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How do you remove damaged screws?

screw_with_damaged_head.jpgOne technique to remove a screw with a damaged head is to place a rubber band on top of the screw and place your drill on top of the rubber band and turn.


Another option is to use 200mm combination pliers. Grab the head of the screw and use it to turn the head until it is halfway out. Once there is enough to hold on to, you can then remove the rest of the screw by hand.


A third option is to use Sutton Tools No. 2 Easy Out Screw Extractor Set.


Another option is a Trojan 250mm nail puller.


It often happens that the drill fastening bits we use get rounded and provide no grip or sometimes destroys the head of the screw. I suggest using hardened fastening bits. They last longer than ordinary ones. - EricL


I have a set of Easy Outs, which require drilling a hole into the centre of the broken screw or bolt... not always easy to do. - TedBear


If paint is not allowing the driver bit to grip properly you could try scraping out the paint in the head or put a screwdriver in the screw and give the handle a firm tap with a hammer to break the paint.


If the screw heads are stripped out completely, then you might need to drill them out with a drill bit. You can drill through the damaged head and the shaft with a cobalt drill bit at a low speed to ensure it doesn’t overheat. Use a cobalt drill bit instead of a standard high-speed steel bit, as it will drill through the screw with less resistance. To fill the remaining hole you can secure a timber dowel in place with PVA glue or use timber putty. Make sure to wear safety eyewear whilst drilling out the screw. - MitchellMc


Sometimes I use an abrasive cutting wheel on a Dremel-like device and cut a slit for a slotted screwdriver. - Noyade


Have you given them a good blast of WD-40? If they’re not budging but still intact you could also try to drive them further into the timber before then retrying to remove them. Might help dislodge any rust/grime that could be the reason they won't move.


As for the busted ones, some gentle persuasion with a hammer should do the trick – use an offcut of timber to protect the timber you are restoring and remove all other screws first. Once you have the pointy end free, a hammer should be able to knock it back out the way it went in. – tom_builds

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

There are some brilliant tips here. @EricL has now inspired me to save some little rubber bands from bunches of asparagus and broccolini and put them in my toolbox.


I almost want to buy a Dremel rotary tool to try @Noyade's technique, but I don't have the stripped screws to justify it. One day, perhaps...



Amassing an Audience

A Jack Hammer serves me well followed be 1/2 case of beer 🍺 😀 

Finding My Feet abrasive cutting wheel on a Dremel-like device and cut a slit for a slotted screwdriver. - Noyade


I've used a hacksaw as an alternative approach to cut the slit

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Hi @thibbert. That's a great idea too. I guess you'd usually end up cutting into whatever the screw is stuck in as well, but I guess you wouldn't have to go too deep.


Welcome to the Workshop community, by the way. It's great to have you on board contributing great advice like this.

Growing in Experience

Do screws that have sheared off count.


My home is all hardwood framed and when anything needs to be attached to the frame, pre-drilling is a must - even for 12mm coach screws.


For the odd occasion where it snaps off and you cant mount the item anywhere else, any tips on getting the snapped off screw out  - banging my head against the wall gives some comfort in the moment but doesn't solve the issue :smile:

Community Manager
Community Manager

Let me tag @EricL@TedBear and @tom_builds for their tips on how to get a damaged screw out of hardwood @Ask_Itee.




Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hello @Ask_Itee


In order to remove the broken body of the score inside the wood, I suggest drilling around the broken body of the screw. This will soften up the surrounding wood, I then propose using a small head wood chisel to remove a bit of wood around the screw. This will now allow you to grab the body of the screw with either a 200mm combination pliers or Locking Pliers


Once you have a hold of the body of the screw, I propose slowly turning the screw anti-clockwise, any sudden movement could possibly break the body of the screw in half. It will be necessary to patch the damaged area, I recommend using timber wood filler to cover the hole in the wood.


I've drawn up a sample sketch to give you an idea of how to drill and cut around the body of the broken screw. Please have a look and tell me what you think.


If you need further assistance, please let us know.





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