Im screwed. How do I get a stripped hex screw out?

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Forum topic by Lotidus posted 09-26-2011 06:46 AM 11910 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Lotidus's profile


110 posts in 2699 days

09-26-2011 06:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have stripped the head on a hex screw in my scroll saw. It tightens the clamp on the lower blade holder. Its just stripped enough where the hex wrench wont catch it and the next size up wont fit. Mind you I dont have a tap. I was thinking I could file a flat on either side of the head and use a plier. Any other sugestions would be welcome.

-- Lotidus

19 replies so far

View James Clapperton's profile

James Clapperton

35 posts in 2481 days

#1 posted 09-26-2011 06:50 AM

Use a hack saw or something similar and cut a slot in the head and use a flathead screwdriver in the slot you’ve made. I do it to tattoo machines with stripped screws daily. Good luck.

View pariswoodworking's profile


389 posts in 2510 days

#2 posted 09-26-2011 06:54 AM

I had the same problem with my scroll saw only with the upper clamp. The screws always seemed to strip and the actual clamp always broke (Cheap metal). I replaced them wth a flat head screw, a nut, and a washer I shaped to look like the origional clamp. It works pretty good. I just use a pair of locking pliers to hold the nut while I uncrew the screw. The blade occasionally slips out but for the most part it works. If it is the same soft metal that mine was made out of, you may be able to just use pliers to grab the head and unscrew it out without any filing.

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3186 days

#3 posted 09-26-2011 07:15 AM

Grind down the end of your hex key so it will get a new bite on the screw. Alternatively, try one of those gripper outers. I don’t recall their name. ........ Its called a “Grabit”.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View twoblacklabs's profile


258 posts in 2717 days

#4 posted 09-26-2011 07:15 AM

Sorry for double posting….. Deleted

-- If You Haven't Got the Time to Do It Right, When Will You Find the Time to Do It Over?

View twoblacklabs's profile


258 posts in 2717 days

#5 posted 09-26-2011 07:17 AM

Take a break and walk away for the night.

Harbor Freight has cheap screw extractors. Worth the price. They will do in a pinch. Expect to break one or two of them but the store will replace at no charge. This is one of the items they have that I EXPECT to break when I spend under $8. In fact, I HAVE broke mine.

But honestly, when you need it, you need it and the price can’t be beat. If you don’t have HF nearby, go to Sears.

-- If You Haven't Got the Time to Do It Right, When Will You Find the Time to Do It Over?

View maljr1980's profile


171 posts in 2482 days

#6 posted 09-26-2011 08:20 AM

drill the screw out

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2650 days

#7 posted 09-26-2011 09:15 AM

Try super gluing the correct size hex wrench in. if that does not work file down the next size to fit. THEN go to an ACE hardware store and buy a new hex screw, look for AMERICAN steel.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2527 days

#8 posted 09-26-2011 11:36 AM

If you can get to the ouutside of the head with something like pliers, grab it with vice-grips and twist out. If you can’t, drill a small hole down the shaft of the bolt and use “easy-outs”.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2892 days

#9 posted 09-26-2011 01:16 PM

Lotidus, get the proper size screw extractor and carefully drill the right size hole in the center of the socket head cap screw. The hole needs to be smaller than the largest part of the taper so the extractor will bite into the sides of the hole. Turn the extractor counterclockwise and it will bite into the screw and back it out. If the screw is especially hard you may need to use a carbide drill bit. However, sometimes you can take a left hand drill and drill a hole in the screw and the drill will bite into the screw and back the screw out. First off, however, if the head is sticking out you may just be able to remove the screw with a good pair of vise grips.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Letorix's profile


119 posts in 2529 days

#10 posted 09-26-2011 02:31 PM

Soak the screw with pb blaster. Buy a carbide tip masonry small enough to not ruin the threads. Might pay to punch a start for the bit. Drill and lubricate as you drill, take your time. I’m spent hours on one just so I didn’t ruin or re-tap a very expensive item….i.e. marine power head. Take your time, it will work. Used this method often, old timer taught me…I thought he was nuts…he was just an old machinists :-)

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20594 posts in 3131 days

#11 posted 09-26-2011 02:33 PM

If it is not completely round inside, grind down the next bigger Allen wrench down one flat at a time until it just starts to go in and tap it in with a hammer and it should turn it out. Then get a good quality socket head cap screw at Ace hardware. A good screw will be a grade 8 and it should not wear out before the wrench.
If you can get a vice grip on the outside, try that first!
Good luck, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2719 days

#12 posted 09-26-2011 03:11 PM

This is what I use:

I am sure there are other brands that are easily found at the big box. I always tap the bit into the screw lightly with a hammer to start the bite. For something stubborn, I’d give it a shot of PB blaster & wait an hour.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2593 days

#13 posted 09-26-2011 04:24 PM

I’ve done something similar to jumbojack, but with epoxy. Epoxy a wrench in, let it set up good, and twist it out.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Letorix's profile


119 posts in 2529 days

#14 posted 09-26-2011 09:26 PM

Certain screws are too small, or hardened or even too soft for extractors. If you can’t get it out with the extractors drilling is the only solution. Save your self some time and bits and use the carbide tip masonry bit.

Soaking with PB Blaster is a must.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2984 days

#15 posted 09-26-2011 11:59 PM

I would use JB Weld to glue the allen wrench in, let it dry overnight, then twist it out. You can also take a sharp chisel and tap it directly into the top of the screw head to make a slot for a driver, but you could also take that same chisel (or a center punch) and tap on the edge (side) of the screw head in the direction to remove it to knock it loose, then turn it out. The only part that is holding it is the surface between the head and the body of the saw, so if you end up removing the head of the screw entirley you can generally turn the screw out quite easily with the point of the center punch.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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