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Undoing very tight screws

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What is the issue?
Screws, like almost every fastening, have a tendency to seize up on a seagoing vessel. They can also be very hard going to put in.

Why address this?
A seized screw can cause major delay and on occasion damage if it has to be dug out. Putting the screws in in the first place can also be exhaustive work and usually requires a power tool for expediency. Power tools are always challenging on a vessel and they are far from ideal with a tendency to strip out the screw head or whine and drain down their power when the going gets too demanding.

How to address this?
A very useful tool to have aboard is a traditional carpenters wood brace and bit which makes short work of screws.

Many tasks that were traditionally completed with hand tools, have been overtaken by the powered drill. In particular, the egg beater type hand drill and carpenter's brace are much less used today. However, hand tools such as these can still play an important part aboard a vessel. Never more so than the wood carpenters brace which is ideal for dealing with heavy or seized screws.

Carpenters Brace with Reversible Ratchet
Photo: Courtesy of Faithfull

The brace adds extra leverage and screw slot pressure that will sink or remove a screw from anything. It is old technology but good physics and, being powered by you, the energy is always on tap.

A carpenter's brace is also an extremely inexpensive purchase and well worth it for dealing with screws as well as good old fashion drilling aboard. The motion of drilling is highly relaxed as you churn through the wood at a consistent pace. When purchasing look out for one with a chuck that accepts modern bits, and a ratchet version if possible which is handy for working in the tight confines of a yacht.

When using it make certain that you are using a screwdriver bit with a head that fits snugly into the screw head. Then be careful not to turn off the screws heads with the additional power it provides. If you happen to have an old fashion chuck version, a washer that is filed flat on one edge can be rigged to address flat head screws.

If however, you have a seized screw or a bronze or brass one that you are concerned you might shear off, you may be better off releasing it with the help of some heat.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

Testing The Cheapest Drill On Amazon

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