Removing Frozen Screws

Every once in awhile I’ll buy an old tool that gives me some grief. This time it was the frog that wouldn’t come off the bed of a Stanley No 4 plane due to some rusted screws. Normally, when screws won’t budge, I use the oldest trick in the book, and tighten them before I try to loosen them. This will often break the seal of rust and allows me to unscrew the bolt with no problem. But that didn’t work this time. Not even a shot of PB Blaster could save the day.

I ended up having to drill through the top of the head to break it apart from the threads so the frog could come free. I’ve read where some people use propane torches to heat up the screws and free the rusted threads that way but, my shop is in my basement and don’t feel like stinking up the whole house with the flames off of a propane torch.

After a few minutes of drilling, the frog came off of the bed. You can see all the gunk that’s been trapped underneath the frog for decades.

Now that the frog is removed, I was left with another problem. The threads of the left screw stood proud of the bed while the threads of the right screw are inside the bed.

Removing the left threads was simple, a little bit of oil and some channel locks and it unscrewed easily. The right one, not so much.

For the right one, I used a 11/64″ drill bit and carefully drilled through the threads of the screw paying careful attention not to damage the interior threads of the bed. When the majority of the screw is removed, I used a dental pick and cleaned out any remaining metal inside the threads so that new screws would seat nicely.

Grabbing a couple of spare screws I had lying around, I tested them inside the cleaned out holes. They worked just fine. Now it was time to continue on with the restoration job. I dipped all the metal parts of the plane in a citric acid bath to remove all the rust.

With all the parts cleaned up and the blade sharpened, the plane was restored to working order. Another plane saved from the scrap heap.

9 thoughts on “Removing Frozen Screws

  1. Keith Mealy

    Don’t Stanley planes often have an odd thread pitch? Good reason to save part or you’d need to be tapping. I am currently trying to find a #6 fine thread screw (40 pitch) for a 1940s era sewing machine and it’s driving me nuts.

      1. Do you have a original Emmert or a clone? I have 11 inches from the end of my bench to the leg. Would this suffice or do I need more room? I was thinking about one sold by Woodcraft.
        thanks

      2. I have the massive Emmert Turtleback. It’s 18″ long and goes the width of my workbench. I may create a post describing my vise so you can see how it is installed on my bench. The vise is the best tool I’ve ever bought. No idea how the smaller clones work in comparison. It’s worth owning the original bad boy.

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