screw removal help

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  #1  
Old 07-22-17, 09:57 AM
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screw removal help

I'm needing to remove several hundred 2 x 2 vertically installed "pickets" from a deck railing but they're affixed along the top and bottom horizontal boards of the railing with 2 1/2" wood screws, with two screws in the top and two screws in the bottom (so four screws per picket). These phillips head woodscrews have been painted over many many times so the slots are filled with paint so can't get the driver bit in without digging out the old paint with an awl, and even then most of these old screws (most rusted to various extents) are quite stubborn and want to strip before giving/turning for me. I tried using an easy out (and even that didn't work so hot) on a few but needing to pre-drill a hole into every screw head for the easy out for all these screws would take forever, plus it would wear out the drill bit. I'd like to remove the pickets without destroying them. Any comments/suggestions for getting these blasted screws out unscrewed appreciated.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 10:10 AM
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A screw extractor is your only option if you want to save the 2x2s. You could use a sawzall and thin metal blade to cut behind them, but it would do some damage to the wood and you would still need to extract the screw from the 2x2.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 11:02 AM
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Perhaps I'm going about it improperly with the screw extractor(s) and drill bit(s) I've tried so far. I have two different screw extractors. One is a straight screw extractor the size of which I tried pre-drilling into several of the screw heads with the recommended size drill bit (3/16”), and one of which is a spiral screw extractor the size of which I tried pre-drilling into several of the screw heads with the recommended size drill bit (5/64”) but what happens with my pre-drilling step is the bit(s) barley drills into the head very deep even with steady even pressure on the drill before the bit point just starts heating/burning up. Both drill bits are (were) brand new, the 3/16” one a “cobalt” type that says “for hardened steel” on the package, and the 5/64” one a “titanium” type that says “6x longer life” on the package. Here'a a pic of the extractors and the bits:



Also I did consider going with sawzall as suggested but didn't want to damage the wood if I could help it so decided against that.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 11:25 AM
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Ontel Speed Out Speed Out Screw Extractor (4-Piece)-1000264 - The Home Depot

Use the #2 bit. Drill clockwise to ream it, then turn the bit around and put it into reverse. If it fails, use the #3 bit the same way.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 11:29 AM
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If the paint is the only issue you can drive the bit into the head with a hammer but the last deck I tried to disassemble, the screws mostly snapped.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 12:11 PM
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Ontel Speed Out Speed Out Screw Extractor (4-Piece)-1000264 - The Home Depot
Use the #2 bit. Drill clockwise to ream it, then turn the bit around and put it into reverse. If it fails, use the #3 bit the same way.
Yeah I've seen they have those type of screw extractors too, different brands and manufacturers. Wondering how they would really perform I was somewhat scared away by a lot of the one-star (negative) reviews by some:
https://www.amazon.com/Alden-8430P-G...r&pageNumber=1

Probably at least worth a try, though.

If the paint is the only issue you can drive the bit into the head with a hammer but the last deck I tried to disassemble, the screws mostly snapped.
Yeah I tried that first but apparently not enough paint always is driven out by that method, still not enough for the phillips head bit to bite and I still get the stripping of the head regardless. The paint is unfortunately pretty solidly build up in the slots, plus most all the screws are rusted in pretty good as I mentioned. Once in a while I was having random success with turning the screws out here and there, without stripping the heads, but very seldom would I get lucky like that.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 12:18 PM
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Drill the heads off, than pry or hammer the 2 X off the screw shanks Use vise grips to remove screws. Use a bit slightly bigger than shank of screw.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 12:43 PM
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Drill the heads off, than pry or hammer the 2 X off the screw shanks Use vise grips to remove screws. Use a bit slightly bigger than shank of screw.
Well the shanks of the screws seem to measure about 3/32" so maybe use a 7/64" bit, or 1/8" maybe?

Would it be the wrong approach to try to drill the heads off using a drill bit the diameter size of the screw head itself (5/16")? Because I was going to try that but not if it should work better using a slightly-bigger-than-shank-size bit.

Also, since I'm going to be drilling so many of these heads off, what drill bit material is going to work/last the best without dulling/burning the point so dang soon? sheesh
 
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Old 07-22-17, 12:52 PM
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With 800 of those buggers, I think I'd take the easy way out and carefully use a sawzall to cut through all of them, then make a jig to drill two new fresh different holes at each end of the picket for re-installation with nice new screws.

And I'd leave the shafts of the old screws right where they are . . . . Rest in Peace !
 
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Old 07-22-17, 12:56 PM
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I usually just drag a utility knife over the screws to chip the paint off enough to get my bit to catch and back the screws out. A solid stain should pop off the screw heads enough for you to get a grip on them.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 04:13 PM
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Tried everything so far except ordering/purchasing the extractor kit to try that. Best thing working for me is the suggestion just to cut the screws off with the sawzall. Got a bunch of the pickets removed by cutting the screws that way already, buggered up the wood and old paint a little but it's just an old rusting looking fence and I'll be repainting anyway. I'm finding though that even with my thin 18- teeth-per- inch metal sawzall blade it's not all that fast and easy cutting through the screws. Using a cheap brand (Exchange-A-Blade) blades; maybe they're not so good for this. That brand also sells a "fire and rescue" sawzall blade too, that has 14 teeth per inch and is thicker and is made for cutting through metal and/or wood. It's a little more heavy duty than those thin metal type; I'm hoping it'll do better.
 
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Old 07-22-17, 04:40 PM
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By the time you'e cut through that 800th one, you'll be really good at it !
 
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Old 07-22-17, 05:09 PM
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Kind of surprising me how not-easily these dang wood screws are cutting with the either metal and/or the "fire and rescue" type sawzall blades. fighting every dang one of them
 
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Old 07-22-17, 07:57 PM
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I did a little "research" and discovered it can make significant difference which brand reciprocating saw blades one has chosen to utilize. My mistake was choosing a cheap brand blade instead of paying more for quality blade such as Milwaukee.
 
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