Recycling or upcycling furniture? Here are some tips for removing stripped screws, headless nails, and busted fasteners

The Hometalk community is full of creative folks turning ugly, worn out furniture into stylish, attractive pieces. Others are pulling old lumber from dumpsters and reusing it in woodworking projects and remodels -- all of which we heartily endorse! Still, these projects often present some of the most annoying moments in DIY: You're taking something apart and the head of the nail snaps off or the screw strips. It's enough to send that stuff back to the trash heap. Before you do, though, check out some our tricks for removing old hardware. You can read more here:
Difficulty: Easy
  • HomeSpot HQ
    HomeSpot HQ Durham, NC
    I've had to use an extractor before many times on stripped out screws and bolts. On fasteners that are really jammed in good it can be very tough to extract them.
  • David Agrell
    David Agrell Brooklyn, NY
    Often I'll take a file to the shaft of a broken screw and create two flat surfaces opposite one another. Then I'll clamp on a pair of vice grips and and try to easy out the screw. If all else fails, I figure out a way to get around it, sometimes by
  • Karen - The Graphics Fairy
    Great tips!
  • Steve G
    Steve G Fort Collins, CO
    Good tips. Thanks.
  • Becky
    Becky Blair, NE
    Great tips David. Thanks. I'm clipping this one.
  • Craig W. Isaac Architecture
    Depending on the purpose, you can always drive broken nails (sometimes screws) down into the wood w/ a nail set and putty.
  • Diana Dray
    Diana Dray Harrod, OH
    When I disassemble pallets I use a sawzall then take a punch with a hammer and pound out the nails.
  • Kelly S
    Kelly S Bremerton, WA
    For nails I pound them out from the back just enough to get the claw of the hammer under the head and pull it out the front. For molding or trim I pull them through from the back because it causes less damage and leaves a smaller hole. For staples I use
David Agrell