Screws That Break

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I was installing some doors on a red oak face frame. The doors are a 3/8" overlay, red oak rails and stiles. The hinges ( Rockler #32142, chrome ) attached to the door no problem. When I went to hang the door, I marked my location, used my Vix bit to predrill the face frame and used a cordless to put the screw in. The head broke off. Thinking I used too much torque, I went to the next hole. Drilled it, installed the screw full depth, removed it, put the door in place and installed the screw making sure I didn't over drive it. Snapped the head off as soon as it was snugged to the hinge. These are #8's, maybe 6's, 'bout a half inch long. Chrome?? Stainless?? Went back into my shop, found some brass, #8 counter sunk head screws. Drilled and attached the door with the last two screw holes. The hinge holes are oblong, so there was enough material to fit a screw in on the two holes where the broken screws were at. It doesn't leave any margin for adjustment that way.
My question is, what do you do when you have broken screws? I just left them in place and worked around them. They'll never be seen by anyone. Suggestions??
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Remove the hinge and use a plug cutter to remove the screw, and surrounding wood. Then glue a plug, to match the outer diameter of the plug cutter, in the hole and let it cure. Then you can install two more screws into the new plug. Voila!!

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"Ray" writes:

I like it.
Best suggestion on the subject I've seen to date.
Few places it might not work, but not many.
Thank you.
As a matter of practice, I usually am very suspicious of mounting screws supplied with hardware.
If I break one, I shit can the rest and go to plan "B".
Translation:
Use the screws you get from a good fastener supplier.
HTH
Lew
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Have you actually done that before? I have used a couple of plug cutters and both needed a drill press to keep the cutter from wandering. Plus, is the out side diameter of the plug cutter a common size that you could get a dowel or cut a plug? Which plug cutter style/size have you used to do this?
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On Wed, 26 Jan 2005 14:06:12 GMT, "Leon"

They make broken screw extractors. Basically nothing more than a hardened steel tube with teeth on one end. You cut out a small (like 1/4" or so plug with the broken screw in the middle. Glue in a dowel and you are ready to go - of course now you are putting a screw into end grain instead of cross grain, but you can't have everything. You could make your own dowels or plugs to get the right grain I suppose.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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<snip>

I order from McFeeley's, and don't see the problem any more. Life's too short.
You can leave the old ones, if they truly aren't to be seen. Removing broken fastners when they have to come out is a trial of my patience and skills. Well, not exactly. Repairing the damage caused by removing the broken ones is a trial of my patience and skills.
Patriarch
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On 25 Jan 2005 15:52:17 EST, Mark and Kim Smith

One good reply by Ray. Follow that through. Then, when reinstalling using new screws, if you MUST use a cordless, turn all screws to *almost* snug. You did drill first ...good. Then pick up your trusy hand-screwdriver and finish with that, and tighten to "feel" snug. The truth is that if you use hand-screwdrivers a lot, you'll get to be good at it, developing the necessary muscle stamina to avoid aches and pains, and you have much more control over torque, just like your granddaddy.
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wrote:

Note on plug cutters: The ones used for cutting plugs to cover screw heads generally won't work. They are designed to leave a clean, dowel like piece, and waste (destroy) outside the perimeter. A more appropriate solution was posted in one of the magazines, where a shopmade cutter was devised from a piece of copper tubing, chucked in a drill press, and sharpened with a small knife-edged file. Reaming to size afterwards with a drill bit would seem to be indicated.
Try not to break the screws. Try to use a little screw lube. Paste wax is good. Soap is not.
Enjoy your project.
Patriarch
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No one has mentioned, but DUMP the Cheap, weak screws and get some good screws. Typically the screws you buy at the BORG are shit, and are NOT known for their strength.
Second, if using a power driver, set the clutch to NOT bury the screw, then finish the last 1/8 in or so with a hand screwdriver
Also lube the screws. Don't use soap, it can attract moisture and result in early corrosion/rusting and failure. WAX is good. I keep a can of Johnson's floor wax for use on my table saw top and other stationary tools, and it also works great as a screw lube
Next, ALWAYS drill pilot holes (which you did)
In hardwood, run a STEEL screw in to cut the threads before driving in the finishing screws. This is critical if driving soft screws like brass
John
On Tue, 25 Jan 2005 17:04:44 -0600, Patriarch

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John wrote:

I like to use linseed oil for the lube. Great to have the LO soak into the wood on the inside.
--
Saville

Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments:
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Good suggestion but the question was what to do after the screw breaks. Good quality screws can break also.
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Piece of copper tubing with a ID just a tad bigger than the screw, file in some teeth and cut out a plug with the screw piece in it. Then plug with a glued in dowel (if needed, enlarge hole with a drill bit so the dowel will fit) or one of the commerical versions of this, then start over after the glue has cured
John
On Wed, 26 Jan 2005 14:08:42 GMT, "Leon"

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See: http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product_details.cfm?&cookietest=1&&offerings_id#54
This little tool work surprisingly well. When using brass or cheap metal screws, I learned a lesson a long time ago. It was to pre-drill, then pre-screw a waxed steel screw in first, then remove it and replace it with the decorative brass screw by hand.
Dave

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It looks as if you've had some excellent recommendations so I shan't repeat them. However, I will say this:
I FEEL YOUR PAIN! What I do when I have a screw head snap off on me is try to swear it out of the wood! Never works though!

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I try to avoid breaking screws by putting a little saliva on them then dragging them across a bar of soap.
Don Dando

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Don Dando wrote:

I've seen wax recommended over spit and/or soap. Bee's wax is easy to find as is parafin. The parafin starts off as a bar slightly larger than a dollar bill and is hard to lose even when the shop gets messy.
Josie
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firstjois wrote:

Or easier still: get a white parafin candle, rub the screws on it before using them, drive them in.
Cheap, works. Don't use parafin if you intend to do fine finishing, though: it sometimes stuffs up the finish. Use bee's wax.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcast.dot.net writes:

Why is soap not? An ol' timer told me to use it which, occasionally, I do.
Glenna
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Glenna Rose wrote:

Soap /is/ a good lubricant - but it loves moisture and facilitates rust and corrosion of the screw.
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote in writes:

Soap is hygroscopic. Pretty sure that's the right word. If not, I'll be corrected. Attracts water to itself, which is a bad thing, considering wood, iron, and the like. Staining is the first indication. Corrosion likely follows.
Not a big deal. Just easily avoided, so why not?
Patriarch
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