Stripped screws are a pain point for the DIY enthusiast and professional craftsperson alike. They’re incredibly frustrating and can hold up a job indefinitely while you figure out how to get that pesky screw in or out of whatever it is you’re building or repairing. Stripped screws are the result of the slots in the head of the screw eroding so that you’re unable to get a grip with the head of the screwdriver or screw bit. And it doesn’t matter which kind of screw you’re working with. If you can’t turn it, you’re stuck. But you don’t need to be, as here’s a simple solution.
Watch the video to learn how to remove a stripped screw using duct tape.
How do stripped screws happen?
The head of a screw is most likely to strip in an old screw that’s been screwed in and out many times. But whether you’re working with an old screw or a new one, your technique can also create an issue. For example, using the wrong screw bit when twisting the screw can sheer off some of the grooves. Likewise, being too heavy-handed or trying to torque the screw too quickly can have the same effect. And twisting the screw from an awkward angle so that the screwdriver or screw bit is not correctly engaged can certainly strip your screw in a hurry.
How to prevent screws from stripping.
As with everything, prevention is better than cure, and there are a number of ways to avoid stripping a screw.
Use the proper bit size. Screwdrivers and screw bits are precision instruments. Ensuring they’re paired correctly with the corresponding screw size will help ensure your turning power is distributed evenly and, therefore, more effectively. It will also put less pressure on the screw head recesses, stopping you from sheering bits off.
Keeping your screwdriver or screw bit perpendicular to the screw head will also help. If the two are not precisely docked, you run the risk of stripping the screw.
Finally, don’t rush or push too hard. Take your time, focusing on keeping the screw head in place. Screws need to be eased in or out, and you’re much less likely to strip a screw if you start with light pressure and work up from there.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How to remove a stripped screw with duct tape