Screw spinning in place: How To Remove A Spinning Screw

How To Remove A Spinning Screw

How To Remove A Spinning Screw

By Robert Robillard on Workshop tips


How To Remove A Stripped Screw

Ever run into a spinning or stripped screw?  It’s frustrating to say the least.  There are a few methods to deal with this.  The article below will focus on how to remove a spinning screw.

Spinning Freely

How about a screw where the head or part of the shaft has broken off and now the screw spins freely but doesn’t come out?

Here’s a quick tip I learned many moons ago and still use today.  Get the screw started by prying on the screw head a bit.

For a prying tool, I like to use a utility blade. Other objects, like a flat blade screw driver, to put a little outward pressure on the screw head.

Keeping firm pressure on the shaft. Once the screw comes out a bit but the blade rides in the threads and the screw creating friction that will facilitate backing the screw out.

Stripped Screw Head:

When the screw head is stripped you can sometimes use a larger screw driver head.  Sometimes using a Torx or flat heat driver bit can get traction and torque to get the screw moving. If that fails, its best to use a screw extractor. Screw extractors have sharp, rough metal threaded tips. These tip burrow into the softer screw head metal, and allow you to apply torque and loosen the screw.  If the head of the screw is protruding, you can use locking pliers to unscrew it or chuck a drill on it – see video below.

How To Remove A Stripped Screw

Since we are on the topic of how to remove a spinning screw, another method for removing a stripped screw is to use a drill.   Simply chuck the drill over the screw head and back out the screw.

~ concord carpenter


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz

As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company.

Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews.

Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series –
Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials.

Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He’s a strong advocate for “raising the bar” in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great

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Screw Turns But Won’t Come Out (How To Remove It)


After being a homeowner for a while, you will likely start to see that most projects don’t go the way you expect them to go.

Chances are an issue or problem will come up at some point, and it will potentially decrease your desire to do things around the house.

However, over time, you will very likely start to learn more about what is involved in home improvement work, and you’ll pick up some tricks that can help you complete the projects easier.

One of those tricks is how to remove screws that will turn but won’t come out.

If you have run into this situation, don’t be concerned as there are simple tricks you can use to help get your project back on track.


Screw Turns but Won’t Come Out (How to Remove It)


The following steps will help you to remove a screw that is turning that won’t come out.


Step 1: Assess the Situation

The first step in this process is to take a look at what you are doing and see what might be causing the issue.

For the most part, the problem is that the screw is potentially older and needs to be replaced.

The older screws can sometimes be stripped, which causes their threads not to function anymore.

This means that the head of the screw is still working great, but the internal threads are just spinning.

In order to get this process started, take a look at the screw and the hole around it and see if you can see anything that could be blocking it from moving.

Most of the time, this is not the case, and you simply need to move on to the next step.


Step 2: Gather Materials

The tools that you will need for this project include a screwdriver, a flat head screwdriver, a utility knife, and sometimes a pair of gloves can also be helpful.

These tools will allow you to make sure that, once you get the screw freed from its spot, you can also start to pull it out.


Step 3: Pry

Once you have your materials, you can start to work on the process of actually getting the screw out.

Since the threads on the screw are no longer raised, and the wood around the screw is hollowed out, the screw simply continues to turn in place in the wood.

One of the best ways to get the screw onto a different path that may allow for it to be released from the wood is to use a flat head screwdriver to start prying the screw out.

You will place the tip of the flathead screwdriver directly under the head of the stripped screw.

Once the screwdriver is in place, try to pry up on the head of the screw a bit.

As you are prying up, you should then initiate the use of your traditional screwdriver and start turning it as you usually would.


Step 4: Pry and Turn

As you have the screw pushed up slightly from just under the head, you can turn the screwdriver to try and get it to move.

Sometimes this little bit of leverage is all it takes to get the screw into a position from which you can remove it from the hole it is in.

Sometimes when a screw is stripped, it is mainly causing a problem directly around the screw itself.

When it starts to move away from the same circular pattern it has been moving in, many times, this will be enough to release it from the hole.

As you pry and turn, don’t be afraid to keep pulling up on the underside of the screw head with the edge of the flat head screwdriver.

This should be all that is necessary to get the screw slightly removed from the hole.


Step 5: Manually Pull Screw When Possible

Once you have a good portion of the screw pulled out, chances are you can start to pull up on the screw with your fingers or pliers.

The pliers will help you grab onto the top of the screw and then pull at it.

If the screw is completely stripped, you might even be able to do this with your fingers.

Sometimes this method is faster and easier than just continuing to try and work with the screwdrivers.


Step 6: Replace Screw

Now that you have taken the screw out, you are going to want to replace it with a new screw.

Take a look into the hole and see if, in fact, the area is completely hollowed out.

Sometimes this happens, and it will require you to use a bit of wood filler when you replace the screw.

Adding the wood filler will only take a tiny extra step, but it could help to make sure that the screw does not get stuck again in the future.

You may also need to use a larger screw this time around so that there is more for it to grab onto inside the wood.


How to Remove a Stripped Screw Head


Now that you know what to do with a screw that turns but won’t come out, it’s a good idea to think about what happens when a screw head is not moveable.

Sometimes you will go to take a screw out, but the head of the screw is stripped.

This usually means that the top of the screw no longer has the indentations for you to insert the screwdriver.

If the indentations are there, it is possible that they are very smooth and not as raised or ready for you to use a screwdriver on them.

Sometimes this can be a more difficult issue to deal with than stripped screw threads.

The flat head screwdriver can get quite a bit of traction, and that is what helps to get the screw moving at times.

We like to try and go a size bigger than the size you need because this sometimes gives you just the amount of grip you need to get the screw moving.

If you can’t get it to work with the tool you have, you can use a screw extractor.

A screw extractor has a sharp, rough metal threaded tip.

The tip goes into the softer metal of the screw head, and it gives you enough grab to get the screw turning.

Once the screw is slightly removed from the wood or material that it is stuck in, you can then use pliers to continue turning it and pulling it out.

This process is not difficult to accomplish once you have the screw slightly away, and you can switch to those pliers.

Sometimes you can also use a drill to get the stuck screw released from its place, but if you don’t have one handy, it’s good to know a few different ways to complete this process.


How Not to Strip a Screw During Installation


Now that you know how to get a screw out, you want to make sure that you are not the one who was causing these issues to begin with.

Luckily, you can do some things to make sure that you don’t strip the screw as you are installing it into the material you are working with.


1. Drill a Pilot Hole

The drilling process is much easier on all those involved when there is a pilot hole.

The pilot hole helps to ensure that the screw has a place to go and that there is much less pressure on the screw as it travels through the material.

In the end, this ends up making it less likely for you to strip the screw or the screw head as you drill.

This is especially important when you are working with materials that are difficult to get through.


2. Use the Clutch

The clutch is your way of protecting and controlling how much force you are putting on the screw.

The clutch can be adjusted so that it does not allow too much force to be applied when resistance is met.

When you don’t use the clutch, the screw can just spin out of control, and it can get worn down and eventually stripped.

A clutch is a tool that tends to make a big difference in this process, and it should be used.


3. Use Enough Power

Don’t be afraid to squeeze the trigger in full and get your screw into place quickly.

Sometimes when you baby it a bit, the screw will slip out of place, and this will end up causing the screwdriver or drill to strip the top.

Once you have the screw in place, do not tighten it down too much.

This extra tightening can lead to the screw head being stripped as well as the threads of the screw itself.

Overall, as long as you are using the proper tools with the right pressure and safety precautions in place, you should not have any trouble with stripping a screw.

How to unscrew a licked screw with your own hands 7 ways

The problem of licked edges of a screw for a Phillips screwdriver has long been known to everyone. There are few solutions to how to get out of this situation and remove the broken screw. I will only offer you seven that I personally had to use.

How to unscrew a licked screw?

Unfortunately, there is no almost universal solution. And each presented method is good for its situation. Therefore, everything is known in comparison and applied to a specific individual situation and its screw.

First method: use a tourniquet

You will need a piece of thick rubber. It can be a piece of a medical tourniquet, a piece of a camera from a bicycle, or the like. The denser and stiffer the material, the more twisting force can be created.
Berm screwdriver, as close as possible to the groove of the screw.

We take a tourniquet.

We put the tourniquet under the screwdriver or bit and insert it all into the licked head. Next, with simultaneous pressure and rotational movement, we try to unscrew the screw.

Properly applied force can unscrew the screw with a significantly screwed-in force.

Second way: how to remove a screw with an impact screwdriver

If you have an impact screwdriver (or ask your friend), you can use it.

Of course, the screw cannot be completely unscrewed, but the connection can be significantly loosened, and then we use a regular screwdriver.

Third method: use a special bit for bolts with turned crosses

Since the problem of flattened edges is not new, ready-made solutions have been on the market for a long time. For example – a special bit for unscrewing licked bolts.

Insert it into a screwdriver or screwdriver and unscrew it. Sharp edges at the right angle engage perfectly and the screw can be rotated.

Fourth way: extractor

Special tools for repairing broken screws, studs, bolts and the like include an extractor. It works exactly like the bit in the example above, but with a slight difference.
Insert the nozzle into the screwdriver and unscrew. You may first need to select the extractor according to the recess, since the diameters of the heads are different.

Fifth way: we unscrew with the left-hand drill

In addition to the usual drills, there are also drills with a left-hand helix. Such a drill can be used as a tool for unscrewing a broken screw.

Sixth method: using a core

This method is well suited for removing small screws. We take the core, rest it against the edge of the cap at an angle of about 45 degrees and gently hit it with a hammer in the direction of the cap rotation.

Due to its sharpness, the core has a good grip, which means that the screw is more likely to be unscrewable.

Seventh method: take a hammer and chisel

The method has become a classic, but it is problematic to use it for small screws. We take a chisel or chisel, remove the tip to the side of the cap and gently hitting turn the screw. The main thing here is to move the hat from its place, and as it seems, unscrewing can be continued with pliers.

Friends, it will be great if you share your ways of getting out of such a life situation. Thank you for your attention!

Watch the video

Watch the video for more details.

How to unscrew a bolt with stripped edges: instructions, tips and rules

If you are faced with this problem and do not know how to unscrew a broken bolt, in the review we will tell you the key rules for solving the problem. We will also decide which methods will be the most effective and will help unscrew the bolt with torn edges from the part.

Bolt with stripped edges and why do fasteners break?

In order to prevent deformation or breakage of the bolt faces, it is important to determine the reasons for which the fastener faces break off. Consider the classic situations that lead to breakdowns:

  1. Tensile overload will stretch the bolt. In simple words, there is a tension or stretching of the fastener. In fasteners, galling occurs between the male and female threads, or when the bolt threads match the female threads (hole). The most common cause of stretching is considered to be running without lubrication of parts or using the wrong lubricant.
  2. Mechanical damage to the bolt. At the same time, failed bolts not only clamp the part, but also form debris that will need to be collected. Such a deformation is preceded by an incorrect tightening of the bolt – either it was overtightened, or it was not clamped too tightly.
  3. Bolt corrosion. Many of the high strength steel alloys are susceptible to stress corrosion. To avoid such a problem, it is recommended to lubricate the parts with protective solutions. It is also important to control the level of moisture and its impact on the parts.
  4. Dynamic bolt load. Occurs when the bolt is not tightened correctly. When the dynamic load exceeds the clamping load, this leads to cyclic tensile stress and possible deformation. This is explained by the fact that the bolt is constantly moving in reverse directions, so it must be properly tightened. If you tighten the fastener poorly, it will not be able to provide the required preload for the clamp. On the other hand, if the fastener exceeds the allowable limits, it may fail due to exceeding the maximum yield strength.


In order not to get bolts with broken edges as a result, experts advise using suitable fasteners, lubricating the bolts and tightening them with the correct wrench, adjusting the clamping force.

Stripped bolts: can the problem be solved

Bolts with torn edges are the result of improper clamping of fasteners, violation of fastening rules. If the bolt cannot be repaired, it must be drilled out along with the thread. Damaged threads can sometimes be cleaned with a thread cutter or tap. If we are talking about serious damage, you will have to unscrew the broken bolt and replace it.

If you’re undertaking a thread repair or replacement, it’s important to pay attention to the details. You need to choose the right drill size for the hole. When drilling, hold the drill parallel to the hole. After you have managed to unscrew the bolt with torn edges, remove all debris from the hole.

How to remove a broken bolt: finding an effective solution

Always use special solutions or oil formulations before removing broken bolts with stripped edges. The penetrating liquid will loosen the connection, after which it will be a little easier to get the bolt. This is a mandatory step, especially if the bolt is heavily rusted. Give the fluid time to work. The heating of the bolt may also work, after melting the wax. The heat soaks the wax into the threads, making it easier to remove the bolt.

  1. Use a screwdriver. If the bolt turns but cannot be removed due to damage to the threads or head, insert a small screwdriver or flat blade between the part and the bolt. With effort, push the bolt, trying to unscrew it. You can try cleaning the hole. This option is suitable for bolted connection. Insert a small blade, screwdriver under the head, turning the clasp.
  2. Unscrewing the bolt with a wrench. If the bolt head is torn off, special wrenches will help. If you don’t have a special tool, try a slightly smaller socket or wrench.
  3. Pliers. If it is impossible to unscrew the bolt, then pliers will be needed. With their help, it will be possible to get the remains of the product from the hole. It is important to choose a tool with a suitable grip, avoiding sharp ends.
  4. Heating. Using a propane heater, you can heat the bolt. To enhance the effect, apply oil to the product. After that, it will be easier to get the ball, since the heated metal breaks the grip of the thread. After heating, you need to cool the bolt. Even regular ice will do.
  5. Cut out the bolt. To do this, you need a grinder or angle grinder, with which you make a hole in the center of the head. Then use a flat blade screwdriver. An impact screwdriver will help loosen the stuck bolt.
  6. Weld on a new nut. If the bolt head is torn off, there is an option to weld a new nut onto the old head.
  7. Drill. If you can’t cut the bolt, you’ll need a drill. Set the center punch to the center of the stripped bolt. Use a small diameter drill, gradually increasing it. When you get to the edge of the thread, you can remove the bolt.

Stripped hex bolts: how to unscrew them

If you need to unscrew the hex socket head bolts, use the following tips:

  • in the hat you need to make a small notch for a flat screwdriver. Try to unscrew the bolt with a screwdriver;
  • , use a TORX sprocket to remove the bolt. Here it is important to choose the right size of the tool so that it is not too large. We take out the bolt jerkily. Control not to break the slot on the sprocket;
  • a drill with a drill or special extractors will help in solving this problem. A hole is drilled in the center of the bolt, into which an extractor of a suitable size will enter. Then, using pliers, carefully remove the bolt.

To use an extractor to remove a bolt from a hole, drill a pilot hole in the center of the damaged fastener using a drill and drill bit of the appropriate size. If the damaged screw head is uneven or damaged, start with the smallest diameter hole. Then drill a larger hole with a drill to match the size of the puller.

When working with the extractor and at the preparatory stages, it is important to follow a number of rules:

  • The diameter of the pilot head hole depends on the size of the extractor used. Study the manufacturer’s recommendations in the instructions for the extractor, so as not to miscalculate the size of the product and achieve your goal;
  • when drilling bolts, which are most often made of metal, it is important to maintain a medium drilling speed. Drilling too fast will cause the drill to overheat. Then you will have to sharpen the drill or look for a new one;
  • do not start with large diameter drills. Their diameter should be gradually increased. There are risks of breakage of the drill itself inside the hole.

When working with the extractor, attach the nozzle to the handle or clamp it with pliers. The extractor is installed in the hole of the damaged bolt, which should be located in the center. Using a hammer, drive the extractor into the pilot hole. Press down on the extractor by turning it counterclockwise to remove the damaged bolt.

Many beginners face the problem when the extractor slips off. In this case, it is better to tap the bolt harder so that it goes to a greater depth. When turning the extractor counterclockwise, try to push it harder. If these methods don’t work, make the hole a little bigger.

When choosing a way to unscrew a bolt with torn edges, determine the degree of damage to the head and indicate what tools you have on hand. Start with simple methods, but if they do not give the desired result, move on to more drastic ones.