Extracting Broken Screws:​​​​​​​what To Do When Things Get Stuck!
Good Woodworking|September 2017
Extracting Broken Screws:​​​​​​​what To Do When Things Get Stuck!

As Mike McCrory says, if you’ve ever used small brass screws in hardwood, you’ll have undoubtedly run into issues. Here he offers his advice on dealing with the problem as well as advising how to avoid this happening the first time around.

Mike McCrory

If you’ve ever used small brass screws in hardwood, you’ll have undoubtedly run into issues. The metal in a brass screw is notoriously soft and this presents challenges when screwing into hardwood. I was recently working on the final touches of a jewellery box that I had made using bird’s eye maple for the sides, and black walnut for the top and bottom. As I was tightening the final brass screw in the hinge, the screw head sheared off . I was horrified! I had to find a solution after coming so far with this very special project.

Removing the hinges

I started by removing the hinges. Even unscrewing these was harder than expected, and I ended up shearing off another screw in the process. Both of these problematic screws were close to each other, so I suspect there was an exceptionally hard piece of maple in this spot.

After installing and subsequently removing the screws, the heads were marred, and I definitely did not want to have the appearance of stripped screw heads in a brand-new jewellery box, so I decided that I’d replace all of them.

Screw extractors

There are a lot of screw extractors on the market for extracting screws that have a stripped head, but this problem was different. These had no head remaining. If they had been larger, I may have been able to drill a hole into the screw and used one of these extractors, but the No.2 (2mm) screws were too small to be able to do that.

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September 2017