CarpentryFilter: What solutions, traditional or otherwise, might I employ to fix the problem of exposed points of wood screws?
May 29, 2007 1:13 PM   Subscribe

CarpentryFilter: What solutions, traditional or otherwise, might I use to fix a problem exposed points of wood screws?

I've built a storage bin for the backyard with plywood, two-by-fours, and a variety of screws -- some of the screws are too long and their points have penetrated through the wood and are now have about 1/8 inch exposed.

I don't want anyone to get scratched (or worse) -- what solutions can you propose for fixing this problem?
posted by chefscotticus to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Use shorter screws.
posted by dnthomps at 1:25 PM on May 29, 2007

get a strong side cutters or bolt cutters and cut the screws off flush with the wood. The part that's extended past the wood isn't giving you any additional grip anyway.
posted by cosmicbandito at 1:27 PM on May 29, 2007

Cut them off with a hacksaw or Dremel.
posted by bondcliff at 1:31 PM on May 29, 2007

Get an angle grinder ($40-$100; or a grinding attachment for a power drill...I got one at Ace for about $7) and grind down the screw tips. If you want you can wood putty over the cavities too, though that might be overkill if it's just a storage bin in the yard.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:32 PM on May 29, 2007

Low-buck: Pound on the exposed points with a hammer. As long as the wood that they are screwed into is thick/solid enough, the points should blunt before the screw loosens in any way. Try to hit them with glancing blows so the tips fold over if possible.
posted by davey_darling at 1:43 PM on May 29, 2007

Also, if looks aren’t a concern you could screw some small scraps of wood to the ends or just coat them with something less stabby, such as caulking or epoxy.
posted by bondcliff at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2007

Seconding Dremel.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:01 PM on May 29, 2007

Dremel, bastard file, or angle grinder
posted by Good Brain at 2:19 PM on May 29, 2007

Angle grinder. If you get too excited while doing this, wood putty will fill the holes.
posted by JJ86 at 2:30 PM on May 29, 2007

My Deejineered solutions:

Depending on how far they stick out, and what kind of screws they are, you may be able to give them a swift whack with a hammer at a 90 degree angle, and actually break off the point. I have done that several times. (Didn't have shorter screws, but DID have a supply of laziness.) You could try a chisel as well.

Another method I once used: SillyPutty. (Spackle would work too.) Cover the points with a healthy blob.

Just a hint: don't hire me as your contractor.
posted by The Deej at 3:11 PM on May 29, 2007

If they are just barely poking thru give them a tap with a framing hammer (not your finishing hammer, screws are hard enough they'll mess up the polished surface of a finishing hammer). Use a nail set if you can't swing the hammer in the space.

If the screw is exposed a lot I first apply the hammer to blunt the points and then use a course belt in a belt sander to bring the screws level with the wood. Warning: the flush screw shaft will be very hot for a minute or two after this. Keep bare skin away.
posted by Mitheral at 3:54 PM on May 29, 2007

Seconding the bastard file. Not worth plugging in a power tool for a few 1/8" points.
posted by flabdablet at 5:23 PM on May 29, 2007

Thirding the file. 1/8 of an inch would only take a few passes each. I bought a cheapo second-cut file that I use for stuff like that.
posted by fair_game at 7:56 PM on May 29, 2007

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