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Embedded broken screws: how to turn around them

Joined
Apr 13, 2017
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I'm rough turning a 12" green Honey Locust bowl. While attempting to attach a faceplate, I broke 1 drill bit and 2 screws; they are still in the blank. I have now cut out everything I can reach around the center. The photos show where I am, and the pencil indicates the bottom of the screw (at least I hope it's the bottom). Question now is, How do I get that center out so I can let the bowl dry well (it's at 22% moisture now)IMG_2224.JPGIMG_2225.JPG? Thank you!
 
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I'd use a parting tool to thin it down on the outside a bit (have to finagle the tool rest down into the blank to support tool close to wood) , and/or work from the inside using a scraper perhaps - get it thin as possible and give it a whack with a hammer and break it off? Parting tools and scrapers not as easy to screw up if they happen to hit hardware, and given the hollowness you already have inside, probably would not take a whole lot, I would not think, to break it off with a few whacks with a mallet or something?
 
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Turn right up to it/them. With wood turned away from one side, they pry/hammer free pretty easily.

With where you're at with your bowl, I would think you could cut away a bit more of the diameter below the hardware. Narrowed a bit more, it would chisel away, or maybe bore a larger diameter hole to cut it free.

Looks like a beautiful bowl that's worth the extra efforts. :cool:
 
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I typically approach this situation with a very sharp 1/2” or 3/4” chisel and a light hammer. Small careful passes around the screw shaft until I can grab it with a pair of vice grips and then back the screw out. I’m really good at this process because I’m in this position entirely too often. 🙄
 
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I’ve done this once or twice 😁. I put a metal drill bit in my drill and drill several holes as close to the screw as possible and then grab with vise grips.
The way this looks you could drill down on both sides of the screw and tilt the drill so the bit comes out the side of the wood. It should be easy to chip the remaining piece in front of the screw off and allow access to the screw.
 
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I use a plug cutter that is larger than the screw to remove broken screws. If you don’t have a plug cutter drill the largest hole that will fit between the screws with a Forstner bit then whack out the pillars that remain. If they don’t break off easily use a sharp chisel to narrow the base down. It looks like you could also turn the center hole larger too.
 
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I don't remember for what, but I made a small holesaw to drill around the broken bit or screw I had to remove.
I also did heat the screw, that made it easy to remove the screw, as it had broken off and did not readily unscrew, when heated hot it will come out easily.
You can buy these, but I just made it from a small tubing with a Dremel to fashion the sawteeth.

mini holesaw.jpg
 

Roger Wiegand

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What Leo said, or similarly, use a screw extractor. https://www.amazon.com/Single-Screw...967deca34bbb2ccd3ffb00f9e9d&gad_source=1&th=1

Or for just trying to get rid of a fully exposed core like your picture shows just hit it with a hammer and knock it off. A chisel or bent carving gouge applied below the screw line would encourage it further.
Then invest in some tougher screws (Spax have been good for me) that won't break.
 
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As others have said, I use an old chisel when I encounter an embedded nail or screw, to just dig out around it. It I also wonder if you needed to attach the blank with screws as long as these appear to be. Might be an illusion, but it looks like you were way deep into the bowl blank.
 
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I broke 1 drill bit and 2 screws; they are still in the blank

Certainly, once you get these out, you'll want to look at how to avoid these problems in the future. As mentioned the screws may have been too weak, too long or driven too hard. I also once broke off a drill bit, and learned the hard way of the importance of "peck" drilling: drill a little then withdraw the bit and clear the chips, drill some more, etc. The drill bit may be the bigger problem since it is made of hardened steel as opposed to mild steel for the screws, and stuck drill bits seem less inclined to "unscrew" than threaded fasteners.

Lots of potential avenues to remove these "foreign bodies", and it will depend on what tools you have available or wish to dash out and purchase. But if you were visiting me in my shop this is what I would suggest. You have a column of waste wood in the center so basically you can cut off the column from the bowl or carve out around the screws and bit. But this is not keeper wood, so no need to try to get the screws out of the wood, you just have to remove that waste wood from your bowl. In my shop, I would try mounting a large coarse burr on the rotary carving tool (or Dremel) and cut away the waste wood in between the objects leaving three fingers of wood. These I would the work off using a smaller burr, or bench chisel, or possibly a very flexible flush cut hand saw (if the bowl is shallower than it appears in the photo). I'm assuming the large hole in the center of the waste wood goes deeper than the screws & bit.
 
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I have used a swan necked hollowing tool to remove the core. You have to reverse the spindle. I came up with this idea when trying to make this triple hollow form. Surprisingly stable and very fast. Probably quicker than the hand chisels. The only swan necks with the right hand bend, to allow turning without reversing, are coring tools,
 

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Lots of good advice on ways to remove. I would certainly use a parting tool to reduce the "stem" as much as possible. With the hollow center you just might be able to get thru it, or at least very close.

Locust is hard stuff. Anytime I'm using screws in really hard woods, I always wax them first (Actually I always wax them for faceplate mounts). Second is to make sure that the pilot hole is the size of the screw shank. As for the drill bit, an ounce of prevention is the remedy: a little at a time, clearing often. Lessons for next time.
 
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I have used a swan necked hollowing tool to remove the core. You have to reverse the spindle. I came up with this idea when trying to make this triple hollow form. Surprisingly stable and very fast. Probably quicker than the hand chisels. The only swan necks with the right hand bend, to allow turning without reversing, are coring tools,
I was thinking the same thing.
 
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Where its possible I try and cut a slot to screw them out, otherwise I carve a small crater to get long nose vice grips in. But the reality is I try and avoid the issue like the plague by being very particular on my wood sources.
 
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First let me say that it happens to us all. It’s frustrating. My advice on how to remove them is to drill around them and rip them out with a needle nose vise grip. It’s about the only way I’ve ever found that works. But the trick in the first place is to find the right screws. I’ve tried several, but once I switched to these stainless steel screws I haven’t had a single problem. I also find that the hex heads work better than a screw head. You just need a nut driver for your drill.
 

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I also find that the hex heads work better than a screw head. You just need a nut driver for your drill.

I've been using the hex headed self tapping screws for decades. Never had one snap.

I turn smaller blanks on a screw point in the chuck.

Larger pieces I turn with a 4" faceplate ring and 5 smaller length screws.

Very large pieces I turn on a 5" faceplate ring with 6" longer screws. In hard woods I pre-drill pilot holes add a little of my polishing wax to the thread to ease them in and out...

17in blackwood blank on lathe- 1.jpg
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
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Chelan, WA
I'm rough turning a 12" green Honey Locust bowl. While attempting to attach a faceplate, I broke 1 drill bit and 2 screws; they are still in the blank. I have now cut out everything I can reach around the center. The photos show where I am, and the pencil indicates the bottom of the screw (at least I hope it's the bottom). Question now is, How do I get that center out so I can let the bowl dry well (it's at 22% moisture now)View attachment 64575View attachment 64576? Thank you!
Thank you everyone! The problem is resolved: I just needed permission to use a hammer and chisel, and bingo! center popper right out. All the comments did expand the possibilities for resolution in my mind, however. First, the long screws (#10x2") were used because the wood was very heavy and my faceplate is small and has only 4 screw holes. I thought longer screws would be safer.
Second, I used a parting tool outside the center and a bent hollowing gouge on the inside of the center. Resulting thickness was only about 1/4", so it didn't take many whallops with the hammer for it to pop off.
Finally, I was curious about the suggestions to reverse turn and use the bent hollowing gouge on the outside of the center. I have never reverse turned, so that led me to dig out the safety ring that comes with the VicMarc 150 lathe. Further helpful suggestions from Ken Rude at Branches to Bowls (Canadian dealer), and I was happily spinning in reverse. So now I have a new method for future use.
This Forum is so helpful, and I appreciate all the time and thought so many of you contributed!
 
Joined
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Turn right up to it/them. With wood turned away from one side, they pry/hammer free pretty easily.

With where you're at with your bowl, I would think you could cut away a bit more of the diameter below the hardware. Narrowed a bit more, it would chisel away, or maybe bore a larger diameter hole to cut it free.

Looks like a beautiful bowl that's worth the extra efforts. :cool:
Thanks; turned out that is what happened. There is now a chance for it to become a beautiful bowl in reality!
 
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use a bench chisel in line with the grain to start splitting away the wood until the metal is exposed. The next time forget the faceplate and use a wood worm screw in your chuck which should only require one 3/8" hole in the center of the blank.
Exactly what happened, and I am now a big fan of worm screws!
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
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What Leo said, or similarly, use a screw extractor. https://www.amazon.com/Single-Screw...967deca34bbb2ccd3ffb00f9e9d&gad_source=1&th=1

Or for just trying to get rid of a fully exposed core like your picture shows just hit it with a hammer and knock it off. A chisel or bent carving gouge applied below the screw line would encourage it further.
Then invest in some tougher screws (Spax have been good for me) that won't break.
Spax: on my shopping list. Thanks
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
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Chelan, WA
Lots of good advice on ways to remove. I would certainly use a parting tool to reduce the "stem" as much as possible. With the hollow center you just might be able to get thru it, or at least very close.

Locust is hard stuff. Anytime I'm using screws in really hard woods, I always wax them first (Actually I always wax them for faceplate mounts). Second is to make sure that the pilot hole is the size of the screw shank. As for the drill bit, an ounce of prevention is the remedy: a little at a time, clearing often. Lessons for next time.
Wax: i must try that. thanks
 
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Apr 13, 2017
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Chelan, WA
Agree. I keep a wax toilet ring in my shop for this purpose. It’s pretty soft and sticks well to the screw. Just poke the screw into it and pull it out and it’s ready to drive.
Now this is a new one: toilet ring! I will be chuckling all the way to the plumbing department!
 
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Now this is a new one: toilet ring! I will be chuckling all the way to the plumbing department!
I use paste wax in a can, like minwax brand. Has many uses around the shop - Protective coating for lathe bedways, other cast iron surfaces, saws, planes, chisels, etc. Good lubricant for squeaky things. I've been using the same can for more than 10 years now and I use it a lot.
 
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