Removing a Countersunk Screw

What You'll Need
Flat head screwdriver
Small head screwdriver
Philips head screwdriver

A countersunk screw is an important part of all carpentry jobs and other do-it-yourself projects involving wood. These screws are not special devices in and of themselves. Rather, countersinking a screw involves boring a hole in the wood that is wider than the screw itself is. This allows you to insert the screw into the wood such that the head of the screw ends up being at a lower level than the surface of the wood. This can then be covered up with filler or other objects in order to create a smooth appearance. Countersinking a screw can make it difficult to remove from the wood, however. Read on for a step by step guide on how to do that.

Step 1 - Remove Covering Material

If there is any putty, wood filler or other material that is covering up the top of the screw head, you'll need to remove that from the wood first before you can remove the countersunk screw. Use the flat head screwdriver in order to do this. Place the blade of the screwdriver in the hole of the screw and carefully pry out any putty or other filler. Be gentle and ensure that you don't accidentally chip the wood or any other materials surrounding the hole while you do so. Discard the putty in the proper manner.

Step 2 - Locate the Proper Screwdriver

Examine the head of the screw in order to find out the shape of the screwdriver that will be necessary. Most countersunk screws will be designed for a flat head screwdriver or, on some occasions, a Philips head screwdriver. In any case, it's a good idea to have a variety of different types of screwdrivers on hand so that you'll be fully prepared to remove the screws, regardless of the format of the screw heads.

Step 3 - Unscrew

Turn the screwdriver counter clockwise in order to begin to unscrew the screw. Begin by turning the screwdriver very slowly, as the edges of the screw can damage the sides of the screw hole. Continue to unscrew slowly until the top portion of the head of the screw has cleared the surface of the wood. You can then unscrew the remaining part of the screw normally without worrying about the screw causing damage to the wood around it or pulling up any fibers that are located adjacent to the screw hole.

Step 4 - Finishing Up

After you've removed your countersunk screw, be aware that the integrity of the wood surrounding the screw hole may be somewhat compromised. It's a good idea to fill in the hole with putty or a wood filler if you plan to use the piece of wood for any additional carpentry work or for some other purpose. Putty of this type and wood fillers, as well as the screwdrivers needed for this project, are available at most hardware stores.