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When All Else Fails...

Occasionally, when you’re trying to remove a screw, you simply can’t get the darn thing to turn, whether it has a slotted head or a Phillips. At such times, here’s a technique that may save the day. It tends to work best when two people are involved so find yourself a helper, the heftier the better. And you’ll need a special kind of screwdriver, meaning one with a squarish handle that you can get a good, transverse purchase on with a Crescent-type wrench.


Start by spraying the problem screw head with your favorite penetrating solvent, whether it be PT Blaster, Kano Aerokroil, Liquid Wrench or whatever. Then have your helper apply the screwdriver to the screw and bear down on it with all his (or her) might. Then finally, apply your wrench (after making sure it is pre-adjusted for a nice, tight fit) sideways to the axis of your screwdriver’s handle, somewhere well below the hand or hands of your helper.

Don’t rush things. When you pull on the handle of your wrench, do so firmly, slowly, and steadily until you feel the screw break loose. Nine times out of ten this nifty little technique will free up a fastener that is seemingly otherwise frozen.


And by the way, if you can’t come up with a helper, the technique also works fairly well solo. Simply bear down with one hand (and put your shoulder into your efforts if possible) and rotate the handle of the wrench in the appropriate direction with the other.

For more tips like this, visit the Vetus-Maxwell DIY Workbench at

Capt. Bill Pike is deputy editor of our sister publication Power & Motoryacht magazine.