Saturday, January 17, 2009

Extracting a screw - successfully!

As I was putting together the crib, my wife's crib from when she was a baby, that her father built for her, I realized that I shouldn't break it as it might have some sentimental value and we are trying to reuse it to save some money. Of course as I was screwing in one of the screws I twisted its little head right off. This meant that the threaded end of the screw was lost deep in the wood exactly in the pot where a replacement screw would have to go.

I immediately eliminated the thought that one screw would be enough and luckily remembered that I had screw extractors that I had never used. Presumably left over from a tool impulse purchase, I pulled them out and found some useful instructions online (wikihow stripped screw, wikihow screw extractor, and the best, a screw extractor step by step slideshow on

Miracle of miracles, I was successful. You may never need to do this, I have had these tools for at least seven years and never used them, but it nice to know they work if you need them.

The picture above is a close up of the twisted off head and the screw bit on the extractor. You drill a hole in the screw you are trying to extract and then screw in the screw extractor. The trick is that it is threaded opposite of a screw. Turning it counterclockwise buries it in the screw to be extracted and grabs it even as it turns the screw counterclockwise to unscrew it. Genius.

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