Removing broken wood screwsPosted by Mike Bates on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 at 3:13pm.
How to Remove Broken Wood Screws
Have you ever had a screw broken off in wood? This happened to me recently. A carpenter had hung a new door for me. I was happy with the work, paid him in full plus a tip and then...
Weeks later I took the door down to prime and paint it. I noticed that FIVE screws were broken off in the wooden door. The carpenter had taken the screw heads and put them in the door so it wouldn't be noticeable. Bummer. Well I didn't want to call that guy to come back and fix it, he might make matters worse.
The hard part is that the screws were broken off below the surface of the wood. They were buried in there and and I couldn't pull them out or unscrew them.
First I tried "Screw Outs" from Sears. Screw outs have a small drill on one side of the bit and an easy out on the other side. The idea is to drill a pilot hole down the center of the broken screw, then flip the bit over and use the easy out to fit in that hole and reverse the screw out. Maybe the material in these screws was too hard. I tried the screw outs on three broken screws and they wouldn't drill into any of them. At least Sears has a great return policy. $35 bucks is a lot to pay for a product that doesn't work, but I got my money back.
After some research on the internet I found another tool called a screw extractor. This is a small tube that works like a drill bit. The extractor drills a hole around the broken screw. Go deep enough and eventually the screw is either barely secured or not secured at all to the wood.
Here are some photos of the product in action
|Screw outs are hollow drill bits||This hole fits right around a #8 wood screw|
|Drilling around the broken screw||Unscrewing the broken screw with needle nose pliers|
|Inserting a dowel and fitting it to the hole.||
After the screws are removed and the holes are cleaned out, insert a 1/4 inch dowel into the hole and scribe a line on the dowel. Then remove the dowel and cut it at that line. Put some wood glue (Elmer's glue works fine) on the dowel and put it in the hole. If it doesn't go flush with the other wood, lightly tap it with a hammer.
Give the hole a day or two for the glue to dry. Then drill a small pilot hole, following up with a larger hole for the new wood screw. The standard screw for hinges is about an inch long. Hardware stores sell longer screws for this purpose, about 2 1/4 inches long. I plan to use the longer screws to make sure the hinge is well supported.
Screw extractors are not easy to find. I bought mine at a store called Woodcraft in Honolulu for $11.
That's it! Now I just gotta finish painting the door.