How to remove screws without damaging piece? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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Question How to remove screws without damaging piece?

Nice to be here! I got a problem I haven't been able to figure out. We picked up an old sign with a wooden back and plastic letters. We'd like to repurpose both of these, saving the letters if possible. The letters were mounted with machine screws (flat tip), then the signmaker ground off the heads from the back of the sign.

How can I take off these letters now without damaging the letters or the front of the sign base? I thought about a very small hole saw or plug cutter, chisels and vice-grips, I don't know what would work!


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post #2 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimcooncat View Post
Nice to be here! I got a problem I haven't been able to figure out. We picked up an old sign with a wooden back and plastic letters. We'd like to repurpose both of these, saving the letters if possible. The letters were mounted with machine screws (flat tip), then the signmaker ground off the heads from the back of the sign.

How can I take off these letters now without damaging the letters or the front of the sign base? I thought about a very small hole saw or plug cutter, chisels and vice-grips, I don't know what would work!


Hi JIm - pictures don't really have enough detail for me to see just what you have there. If they are machine screws, there must be some type of metal fastener for them to mate too such as a t-nut.
I have a set of Speed-out screw extractors that work pretty well and aren't terribly expensive.
https://www.buyspeedout.com/iispout/...5-86d564682feb
Good Luck

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Hi JIm - pictures don't really have enough detail for me to see just what you have there.
Yeah the photos don't show much, but that's really all there is to see. The second photo is the back side.

I could try an easy-out, but I'm not sure I will be able to hold a drill steady enough to make a starter hole. Maybe if I grind a little on the backside so I can actually get to the top of the broken screw...
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 09:14 AM
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I had a similar job involving metal to wood where the heads had be ground off. I further groud the heads of the screws to the point where they connected to the shaft of the screw, it was easy to then to drill into the screw shaft with a drill slightly smaller in dia then the screw, after which I was able to separate the wood from the metal with very little effort and no damage to the wooden parts.

I hope that this was understandable.
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 09:15 AM
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I've had good luck re-cutting the slot for screws with a cut off wheel for a dremel tool.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I've had good luck re-cutting the slot for screws with a cut off wheel for a dremel tool.
Would this do the trick? I have a dremel, but no mandrel with it.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-SIX-x-Drem...item462bdb2835
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 09:54 AM
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The link is a different brand than what I use but yes it is the type tool I use. Normally I'm just re-cutting a slot that was stripped out so the the head is at least there. You may have to cut into the wood a little to make a slot that would work.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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I'll try the Dremel cut a screwdriver slot method. This sounds like I wouldn't make that much mess indoors so I can do it when it's warm. The little set of six wheels and mandrel were $20+tax at my local hardware store, where I can buy the shopworn set on ebay from an American for $12.00. Thanks a lot, and keep on working the wood!
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-24-2014, 10:33 AM
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I would probably use a center punch to establish a divot in the end of the screw. Then I would drill a small hole into the shank and use an easy out to remove the screw. If that didn't work I would probably try to drill the screw out down almost to the letter, and then pry the letters off of the board. The screw could then be removed with a small pair of pliers, or a small set of vice grips.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-24-2014, 10:55 AM
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Rockler - Search Results for broken screw extractor

The first item on this page is what you want---it is a hollow core drill that removes a plug of wood around the bad screw--we used to make these ourselves by cutting a push rod (from an engine) and filing teeth onto them.
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