Five methods to remove a stripped screw

Originally published at:


Try a drill with a clutch mechanism to prevent stripping screws.


The rubber band is a GREAT idea !

Growing up I always just hammered in a flat-head and then turned it w/ a wrench while pushing ‘down’ / ‘in’.


Old Jr.: I stripped the head on the screw. Any ideas on how to get it out?
Me: Swear bit.
Old Jr.: Did you say square bit?
Me: Nope.


Which is the one where I end up in the ER or divorced or both? That’s the one I use.


Thanks! Learned something today.



(Oddly enough, not mentioned in the article.)

I will also link to this again, simply because it is the most dramatic tool commercial I have yet seen:


This would be a good time to point out — I hate workig with Phillips screws. Why do they exist? They are like the daylight savings time of screws.


There are three common sizes of Phillips screws (there are eight in total)- finding and using the correct size will minimize the problem in the first place. Though it’s worth noting that Phillips screws are an inferior fastener. In addition, there are other fasteners that appear to be Phillips but are not. JIS B 1012 and Frearson, for example.
For better results, consider either the Robertson (square) drive, or (my personal preference), the Torx drive. Either is much less likely to strip in the first place.


Just like nothingfuture said above, spend the extra money and buy better screws. Torx, square drive, or even hex head depending on the job. I like Spax product line myself.


i’ve had the standard, less tapered ones for years - they only work on larger, softer screws/bolts, or if you can manage to drill it out a little - this one is more tapered, looks like it bites easier, and has a slot to allow it to compress and show an edge - it really does seem like a better design, especially for ordinary phillips heads


More on the topic here (should start 6:36 in):

Edit because it was autoplaying and that’s unacceptable, Vimeo.


nice vid - i kept thinking they should get Henry Rollins to do the voiceover - what’s its provenance?

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Yes. I look forward to my encounters with Spax and Torx.

That’s a Tom Sachs & Van Neistat production called "Love Letter to Plywood.“
Tom uses lots of 3/4” AC Fir plywood in his work, and that video represents a manifesto of sorts about his views of it (and, I imagine, serves as a bit of orientation material for his incoming shop assistants).

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Because some fast-talking snake-oil salesman convinced GM and others that a screw that slipped rather than twisting off the head was a feature. The Robertson patent had already been around for years, and if Mr. Robertson had been a better businessman there would probably be no other screw type today.


This is great! Thanks for posting it. Love Tom Sachs’s art so much. He should have a DIY building show on cable.

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Everything made out of 3/4" AC ply with too many wood screws. And epoxy. Lots of epoxy.


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I’ve tried the rubber band method and it was terribly unhelpful so one’s mileage on that may vary depending on how stuck the screw is.

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Because the screwdriver doesn’t slip out of them when they are turned, unlike slotted screws.

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