How to File Down a Stripped Phillips Head Screwdriver How to File Down a Stripped Phillips Head Screwdriver

What You'll Need
Stiff brush
Metal file

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to tighten a screw with a Phillips head screwdriver, only to find that the screwdriver is too damaged to find purchase on the screw. When this happens, it can be tempting to give up whatever project you are working on altogether. However, there is hope. You can fix a stripped screwdriver using a simple metal file and a little bit of effort. What follows should provide you with enough information so that you can do it yourself, and get right back into the project that you really want to do.

Step 1 - Setting Up

To begin, you will need to clamp your screwdriver firmly in place so you can file it more easily. Clamping your screwdriver tightly and correctly will also help you file accurately and avoid damage.

Loosen your vice, then insert your screwdriver. Place the screwdriver in such a way that the business end sticks out past the edge of the vice, but only barely. If the end does not stick out, you will not be able to file it. However, if the end sticks out too far, the screwdriver will bend back and forth slightly as you file it, causing it to vibrate and move under your file, potentially ruining all of the work that you are doing.

Step 2 - Preparing the File

Use a stiff brush to clean out your file. This removes any small pieces of material from it and reduces the chances that you will accidentally increase the damage to your screwdriver. When you are satisfied that your file is completely clean, you may continue.

Step 3 - Filing the Tip

Before you actually fix the screwdrivers ability to work on screws, it is likely that you will have to fix its tip. The best way to do this is by using your file on the tip of the screwdriver. This will remove the majority of the damage from your screwdriver, as it is where the screwdriver gets bent and stripped the most.

Use your metal file on the tip of the screwdriver until you have removed the worst of the damage. Work slowly, and make long passes that take full advantage of the length of the file. If you work too quickly, or use short strokes, you risk tearing up the tip of your screwdriver and making your problems even worse.

Step 4 - Fixing the Stripping

Now that you have removed the worst of the damage, it is time to remove the final problems and render your Phillips head screwdriver usable once again. Place your metal file in one of the grooves of your Phillips screwdriver. Move it back and forth until the original shape of the groove is restored. Move on to the next groove and restore it in the same way. If it is difficult to access, you can loosen the vice, rotate your screwdriver, and try again. Repeat this process until all of your screwdriver's grooves are restored.

Once you have done this, your screwdriver should be as good as new.

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