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Screw and Bolt Extraction Made Easy

tools equipment 101 | Posted: 6/9/2021

Now, we’ve all been there before, a rounded-off, rusted-tight, or painted-over bolt can leave us all a little red in the face. And no matter what you do, it doesn’t seem to budge. So how do you remove that bolt when your usual tools just can’t get a grip? Well, that’s where Hanson’s Bolt Extractors come in.

How Does a Bolt Extractor Work?

Well, these bolt extractors bite into the head of a stripped or stubborn bolt by using a spiral design. This design provides you with the grip you need to extract even the most stubborn bolt. Keep in mind, that these extractors will only work on bolts that still have a head— even if those heads are worn completely round or painted so much their original pattern is missing.

The Hanson bolt extractor’s design works with all types of tools—they can be used with socket wrenchesflat wrenches, or impact wrenches, making these extractors handy to have around in case of emergency. They’re also made from carbon steel, which means that these extractors are going to last a long time and hold up to a lot of wear and tear. Whether you need a full kit or individual bolt extractors, we’ve got you covered.

How to Use Bolt Extractors?

Hanson bolt extractors are specifically designed to remove those hard-to-get bolts. With their reverse-spiral design, they cut into the bolt, providing maximum gripping power along with quick and easy removal. To use one of these extractors just follow these simple steps.

Rust Destroyer
  1. Spray some penetrating lubricant onto the bolt.
  2. Next, select your tool of choice. In most cases, a socket wrench will work best.
  3. Place your extractor socket over the bolt, you’ll need to tap it into place.
  4. Then attach your tool and turn it counter-clockwise. You should be able to feel the difference as the extractor socket “bites” into the bolt and breaks the bolt away from its rusty spot.
  5. Add more penetrant if needed and continue turning until the bolt loosens enough to twist the rest by hand.

How Does a Screw Extractor Work?

Screw extractors like our Proto Screw Extractors are used on bolts, screws, or studs that have had the head either completely broken off or worn so badly that your Hanson bolt extractor can’t get a grip on it. So, how does this work? These screw extractors are made to bite into a drilled hole in the middle of a seized bolt, screw, or stud. The Proto screw extractors are durable, easy to use, and heat-treated for strength—but be careful! Even though they are strong, on the slim chance you break off an extractor in a stuck bolt, you’ll have a tough time getting it back out. To help prevent breakage there are numbers stamped onto the sides of the extractor. These numbers show what drill bit size you should be using with each extractor

Another option for removing a bolt is the Viking Drill and Tool Hi-Carbon Steel Spiral Screw and Pipe Extractors. These Spiral Extractors from Viking are tough! Made from forged, hi-carbon steel, these extractors will cut through even the toughest of bolts. The spiral shape gives these extractors the ability to remove broken bolts, screws, and pipes without causing damage to the threads.

How to Use a Screw Extractor:

  1. First, center punch the middle of the broken screw that needs to be removed.
  2. Then, select an appropriately-sized drill bit that matches the screw extractor you’ve chosen. One handy tip that you might want to try is using a left-handed drill bit. If your broken screw is not too tight, the drill bit might be able to remove it on its own. If not, it’s up to the extractors to finish the job!
  3. Once your hole is drilled, carefully tap the extractor into the hole.
  4. Now, with either a tap handle or wrench, turn the extractor in a counter clockwise direction, which should remove the broken piece. It might take a few attempts since you’ll need to find the right amount of force to tap the extractor in with. Not enough force, and the extractor won’t “bite” into the hole. Too much force, and you could exert too much outward pressure, causing the bolt to become even more stuck!
Rust Destroyer

Don’t forget to use penetrating oil, and maybe even some heat from a torch if it’s safe to do so. (click here to read more on Bernzomatic Torches).

How to Use a Nut Splitter/ Nut Cracker:

What if you have to remove a rusted or stuck nut, but not the bolt? Well, you’re in luck! As long as your nut is easily accessible, the best option is to split the nut in half, and Performance Tool’s Heavy-Duty Nut Splitter or Gearwrench’s universal nut cracker is what you need for this job. Think of these as a compact wood-splitter. On one side it has a hardened chisel point, which is what will be doing the splitting. On the other, it has an internal bolt that will apply pressure to the nut the more you turn it. These heavy-duty nut splitters are sturdy and stable, plated to resist corrosion, and sure to last. Using these tools are fairly simple:

  1. Set the tool over the nut, making sure to line up the chisel point with the flat (that’s any flat side, of the nut).
  2. Use a wrench of your choosing to tighten the bolt on the nut splitter, making sure to keep the tool as stable as possible. It might help to hold the tool in place with a second wrench as you apply more pressure.
  3. Once you’ve applied enough pressure to cut through one flat, un-screw the splitter and do the same to the flat on the opposite side of the nut.
  4. Once you’ve split both sides, the nut should practically fall off.

And if this tool can’t get the job done, don’t forget about the Enerpac Hydraulic Nut Cutters.

Now that you know how to use screw and bolt extraction tools, those rounded-off, rusted-tight, or painted-over bolts should be a slice of cake. But if you have any questions feel free to contact us here, and make sure to subscribe to our email list so you can keep up to date with the latest offers, flyers, new products, and giveaways here at!

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