Score so far: Vise: 1, Me: 0. In this post I tell the sad tale of trying to extract the jaw face screws that are frozen with rust – nothing has worked for me.
Warning: Once again, I don’t know what I’m doing!
At first I soaked the screws in WD-40 (penetrating oil), then tried to remove them with a big screwdriver. Result: I gouged up all the screw heads.
Next I tried an Impact Screwdriver and more WD-40, which I should have tried before I gouged up the screw heads with a screwdriver. Result: one screw did come out (yay!) but three screws remained in place.
…and I bent the impact screwdriver bit.
Next I tried a screw extractor, also called an Easy-Out. To use it, you drill a hole in the center of the stuck screw, then insert the screw extractor and turn it counter-clockwise. The extractor has a left-turn thread so it (in theory) digs into the screw, then unscrews it.
I first tried drilling a hole with my drill press. A bad idea because it spins too fast, and I was having trouble keeping the vise jaw from moving. Result: a broken, steel-grade drill bit. Very fortunately for me the bit didn’t break off in the screw.
Next I used an electric hand drill and another steel-grade bit, running the drill at a slow speed, and lubricating the screw head and bit with WD-40. Success! I drilled the pilot hole.
Next I picked a drill bit that was the right size for the extractor and screw – or so I thought – and enlarged the hole with the new bit.
It turned out I should have chosen a larger bit: something large enough that a lot of the screw extractor could bite into the screw before trying to twist it out. I naively began – gently I thought – twisting the extractor into the screw.
…then I heard a soft “pop!” But it wasn’t the screw breaking loose; it was the tap handle’s clamp breaking in half.
Luckily (?) the tap handle still held on to the screw extractor… at least long enough for me to break the screw extractor, with the broken tip lodged in the screw. The worst possible outcome.
At this point, I’m giving up trying to undo these screws that hold the vise faces on. To get the hardened steel screw extractor out of the screw, I would need something like a diamond drill bit.
In hindsight, I should have 1) tried the impact screwdriver before gouging up the screw heads, and 2) drilled a larger hole for the screw extractor: one that would remove a lot of the body of the screw, but still leave enough metal for the screw extractor to bite into.
Next: I bend the movable jaw to make the vise faces more parallel.
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