Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What techniques work to dig layers of paint out of small slotted screw heads, when the slot is so full of paint a screwdriver won't work?

I've tried an awl, utility knife and screwdriver/hammer. These all work, but are tedious when there are a lot of them.

See also: How can I extract rusted/painted outdoor screws? or How do I remove calcification from a screw head?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've found that using a hot air paint stripper works.

Use the concentrating nozzle and a low to medium setting. Then when the paint is soft use a flat bladed screwdriver to first take the paint off the surface and then from the slot itself.

Once the head is free from paint a further heating of the screw will also help as there will be a differential expansion of the screw and hinge (or whatever the piece is) which helps loosen the screw.

A further trick I don't always remember is that it can help to try to tighten the screw first before removing it. This might just be enough to break the rust/paint/whatever is causing the screw to stick.

share|improve this answer
    
If you don't have a heat gun you can try a hairdryer set on high. Without the concentrator nozzle you may damage the paint around the screw. –  mikes Jan 9 '13 at 11:34
    
@mikes - yeah. However, usually I've been stripping all the paint so this isn't a problem. –  ChrisF Jan 9 '13 at 11:36

I have successfully removed paint from screw heads and slots by using a rotary tool with a small wire wheel attachment.

enter image description here

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
1  
Be careful where you use one of these brushes. If you run it at too high a speed, or stress the brush too much, it'll throw off steel (stainless?) whiskers that are Supebly good at embedding themselves in feet or skin. –  Wayfaring Stranger Jan 9 '13 at 17:57
    
I like hte dremel for this, but I would use an abrasive blade instead of a wire wheel. –  Eric Gunnerson Jan 10 '13 at 5:26

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.