I left off last week with the first part of the project of where I could go one way with one chair and another with the other: extracting the screws pre- or post-sanding.
The first chair was pre-sanding.
I used a scratch awl from a $20 driver set to clear out the slots of many of the screws. This was my realization of just how much paint had been used on the chairs. And it wasn’t just paint. Whoever had done this work had used primer under the paint.
In concept, this is a smart approach.
Whatever was underneath likely was not ready for paint, and the primer helps create a good surface for paint to adhere to. Also the white primer makes it easier to have uniform color by covering the old surface with solid white.
Unfortunately for me, the sheer amount of primer and paint was… a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. That meant that it was possible that the screws were actually stuck in place by the primer and paint. It would be hard enough to try to get a good channel for a flathead driver bit, but even if I did, what were the chances I wouldn’t strip the heads?
It was a good thing that I had my extractor bit set, even though the cheap bits were showing considerable wear after heavy usage.
I used a flathead driver bit with my DeWalt impact driver set on low and with a very light squeeze of the trigger. I needed to encourage the screws to come out while trying to avoid stripping the heads and without slipping off and taking a bite out of the wood.
The slip-out and bite is a huge issue with flathead screws. I had experienced that decades ago and had to patch over that in the last series I wrote about.
My DeWalt impact driver has more than 100x human torque. It was a slow and steady process to get the screws I could out of the chair.
I couldn’t get all of them, though, and that meant trying to drill them out so I could use my extractor set.
To make my work faster and easier, I decided to pick up some DeWalt bits that boasted longer life for use with metal. Almost immediately, one 1/16″ bit snapped. The other didn’t last too much longer.
More on adventures in bit breaking next week!