Shallow-slot Screw Removal?

I recently purchased a nice-looking ca.1920 wooden European armchair from a thrift store. It's in good overall condition, but one of the front legs is slightly loose. I'd like to remove the leg, apply some glue to the base, put it back in and tighten it up, but there's a problem.
The front legs each have a single screw that goes through the block into the leg. At least I think they're screws, because the slots in the heads are so extremely shallow that they'll not allow any screwdriver I know of to get a grip; they're more like the suggestion of a slot. How they originally put them in, I can't imagine.
Any ideas how to loosen/tighten these things without destroying them? Are they even screws? Any tips appreciated.
The back legs each have two bolts securing each leg, so they are sound.
Thanks, Ken
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<<<<<<<<<<<<<< How about a using a Dremel tool to cut deeper slots?
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Howdy,
Are the "screws" on an outside surface, that is, a surface that was finished?
I ask because it came to mind that they might be ordinary screws that were inserted before final sanding. Their slots may have just been sanded away.
In any case, you might consider drilling a hole in the center of the screwhead and then using a screw extractor. These are just "reverse threaded" gadgets that bite into such a hole allowing you to back the screw out.
Good luck with it,
--
Kenneth

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The screws don't appear to have been sanded or abraded in any way. They're underneath the seat, and the block they're screwed into hasn't been finely sanded.
I guess I will have to get a screw extractor to get them out, but what really puzzles me is how they were put in in the first place. Has anybody else seen this kind of thing in old furniture?
Thanks, Ken
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I am an old carpenter (in my late 50's) When I was a cub, an old carpenter told me that the reason they put those slots on screws was in case you ever wanted to take one out. The normal installation method in a pre-drilled hole required a special tool that had a long handle and claws.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG
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What kind of screw extractor are you considering?
If it's the easy out kind, those are made for machine screws, not wood screws. You'll probably have to use a pretty small one for a wood screw, drilling the shank area only.
If it's the kind that saws out a plug of wood around the screw, you'll have to use a large one to clear the head, and remove a lot of wood.
If the screw is the only thing holding the joint together, I'd try drilling in the exact center of the head with progresively larger drills until the head comes off, pull off the wood piece, and then twisting out the screw with a pair of Vise-Grips on the shank.
John Martin
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[...]

[...]
You might also consider to drill two small holes into the head of the screw and use a special bit with just two tips, which looks like an ordinary flat bit with it's middle part removed. This method has the advantage (if it works...) that apart from the screw nothing is damaged (enlarging the slit with a dremel bears a sizeable risk of damege to the surroundings). I used this technique sucessfully to remove the stub left from my broken off car antenna...
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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Go to the auto store and purchase a small sized "Easy Out", screw extractor. Drill a small hole into the screw head, insert the Easy Out and the screw should come out easily.
Bob S.

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I think i know exactly what you mean (concerning the screws ) i recently did some work on a dresser that was at least 200 years , for 3,000 i turned it into twin dresser's, my ego had a big mouth, and said chisel's saw's two screwdriver's, wooden mallet and glue only. no power tools, the work was done on SITE, THEN CAME THE PROBLEM i could not figure out what the heck kid of screw was that, every cuss word i called it, what i ended up doing was putting baby oil in the hole overnite than i put an L-wrench and smacked it past it holding area. theres a book about old furniture making, if your screw has a square head than it probably this one that has spike's on the lower half, so unscrewing it, may widen you original hole,
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