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unsticking a stuck screw

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Ever get cranking on a screw and find out it’s stuck tight? And you’re scared if you keep working on it, you’ll end up messing up the screw?

Put down the screwdriver and walk away. It’s not gonna be good to keep grinding at the thing. The Damsel understands you want to get this over with, but you must stop the madness.

Here’s something to try first. It’s simple enough that if it doesn’t work, you’re not out much, and you can still escalate the situation to the supervisor.

Heat the screw by touching it with a soldering iron or a hot glue gun. (Without glue) That’s it. Just hold one or the other on the screw until it’s very hot. The Damsel doesn’t want to hear about you doing this if you’ve already drenched it in something flammable.

Once the screw is very hot, try again with the screwdriver. Apply firm, steady pressure. Hopefully, the sudden expansion of the hot metal has dislodged the screw from whatever is gripping it.

If the screw still doesn’t move, your situation has exceeded the scope of this post. Tell yourself congratulations because this means you have the right to pitch a fit without guilt.

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  • Hel


    I had to unscrew a stripped screw a couple of months ago. That was HARD. But if you don’t know how to do it, I’m your girl.

  • Mom

    your cleverness with hot tips is only exceeded by your cleverness with words!

  • Hi there, stopping by from MMB. What a great idea for a blog- I will have to look around more when I have more time. And I’ve never heard this trick before; good to know.

  • I wish I’d finished that paragraph about “drenched it in something flammable” before I rushed off in a sugar-like comma of enthusiasm.

  • I wish I’d known this years ago. Definitely tucking it away for the next time I deal with this.

  • Brilliant!! Thanks for posting.

  • Amy

    You know, this is a factoid that I’ll remember forever–and actually USE! Thanks, Damsel!

  • If the heat doesn’t work, you could try applying cold to shrink the metal screw inside the hole and see if it works then. I’ve never tried this on a screw, but sometimes I’ll get two stacked glasses stuck together. I put the bottom glass in shallow hot water and fill the top glass with ice water. Voila! Unstuck. Same principle may apply to this situation.

  • If all else fails….One well aimed shot with the .357 should remove it completely. Also a less noisey method is to spray it with a penetrating spray and then put a screwdriver into slot and I recommend an old beat up screw driver and then give it a good hard wrap on the end with a hammer.Just not so hard it breaks the screw or thr screw driver.