How do I remove screws from a wood drawer?

by Arlene

I was replacing handles on our bathroom cabinet doors and drawers. When I got to the last drawer, the screws wouldn't budge. I can turn them with the screwdriver, but they just go around, not in or out. The screw heads are in the inside wood panel where I can't see them and I can't figure out how to remove the drawer (sliders are on the sides.)

Thank you.

  13 answers
  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jul 04, 2020

    Hello. I believe they sell accessories attachments at the hardware store for stripped stuck screws in attachment area for your battery powered drill.

    That we have purchased it, inn our case it’s usually a wide rubber band place between the screw head and the battery operated drill screw attachment usually does the trick. For some reason the rubber band helps grab the screw head and ease out its removal.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jul 04, 2020

    A wide rubber band at the tip of the screwdriver gives it the needed traction it needs to be taken out. If that does not work for you a grab drill will work if it is sticking up.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jul 04, 2020

    Hi Arlene, the wood is stripped so the screw is not hanging onto anything, grab a magnet and it should pull the screw out for you, if no luck there, try to get the drawer out by pulling it out all the way& lifting it upwards about 45 degrees while pulling towards yourself. Hope this helps you out!

  • Arlene Arlene on Jul 04, 2020

    Thank you for your quick replies. The picture of the clip was especially helpful. DH insists the screws aren't stripped because they can be turned with the screwdriver. Maybe it's the holes that are stripped?

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 04, 2020

    Hello Arlene,

    In that case, Push on the handle and turn the screw driver to tighten first and then to loosen. If that does not work, Try WD-40 in case it is rusted somewhere. Leave overnight and then try again to release. If that doesn't work, then drill it out or cut the handle off using an Angle Grinder. Best wishes

  • Tom Stuart Tom Stuart on Jul 04, 2020

    Arlene, it’s possible I don’t understand your situation. If the handles are on the outside and the screws are on the inside then the handles should pull off even if the screw hole is stripped. There will be nothing holding the handle on. The screws can then be pushed out with a toothpick. Do you have a picture of the handles you have removed?

    If on the other hand your screwdriver is just turning inside the top of the screw then the screw head is stripped, not the screw hole. The above suggestions will work.

    The drawers can usually be removed by 1. pulling and lifting, 2. Pressing a lever on the drawer slide. 3. Pulling the drawer almost to the end the and giving it a sharp tug. 4. Look underneath the drawer for a lever on the drawer or the slide.

    Again, if you can post a photo I’m sure someone has had that exact problem.

    • Arlene Arlene on Jul 07, 2020

      Tom, the handle didn't pull off because it was held on by the screws and we couldn't unscrew them out of the handle. DH finally managed to remove the handle, damaging the face of the drawer in the process! But the screws are still there so can't install new handle and are temporarily using knobs. Here are pictures. Thank you.

  • Dee Dee on Jul 04, 2020

    Once you get the screws out using the rubberband method, to replace them add some toothpicks to the holes or use wood filler so the screw has something to hold onto.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jul 04, 2020

    Hi! After frustrating screw removal, I bought a kit similar to this one, and it made everything much simpler:

  • Pat Pat on Jul 07, 2020

    Look at the handle that your DH took off. Does it have a metal ring thingy on the handle where the screw goes in? If so, the ring thingy may be turning along with the screw but is holding the screw in the hole. Does this make sense? Something so simple turns into a big job, right?

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jul 08, 2020

    If you could get something behind the head as you screw it out it will lift out