Every tool box needs a pair of screw removal pliers

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/30/every-tool-box-needs-a-pair-of.html


There’s also the “vamplier” brand which is good too. Personally I use vise grip pliers. I size them a little under the size of the screw head so when they lock they actually squish the metal in and grip very well. They’re not as gentle or as nice as these dedicated pliers, but most people already have some so they work in a pinch.


This weekend I had a Allen head strip out of a screw holding a base to a red dot sight. It was countersunk, so this would not have helped. I tried a few other methods before going nuclear and using a Dremel to cut a slot in it.

ugh - its not pretty any more, but it worked. I could re-use taht base, but I won’t need to since I was replacing it with a new, pretty red one.

But yeah - pretty much every time I touch something, some dump little thing goes wrong.


I’ve had luck with the rubber band method as long as it’s not torqued too tight.


after you’ve exhausted other options, left-handed (hardened) drill bits can get just about anything out. screw extractors are nice too, but they are tapered and can sometimes damage the hole if you’re too aggressive with them.

I once epoxied (JB weld) another screw onto a stripped one, face-to-face, then chucked the extra screw in my drill chuck and backed it out very slowly.


These saved my bacon late last year, when the fourth and final screw attaching my dying hard drive to its chassis refused point blank to turn.


This is all good, but if you’ve resorted to disassembling the hard disk it’s likely your day has already gone to sh*t.


I like DeWalt compound needle nose pliers. They can handle this kind of thing and more. Way more gripping force than a normal plier and can get into tighter spots. Expensive by comparison but worth every penny.


Yes but can they unscrew a lid off of a tube of gouache? That’s the ultimate challenge for unsticking the stuck.


Oh sure, as if ripping off the top of the tube isn’t the desired outcome…


funny, I just had to JB Weld a hole in my work gloves, and I needed pliers to get the damn caps off the tubes. even without mixing them, the separate compounds get really hard when they dry out on the threading.


Thought I saw this before…

(Edit: the following link no longer works for some reason and I am too lazy to dig up a new one)


Assuming that’s a stock image of a HDD… you really shouldn’t be opening those! Unless it’s already dead and you’re just harvesting the magnets or destroying the platters. Very odd choice of stock image anyway.

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Here’s a video for those. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X69RfYPjr4

Not if it’s an old drive that you want to destroy before throwing away. Also, HD platters make cool looking coasters.


OH dang - i should have tried that. I have something called screw medic that is sort of like a gritty gel that did seem to give me more purchase, but it was just in there too tight. Well and at one point I was going the wrong way - that didnt help things. God damn it, I suck.

Isn’t gouache water solvable? Soak the tubes in water?

I had to do that with oil paints and turpentine.

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I think I found an old pair at the Flea Market marked ”5” ”F.W.C.” So cool! Thanks.


Then there are the ones that just don’t want to come out, like the hardened bolt that held the starter onto the engine block of my old Chevy van, which broke a month or two after the warranty ended :slight_smile: My mechanic eventually drilled it out, but basically any time he had anything else to work on, he’d do that, because it was really tedious and annoying (and it was our second vehicle, so he could take his time.) No good way to fix it once it was out; eventually they put on a bigger starter that could reach a different hole in the engine block, because the official Chevy answer had been “replace the engine block”. 50,000 miles later something else blew up the engine, and then it was new engine time.

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Yes you did. That link is broken, but I sure remember suggesting alternatives.

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