Hack Test: Stripped Screw

A stripped screw can be so frustrating. Listening to your drill as it strips one is like fingernails on a chalkboard. You just know that that screw will NEVER come out. Enter Pinterest wearing a big red cape and wielding hack superpowers.

I decided to get comfy and research methods (that wording legitimizes spending hours on Pinterest – awesome, feeling better about it already) on how to resolve this problem once and for all. I’m putting two of the most popular hacks to the test!

Wide Rubberband

Grab one of those giant, thick rubber bands and lay the flat part in between your screw and your screw driver. The idea is that it should give your screwdriver something to grip as it works on the screw. I don’t know why I love this idea. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the rubber jar lid gripper era. Regardless, this hack works just as well – but you’ve got to put a lot of muscle behind it for success. Hooray! Success!

Turn Your Screw into a Flathead

This hack is such a simple idea, I’m not sure why it never occurred to me before! Instructions say to take a hammer and drive a horizontal groove into the screw head (using a chisel, putty knife or flathead screwdriver) to basically turn it into a screw that a flat head screwdriver can take out. Oh the lure of something easy peasey! But be forewarned…hammering anything into the top of a stripped screw will just drive the screw farther into the surface it’s already stuck in. Bummer. So what to do? The idea has merit, so why not use a rotary cutting tool like a Dremel? You can cut a straight notch into the screw without making the situation worse, which is always good. 🙂 And voila! That works.


So where do we go from here? First, don’t strip your screws (ha – as if), second, buy stock in fat rubber bands, and last, if you try out a hack and it doesn’t work – let everyone know! I hope this has saved you some time. Got a hack to share? Let me know about it on our Life Hacks board!




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