is well attached, it can be unscrewed without any problem. For a better grip, you can add an elastic band or a piece of rubber between the chuck and the screw head. Its adherent power contributes to ensure your grip and to facilitate the extraction.
Your superhero: the screw extractor
You can of course use this tool. Specialist in broken screws, he leaves none at the bottom of the hole! Its reverse thread allows it to hook any screw, provided you choose the size of extractor corresponding to that of the broken screw. All you have to do is attach it like a normal bit to your electric screwdriver. Guaranteed result! If you have old screws to extract, it’s worth investing a few dollars in a set of screw extractors. We never know.
The impact screwdriver… has struck again!
This tool can be very useful in the event of a broken screw. To use an impact screwdriver, you also need a hammer (ohohooohoh!). Previously, made a notch in the screw using a grinder or a hacksaw for example. Make a nice, well-marked cut. In this notch, place the tip of the impact screwdriver. Hold it tight. With the hammer, tap on it, gently at first with short taps, then harder if necessary. The rotation combined with the hammer blows will loosen the screw. A few blows will be enough to be able to extract it quite easily.
In desperation: total destruction
Sometimes the screw is too broken to be extracted. If you have no other, you still have an extreme solution: destroy the screw in its hole. For this, equip your drill with a bit of the same size as the broken screw. Insert it into the hole and drill until the screw is reduced to dust.
The disadvantage of this technique is that the hole will enlarge slightly. You will need to use a slightly larger screw to replace the destroyed screw.
If the hole has become really too large, do not hesitate to plug it with wood putty. It will then be necessary to redo a pilot hole with a drill, a little smaller than the screw. For a 3 mm screw, make a 2 mm pilot hole. Do not drive a screw directly into the wood filler, otherwise you will break it too!
Tip 1: How to avoid breaking an old screw?
An old screw, sometimes a little rusty, is particularly difficult to remove. Do not try to loosen it directly. Start by tightening it a quarter turn, to make it move gently in its cabin. Once unstuck, you can then gently unscrew it. This simple precaution will prevent you from breaking the screws weakened by time.
Tip 2: How to prevent screw breakage?
You can prevent future breakage of your screws in a very simple way. You just need to rub the screw thread with tallow grease before screwing in. When you dismantle your door or your piece of furniture in ten or fifteen years, the screw protected by the layer of fat will be easy to extract. You can even use candle wax for the same purpose, this gives you an opportunity to recycle small candle ends.