How to get a small screw out?!?!

I finished the drop front desk that I have asked 100 questions about before, and was putting the hardware on. I broke a @$#*%&@ screw off, fairly far down the shaft so trying to dig it out to get pliers on it won't work. It is a #6 screw about 3/16" from the edge of the mortise. Simply ignoring it will leave the new screw cockeyed. Any bright ideas on how to get it out?
Fortunately the wood is covered by the hinge on one side and won't really be seen on the other, so the fix doesn't have to be pretty. I could get a small plug cutter and simply remove the whole area, filling in with something; but I would really like to find a less destructive solution (especially since I don't have a small plug cutter).
So, how do I get it out? And when I do, what do I fill the hole with? I have been using JB Weld to fill screw holes, but maybe there is something better. It has to be a very strong repair because it holds the drop front on.
Thanks.
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They sell a special tool for this, and if you live near a Woodcraft or Rockler's or if you can wait for delivery, they are pretty cheap. Otherwise, you can go to a hobby or hardware store and get a piece of steel tubing of the appropriate size. File some teeth in the edge so it resembles a hole saw, BUT file them backwards, so they cut when the device is spinning in reverse. Chuck it up in a drill and use a slow speed .. .. drill down a bit until the teeth engage the broken screw shank. It should back right out. It may take a few tries, but usually it will work.
Toller wrote:

-- If you can read this .. thank a teacher .. If you are reading it in English .. thank a soldier too !!
<<<__ Bob __>>>
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Toller:
Your best bet is to use a broken screw extractor- very carefully. We sell several. The one I would use for this simply slips snuggly around the exposed shank, and as the drill is operated in reverse, either grabs the shank, or bites into the threads. In either case, it is the most reliable extractor I have used (our part # BSE-1005). The other version works well too, but generally results in more repair work afterwards. It is basically a fancy plug cutter that operates in reverse. (Our part # SE-2514).
For future reference, one of the best ways to avoid breakage of small screws (especially solid brass, or the cheapies included with most hardware) is to pre-thread the hole with a good quality hardened steel screw first. The threads will seldom line up exactly, but the degradation in holding strength is seldom a problem. In addition, lubricating the threads with beeswax, carnuba wax, or a similar wax product (but definitely not soap), will cut down on fastener failure as well.
Hope this helps,
Jim Ray, President McFeely's Square Drive Screws www.mcfeelys.com
screw off, fairly far down the shaft so trying to dig it

cockeyed.
be
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forth from the murky depths:

Gee, Jim. Are you sure you aren't selling new, unbroken screw extractors to remove broken screws? (sorry, couldn't resist.)
------------------------------------------------- - Boldly going - * Wondrous Website Design - nowhere. - * http://www.diversify.com -------------------------------------------------
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Larry:
I was considering the possibility of "pre-breaking" them to save our customers the trouble, but after further consideration, have decided against it. We really try to go the extra mile when it comes to customer service, but in this case, I was advised that it would be better if we let our customers break the screw extractors on their own. Not that I have ever actually broken a screw except for scientific research <bwg>, but those that have tell me that unbroken screw extractors are more effective at removing broken screws.
Yeah, I couldn't resist either! ;-)
Thanks, I enjoyed that.
Jim Ray, President McFeely's Square Drive Screws www.mcfeelys.com
brought

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forth from the murky depths:

Yeah, then you'd have to ship twice the number of pieces and all that. What a burden!

That's precisely why I piped up.

Jewelcome. I did, too.
------------------------------------------------- - Boldly going - * Wondrous Website Design - nowhere. - * http://www.diversify.com -------------------------------------------------
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a
I bought something like your SE2514 locally, for a few dollars more. I haven't had the nerve to actually try it though! I don't think your BSE1005 would work here; if I broke a steel screw off, it has to be stuck pretty good; but it would be fun to try.

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What is wrong with soap? I used it to put up lots and lots of shelving, and they are all still up. I tried beeswax and couldn't get it to stick to the screws long enough to be useful. I have switched to pastewax; it works and it neater than soap?
BTW, I love square drive screws; so much easier then anything but allens head.
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Soap is hygroscopic, meaning that it attracts water. The result is the soap on the screw attracts moisture from the wood, causing the screws to corrode more quickly. This is particularly a problem in acidic woods like the Oaks.
And yeah, I have used soap on screws too - but that was many, many years ago. Now if I could just remember where I used them.
An alternative to beeswax is our Akempucky (part LA-0300 and LA-0900 for those interested), a waxey material that comes in a "Lube Tube" for your pocket, or a Bench Lube" tub for your workbench. The stuff seems to stay on the screw better, is easy to apply using the tube, and really works. See FWW #153, page 32 for a review of this product as well as several others.
HTH,
Jim Ray, President McFeely's Square Drive Screws www.mcfeelys.com

sell
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be
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My suggestion, And I know it works . Take a short piece of steel tubing with an internal diameter slightly greater than the broken screw diameter . Take a fine file and file some teeth on one end of the tubing, chuck it up and drill out the broken screw. Redrill the hole to a standard size insert glue and wood plug . Redrill for new screw and insert a same size steel one first then the brass one with a lubricant. mjh
-- http://members.tripod.com/mikehide2
screw off, fairly far down the shaft so trying to dig it

cockeyed.
be
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It's not all that bright, and nothing new, but you can remove broken #6 screws with tapered spiral screw extractors such as E-Z Outs:
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA10-1435&PMPXNO 5282&PARTPG=INLMK32
Screw extractors like this are certainly the least destructive method, since they do not disturb the wood surrounding the screw at all. A #1 screw extractor will take out a #6. The big trick is in drilling the screw to accept the extractor. You've got to try to drill the pilot hole right in the center of the screw shank, and keep the hole plumb with the length of the screw. Most #1 extractors tell you to drill the screw with a 5/64" bit. You'll get much better purchase on the screw if you drill it with several drill sizes. Start with a 3/32 and drill part way into the broken screw shank. Then use a 5/64 and continue the hole a bit deeper. Then a bit deeper with a 1/16" bit. You've now created a roughly tapered hole in the screw shank which will give the tapered extractor much better grasping ability. Getting the first hole started in the screw shank can be tricky, since the bit almost always wants to wander off the screw and plow into the wood. Just go slow and gentle when drilling the screw (you do not want to break off a bit in the broken screw...). A set of numbered drill bits is really useful for this type of stuff -- much better than fractional sizes.
I've removed broken #3's before with this type of extractor, and they work reasonably well even when your drilling is pretty bad. In fact they have never failed me, although on occasion I've spent a lot of time drilling and re-drilling the screw to get the right shape pilot hole. But once you get the screw out, you've done no additional damage to the wood. Generally, you can put a new screw into the same hole (and just not torque it so hard that the new screw also breaks off).
FWIW, when installing small (especially brass) screws in very hard wood, I almost always drill my pilot holes a hair larger than normal, and usually install the screw twice. First to deform and thread the wood (throw the first screw away), then install the real, final screw. And I don't consider a #6 a small screw. A #1, now that's a *small* screw...
JP
John Paquay snipped-for-privacy@insightbb.com
"Building Your Own Kitchen Cabinets" http://home.insightbb.com/~jpaquay/shop.html ------------------------------------------------------------------ With Glory and Passion No Longer in Fashion The Hero Breaks His Blade. -- Kansas, The Pinnacle, 1975 ------------------------------------------------------------------
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