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Thread: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

  1. #1
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    Default Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    I attempted to install a 3 inch #10 bronze screw joining a knee to the stem on my boat project, and I managed to chew up the frearson slots when it got stuck about 1/8 inch from being seated. I'm trying to figure out how to remove it. I thought of grabbing the head with vise-grip pliers, but I'm afraid I might snap the head off the screw. Suggestions?

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Not an expert, but my two cents:

    One way or another, the screw ought to come out. If it were me --and I'm glad it's not, because I'd likely booger it up-- I'd give the vise-grips a try, knowing the head might, indeed, twist off, and that I'll then need to go after the rest of the screw with a tube-type screw-extractor. That will be an ugly and unpleasant task.

    Go gently with the vise-grips, and you might get lucky.

    I suppose the alternative would be to cut the head off (or, after the head twists off on its own), drill out the bronze a little way in, and entomb the remainder under a plug, then sink a new screw nearby. I came across a couple of those on my recent refastening of my boat (which *was* professionally built).

    For the new screw, use a steel #10 x 3" as a "tap": drill a pilot hole as usual, then run a (hard) steel screw in to pre-thread the hole for the (soft) bronze screw. And wax the b'jimminy out of the bronze screw when you sink it.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    For a recent discussion of a similar topic see:

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...der-technology

    TL;DR - a brace and bit will give you a lot more pressure on the screw. That may a) let you extract it using a bit and any remaining metal on the slots and b) will release some of the tension on the threads which may make it less likely to break the head off. If that fails then I second Alex's suggestion to plug it and drive another one. The great Bud McIntosh would have done that without another thought, and good enough for him is certainly good enough for the rest of us.
    - Chris

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Dremel tool with a abrasive disk. Cut a single slot aligned with one of the frearson slots and back it out very slowly with a regular screw driver.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Having had to fight lots of old screws out over the past couple of years here is what I have done.
    I have found that the bit often bottoms out in the center before the side flutes fully seat. I take a drill bit that is small enough to fit in the center 'hole area' without cutting into the flutes and drill the center just a bit deeper (maybe 1/16" to 1/8" max - you don't want to weaken the head at all with too deep a hole.) I then take a sharp awl that I have ground to an oval cross section that is sharp on the end (more material left than a round cross section) and use it as a cutting tool with a small hammer to clean out and clean up the slots. Finally I set the proper size bit with couple of good solid raps from a hammer. I think this last part serves two purposes 1) it sets the bit well for a good bite and 2) if you hit the screw hard enough to almost start to drive it like a nail (almost move it in the wood) that helps to free the grip on the screw. Patience and perseverance should get you there.
    This didn't fail me for hundreds of old screws.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    I feel expert-ish on this since I removed thousands of screws from my boat and probably hundreds of problem screws where the slots were damaged or the head broke. My first attack is to hammer the bit into the screw and then a lot of pressure with an impact driver. If that doesn't work, my second attack is usually drill a hole in the middle and apply an "Easy-out" which has a reverse spiral that grabs the inside of the hole. Easy-outs can be found at most hardware stores or online.

    Last resort is to drill the head off using a custom cutter I had made. Then use a bolt remover on the exposed screw shank.





    Chuck Thompson

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    You are helping to demonstrate that a traditional slot head screw is a most welcome thing when doing repair work.The proprietary heads are an aid to speedy assembly and an absolute curse when their heads are full of solidified gunk.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by G.Sherman View Post
    Dremel tool with a abrasive disk. Cut a single slot aligned with one of the frearson slots and back it out very slowly with a regular screw driver.
    +1 That's what I'd do.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    I would count my blessings that it is still sticking out of the hole and grab the vise grips.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    You are helping to demonstrate that a traditional slot head screw is a most welcome thing when doing repair work.The proprietary heads are an aid to speedy assembly and an absolute curse when their heads are full of solidified gunk.
    To me it illustrates the superiority of square drive and torx heads.

    All of the methods mentioned so far will work. Just pick one that suits your fancy, your skills, and your toolkit.

    Oh... and this is probably a good place for a reminder on the efficacy of the screw-lube of your choice, and the importance of pre-drilling accurately.
    David G
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    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    To me it illustrates the superiority of square drive and torx heads.

    All of the methods mentioned so far will work. Just pick one that suits your fancy, your skills, and your toolkit.

    Oh... and this is probably a good place for a reminder on the efficacy of the screw-lube of your choice, and the importance of pre-drilling accurately.
    While not a pro, I worked on cars for a living for years & learned to hate torx. Strips way too easily unless in a forged bolt. Square drive is better, but it's a whole lot easier to clean gunk out of a slot than a hole (of whatever shape). Yes, one can slip off a slotted screw, but...

    Anyway - back to the regular programming.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    To me it illustrates the superiority of square drive and torx heads.

    All of the methods mentioned so far will work. Just pick one that suits your fancy, your skills, and your toolkit.

    Oh... and this is probably a good place for a reminder on the efficacy of the screw-lube of your choice, and the importance of pre-drilling accurately.
    It grieves me to admit it, but davidg is right on the money here. Looks like your countersink was not adjusted properly. You might try heating the fastener with a soldering iron. I have never had to use one,but I have heard that it can work.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    It may be a bit late but I like the hand impact tool.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    No personal interest, but the Grab-it has saved my bacon many times - even with broken screw heads. Available in different sizes.

    https://www.amazon.com/Alden-8440P-G...eywords=Grabit
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    It grieves me to admit it, but davidg is right on the money here. Looks like your countersink was not adjusted properly. You might try heating the fastener with a soldering iron. I have never had to use one,but I have heard that it can work.
    That's just crazy talk. Are you drunk? Again?? <G>
    Last edited by David G; 05-16-2017 at 12:34 AM.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    +1 on the impact driver. Plus, you basically can't push too hard on one to keep the bit in the head, no matter which style you have. Use it to install the next one, too, with the obligatory lube. Plan to be out of town when the next owner needs to remove it.

    Chip

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    You are helping to demonstrate that a traditional slot head screw is a most welcome thing when doing repair work.The proprietary heads are an aid to speedy assembly and an absolute curse when their heads are full of solidified gunk.
    A very valid point. Easier to get troublesome slot head screws out.

    I'll amend my above post--the second attack might be to cut a deeper slot with a dremel or a reciprocating blade cut down to a narrow width. This often did not work for me because my screws were so badly corroded the heads were breaking apart.
    Chuck Thompson

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    While not a pro, I worked on cars for a living for years & learned to hate torx. Strips way too easily unless in a forged bolt. Square drive is better, but it's a whole lot easier to clean gunk out of a slot than a hole (of whatever shape). Yes, one can slip off a slotted screw, but...

    Anyway - back to the regular programming.
    ..
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    All good ideas for solutions to a vexing problem. Sometimes one works where others don't. I'd only add that you try the least destructive option first, i.e., start with the Dremel and a small burr bit. See if you can enlarge the Frearson slots enough to get a good bite with a properly sized Frearson screwdriver (in a brace and bit if you can manage that.) Then go for the straight slot cut with the Dremel and, again, a screwdriver blade that fits. If that doesn't work, get the biggest vise-grips you can find and get the best bite you can on the thing and see if that works. Note: If you get the screw moving, keep it moving. If it twists a bit and you stop, it will often seize up again (which happens a lot when driving screws, too.) If the vise-grips don't move it, frankly, probably nothing will and you'll be back to drilling it out with a hollow bit and plugging the hole. As they say, "Sorry for your loss." It happens to everybody. You aren't a boatbuilder until you've let loose with ever dirty word in the book over a stuck fastening!

    Oh, yea... And this, children, is why we never use anything but slotted-head screws and properly sized screwdriver blades on our boats!

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    No personal interest, but the Grab-it has saved my bacon many times - even with broken screw heads. Available in different sizes.

    https://www.amazon.com/Alden-8440P-G...eywords=Grabit
    + 1 on the Grabit. I've screwed up many screws and it's always worked so far. I need to join the real boat building world and switch to slotted screws.
    Steve B
    TraditionalSmallCraftAssociation
    DowneastTSCA.org

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    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Oh, yea... And this, children, is why we never use anything but slotted-head screws and properly sized screwdriver blades on our boats!
    Cleekster, I am sorry but you have branded yourself an amateur. Slotted and R&P are the work of Satan. Square drive (Robertson as known in Canada...yes, proving once again, Canada is the sane North American country.) should be the choice in all but areas where they would look inappropriate: oval head, etc.
    Last edited by pcford; 05-17-2017 at 01:18 AM.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Cleekster, I am sorry but you have branded yourself an amateur. Slotted and R&P are the work of Satan. Square drive (Robertson as known in Canada...yes, proving once again, Canada is the sane North American country.) should be the choice in all but areas where they would look inappropriate: oval head, etc.
    In a professional production environment on new work, where time is money and you don't care about the next guy who may have to remove the square-holed screws, I'd agree completely. However, in the repair environment, there is little to recommend having to lug around a collection of proprietary driver bits to work on a boat that is filled a half dozen different types of screws. (Or to drive back home from the boat when the screwdriver you need is the only one you forgot to load in your toolbox.) I've also found it rather difficult to find proprietary driver bits other than flat blades and Phillips head to fit things like my Yankee drivers and a brace and bit. This is particularly so as the size of the screw increases. Neither have I found trying to clean cured epoxy out of the bottom of a square-drive (Robertson) much of a thrill. In fact, they seem the worst in that respect because the crud has nowhere to go at the bottom of the square hole. Finally, the proprietary headed screws are often more difficult (and expensive) to source, particularly in larger sizes and smaller amounts. But then again, trying to screw with a plugged hole or a loose slot is always going to be a challenge. "Different strokes for different folks," as they say.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    I've also found it rather difficult to find proprietary driver bits other than flat blades and Phillips head to fit things like my Yankee drivers and a brace and bit.
    Lee Valley has a 1/4" hex brace driver that will take all those proprietary driver bits (http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=32300&cat=1,180,42337,32300)

    I have not used this, but for the price, $11.50 US, I am going to get one. I understand different strokes, though, so this may not be what you want to do.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    There are several ways you can go about it. A #10 screw has enough meat on it to file flats on the side so you get a better purchase with the vise grips. Cutting a slot with the dremeltool would work also. But what I would do is grab the head with a pair of diagonal cutters. They will bite into the head and stick. But you can't pull with them, only turn, as they will tend to slip off.
    If the head gets too mangled, I use dental tooth extraction pliers.

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomRose View Post
    Lee Valley has a 1/4" hex brace driver that will take all those proprietary driver bits (http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=32300&cat=1,180,42337,32300)

    I have not used this, but for the price, $11.50 US, I am going to get one. I understand different strokes, though, so this may not be what you want to do.
    Thanks for the tip! Good old Lee Valley. They always have something you can't find anywhere else. My problem with little fiddly things like that is that once I buy them, I forget where the heck I put them!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    I had to look on Wikipedia to even know what a frearson bit is.
    If they come in the box with anything I purchase they go straight in the bin.
    I thought they were just poor attempts at a Phillips or Pozidrive.
    I generally use square drive.
    Trying to get one out that is full of paint or whatever wouldn't be much fun I agree.
    If they are going to get buried by epoxy, they should be removed anyway.
    At least I don't have to feel bad for not clocking them anyway!

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Slots are indeed good for the next guy. So much easier to clean out a slot. And, as suggested, you can deepen a slot with a dremel or reciprocating blade. Impossible to deepen a square drive or frearson or phillips.
    Chuck Thompson

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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    If I was a betting man I would bet the OP used a Phillips driver on a Frearson screw. The Frearson won't slip or cam out but the main problem is that most people don't know to use the proper driver bit . .So the Frearson gets a bad reputation. I would just grab it with a vicegrip and continue, with proper bit.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Extracting a bronze screw with chewed up Frearson slots

    Unscrew-ems work very well for this kind of problem (if the vicegrips wring the head off). TLtools sells them

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