How to Remove a Stripped Screw from Wood Using 6 Methods

When someone thinks about removing a screw, from wood or any other material, they don’t consider it to be one of those tasks that gives a headache. It’s often a simple need that anybody, literally, can sort out.

But things become hard when we are talking about a stripped screw. The ones that I hate the most! Because there’s basically no grip that my screwdriver or drill driver bits can work with.

And trust me when I say this, these bored-out heads are a pain to deal with, that does not only take a huge amount of time but also a number of failed attempts at trying to remove them. 

Unfortunately, I’ve been through the scene of needing to know how to remove a stripped screw from wood. Nothing was good about that experience. Except for the fact that I discovered not one but many ways to tackle this silly screw type. Let me break down the 6 most effective ones today.

Remove a Stripped Screw from Wood Using Pliers

If you are trying to remove strong wood screws that fortunately has the head part above the surface, then pliers can help. Well, to check if that’s possible, try grabbing the head with pliers. If it does allow you to grab, then you can be slightly happy. Because it’s clearly one of the most reliable ways to handle such a situation. 

If you know how to remove a stuck screw from wood using a plier, then things won’t be very hard because it’s quite same here as well. Also, most of the time, the locking pliers really do well with handling stripped screws.

Use the plier to at least grab the screw head’s outer rim. Then try turning it out. And the screw shall give up on being a pain and come out of the thing. You may have to spend quite a bit of energy to turn the thing out.

Also, some wooden material does not allow one to easily grip the screw head. In such a case, having two shallow indentations can help. You want them to groove out just next to the head of screw.

How to Screw into Wood – A Handy Tutorial

Choose a Larger Driver Bit or Manual Screwdriver Instead.

Most of us would know how to Screw into Wood using a driver bit or electric screwdriver. And so, the first instinct to remove screw would also make us recall these two tools. However, things might just not work that way. 

Here being a bit strategic can however help. For example, you can change the driver bit and go for something larger. I’m talking about a larger bit meant for huger screw head, that clearly isn’t for the one you’re handling. 

And even if it seems weird at first, because the amount of pressure distributed across that screw head from a larger driver bit is more, this trick really can help to turn that pathetic screw out. 

Now if you are trying this with a screwdriver, then grab a manual one to work with. Because the manual one comes with the flexibility to control more. And so, you would have a better hand over the torque than using a drill. Give it a try, and perhaps this would be enough for removing a stripped screw from wood. 

Adding Some Grip with Steel Wool Might Help.

This won’t work really well if you are trying to remove a screw with no head from wood. However, a stripped screw with a little something to work with above the surface would have a chance using steel wool.

So, we know what the main issue with a stripped screw head is. It’s the lack of grip! And including the steel wool would mean adding that grip to later use a driver bit for easily turning the screw out.

You simply put the steel wool between the driver bit and screw head. And then if you try to rotate the driver bit, there will be a response due to added grip from bored-out screw head.

The Magical Duo, Hammer & Screwdriver.

There are numerous projects that get help from this duo working together, a hammer and a screwdriver. And a stripped screw is also something that this couple can help with. How? Well, you first place right against the stripped screw a manual screwdriver.

Then using a hammer, you need to very gently tap on the screwdriver’s handle. This will make the tool sit a bit deeper within stripped screw head. And that should help in giving you some grip to work with. You should be able to turn the manual screwdriver and get out that stripped screw from wood.

Adding Grip with Harsh Cleaning Powder.

Quite similar to the steel wool idea. You basically pour some abrasive cleaning powder onto the stripped screw head on wood. And this shall work as a grip adding factor for the screw head to easily turn and make it come out.

Some people also use fine sand for this. The choice of powder isn’t really specific. It just needs to be harsh or abrasive enough for adding that grip effect.

Now how do you unscrew a stripped screw after adding that powder? After sprinkling the powder, using your drill driver bit you should be able to turn stripped screw with rotation. And that should be enough to remove it from wood. There won’t be any slipping on screws to make it hard for you. So, the process afterward is pretty self-explanatory.

Get Yourself a Stripped Screw Extractor Kit.

I was trying to figure out how to remove small stripped screws and that’s when I found out tiny ones are even hard to remove. However, there are pre-designed and specifically made screw exterior kits that came with special tools to remove any stripped screw easily.

And so, often when nothing else works, this proves to be the best last resort. Also, if you don’t want to waste time trying this and that, just grab one such kit and make things work from the first try. Most hardware stores would have these and also the price won’t be very high to bother. It’s usually pretty affordable.

The screw extractor that comes with such a kit usually has one end for drilling right into the screw for making depression. And then you set it to reverse for a little less speed to finish the job. The kit will come with instructions in detail that you can easily follow to remove a stripped screw from wood.

Wrapping Up

I just finished talking about 6 ways you can use for removing a stripped screw from wood. At least one method out of these six should be able to prove as your savior. However, what if nothing works? And you are left with no choice but to just leave it there?

Well, technically you can do that if the screws are just way too buried inside. And all the hassle is just not worth it for getting such a difficult screw out. It isn’t the ideal route, but you can look for ways on patching that area with similar wood to hide the existence of that screw. Those who know How to Fill Wood Holes would find the thing easy to accomplish. And once you are done, simply forget about it entirely.

About Sam Maxi

Hi, this is Sam Maxi. I love talking about woodwork tools and my reviews are mostly based on the experience I have from my work. Apart from reviewing, I am a huge fan of surfing. Also, I love watching horror genre movies.

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