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:
Chop off nails and screws with CoBolt or high-leverage linesman pliers rated for bolt/screw cutting. Cut through nail- and bolt-embedded lumber with a bimetal blade in a recip saw, or a nail-cutting demolition blade in a circular saw.
Extract: Use penetrant to soften rust. Drill a broken fastener with a left-hand drill bit. Fastener should ride up bit; if not, use a screw extractor. To extract, tap an extractor into the hole and twist counterclockwise.
Pry: Pound cat's paw under a nailhead; pry and lift. Grip staples and small nailheads with CoBolt or Channellock 449 high-leverage cutting pliers; pry up and remove. For extra leverage, rock the tool back on a center punch.

Top Hometalk Projects

15 Amazing Things You Can Make With Dollar Store Gems
17 DIY Projects You Can Start And Finish Tonight
18 Adorable Container Garden Ideas To Copy This Spring
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
No Way! These Pops of Color Were Made With Dollar Store Items!
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
30 Creative Ways To Repurpose Baking Pans
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
These Herb Garden Ideas Will Make You Want To Start One Of Your Own
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
16 Ways to Showcase Your Herb Garden
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe

Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Teri Sweeney
    on Oct 25, 2019

    I want to remove my kitchen cabinet doors, but the screws are stripped. How do I get them off without damaging the cabinets themselves?

Join the conversation

2 of 8 comments
  • Diana Dray
    on Jan 26, 2013

    When I disassemble pallets I use a sawzall then take a punch with a hammer and pound out the nails.

  • Kelly S
    on Jan 28, 2013

    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 my diagnal cutters and pull them out. I don't even mess with broken screws because they are a pain.

Your comment...