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I’m dismantling my desk so I can repaint it. The desk has two hinged legs, and one of the embedded hinges has separated into two.

I’d like to remove the part of the hinge embedded in the desk so I can repair it (I have all the parts) and to help when painting, but I don’t know how to get the half hinge out.

On the other side, I pulled the leg with some force to remove the embedded hinge from the desk (may not have been the best idea, but it worked!). It’s not glued in, but is firmly embedded in the wood.

I’ve tried pushing a screwdriver into the holes to lever it out, but can’t get enough pressure and am worried about damaging it.

Is there a clever technique / tool I can use?

Embedded half hinge I want to remove Embedded half hinge I want to remove

Holes left to right: screw, used to hold leg when in up position, hinge, screw

Other side of desk with hinge removed Other side of desk with hinge removed

Desk legs with full hinge and half missing Desk legs with full hinge and half missing

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  • Try carefully going around it with a small knife or scalpel and see if that frees it up.
    – Gil
    Aug 19, 2021 at 2:16
  • Probably struck with paint. Would place screwdriver or similar object in a hole and wedge underneath, and tap screwdriver lightly with hammer a couple of times. Turn screwdriver in another direction(N,S,E,W) and repeat.
    – crip659
    Aug 19, 2021 at 12:47
  • @crip659 Sounds like an answer - make it into one.
    – JPhi1618
    Aug 19, 2021 at 13:44

2 Answers 2

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Probably struck with paint and/or a very tight fit.

Would place screwdriver or similar object in a hole and wedge underneath, and tap screwdriver lightly with hammer a couple of times.

Turn screwdriver in another direction(N,S,E,W) and repeat. Light taps should loosen it after a few times.

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    If necessary, you may also need a "pick and hook" set (similar to this one for a whopping $2 from the place that gets their Freight at the Harbor). You can use the end of one of those hooks to get underneath and pull straight up.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 19, 2021 at 15:16
  • Thanks for this and sorry I missed your answer! I did end up trying a screwdriver, but it was too firmly stuck in for that. I’ll update with what eventually worked.
    – meloncholy
    Jan 11 at 21:43
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How I eventually solved this after much effort

The hinge half was very firmly stuck in the wood. I tried rotating several screwdrivers in the hole for leverage with no luck; just damaged the wood beneath without loosening.

Bradawl and screwdriver inside the desk hinge

Eventually I used a bradawl and small screwdrivers to cut a small channel diagonally through the chipboard from both holes, so the channels met in the centre as shown in the picture.

Bent needle threading through hole

I bent a needle and threaded it through the hole I’d made behind the hinge, attaching some packing twine. (Weaker thread and the wire in this picture broke when pulled hard.)

Twine threaded through the holes and a loose hinge

After a lot of tugging, I finally got enough leverage to pull the hinge out.

The wood is slightly damaged behind the hinge, but it’s not visible with the hinge attached again. I did put a blob of glue on the hinge to stop it separating again!

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  • Excellent inventiveness! Thanks for coming back with an excellent answer and pictures.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 12 at 13:56

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