5 Pro Tips When Using a Screw Extractor

A screw extractor is an important and essential tool that should be in every toolbox. A tool extractor is used to remove broken or seized screws. There are two kinds of screw extractors – one with a spiral flute structure and another with a straight flute structure. Screw extractors are usually made of hard steel and if too much force is applied, they can break inside the screw being removed. As the screw extractor is made of brittle material, you cannot use a home shop drill to drill into it. This means you will have a tough time removing the screw. 

Using a screw extractor can be easy if you have the right set of tools. However, the tools depend on the type and size of the screw and the material you are trying to remove. Some handy tools include: 

  • Screw extractor
  • Hammer
  • Centre punch
  • Drill (without an impact driver)
  • Drill bits (only if your extractor doesn’t have a boring end)
  • Thread cutting oil and/or penetrating oil
  • Wrench
  • Safety glasses

Step you need to Follow While using a Screw extractor​

Safety first

First and foremost tip is to ensure safety. Wear the safety glasses before you start your work because the task could potentially result in a few metal shards flying off. A safety glass protects your eyes from the debris.  Furthermore, if you are worried about the metal savings cutting your hands, you might wish to wear a pair of gloves. 

Punch it out

If you are using a basic screw extractor, you might have to provide some room in the screw head for it to work properly. It means you may have to drill or expand the hole in the screw. For this, you must align the punch to the centre of the screw and use a hammer to knock it down slightly. It will result in an indentation in the centre of the screw to help you guide the drill bit. Certain screw extractors might have a burnishing end that can be used to dill out the screw head. In that case, you don’t have to punch it out before drilling.

Drill a guide hole

The next step would be to find a drill bit with a smaller diameter than the screw you wish to remove. You can add a bit of thread cutting oil on the head of the screw to ease things up. Then, keeping the drill bit straight, drill down into the screw for about 1/8″ to 1/4″ depending on the screw size. It would be a good idea to do things slowly as rushing the process could ruin the entire thing. 

If you are using a burnishing/extractor double-ended bit, kick your drill into reverse to use it properly. As the double-ended bit matches up with the proper extractor size, there’s no need for guesswork. You only have to compare each bit to the screw to choose the best size. You’ll find double-ended screw extractor the easier ones to use. 

Screw it

Once you have drilled the guide hole, you can finally use the screw extractor. If using a drill in reverse, you should turn the screw extractor into the guide hole – it will twist down and grab the screw. Then, all you have to do is keep turning until the screw comes out safely. It is advisable to proceed slowly during this process. 

  • In case the screw extractor doesn’t bite, drill, or bore out a little more of the head. If that doesn’t help, try the next size up.
  • Consider running the extractor out manually. Although using a drill in slow speed can help, there are high chances of breaking if run quickly. Also, the bigger and deeper the screw is stuck, the higher the chances of success with a manual approach. 

Even though a screw extractor is not an absolute necessity, it is a handy and effective tool to get the job done with the slightest damage to the wood surrounding the screw. If you need reliable screw extractors at affordable prices, click here

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