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.
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
I like it.
Best suggestion on the subject I've seen to date.
Few places it might not work, but not many.
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".
Use the screws you get from a good fastener supplier.
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?
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.
I order from McFeeley's, and don't see the problem any more. Life's too
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.
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
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.
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
On Tue, 25 Jan 2005 17:04:44 -0600, Patriarch
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
On Wed, 26 Jan 2005 14:08:42 GMT, "Leon"
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.
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!
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.
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.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Glenna Rose) wrote in
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
Not a big deal. Just easily avoided, so why not?
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