Broken Brass Screw

Just when I thought pretty much done with my 7 year kayak project. The only thing I needed to do was put on the top decking stuff. I pre drilled the holes and when I went to screw in the brass screws it broke! 


I couldn't get a good grip on the broken screw so I attempted to drill it out but that's not working out so great. My next attempt was to sand it down flush with the deck and of course I scraped some spots on the deck.  My thought was to refill the holes with epoxy, revarnish the deck and try again in a slightly different spot.  Should I drill out the other 3 holes to make it bigger so I can inject the epoxy?



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RE: Broken Brass Screw

Tough break. Yeah, brass screws will mess with your mind at the worst of times.

They're soft metal, won't stand any kind of over-torque w/o failing somehow.

When I've use d'em I drive a steel screw of the same size in first to 'prep' the screw hole so there's less chance of the brass having to endure any kind of stress. Use a little lube too - candle wax usually, or maybe lanolin in your kind of operation - so it's less liklely to seize up.

Drilling our a busted one's tough 'cause of the soft metal. Bits slip, go where you don't want a new hole.

One trick is to find some small ID tubing like brake line you can make a hollow 'bit' out of with a fine file or saw blade. Then use that to drill down around the broken shank far enough to pull out the broken piece, then plug the remaining hole with a dowel of solid wood.

Good luck with your repair. (Oh and that image you put into your post isn't showing up on my 'puter's screen....) 

RE: Broken Brass Screw

   I won't try to coach you on gettign the screw out - it might take a little of this and a little of that.  If you can dig down to get enough to get a protruding nib that you can get vice grips to latch on, that's a possibility - squeeze it hard and the nib will flatten in the jaws, helping removal.  Sounds like no matter what, you'll be doing some cosmetic repairs.

So here's the lesson learned: It is well worth it to spend the few extra pennies and the extra time to source good quality silicon bronze fasteners.  I stress the effort to try to determine quality - if they take the time to advertize the fact that it is silicon bronze you're probably safe - if not, the bronze you get might be pretty close to as bad as brass. 

Bronze is so much better in every way - both strength and corrosion resistance - and remember that the strenght/harness makes it much less likely that you will strip a screw slot or bolt head.  Brass doesn't handle cyclical stress/strain very well either.  If a brass screw shank ever starts to twist during insertion it becomes much more brittle, and the act of taking a screw out and reinserting it or twisting back and forth during insertion makes it brittle. 

And bronze is almost a requirement if you're ever going near salt water - especially if not well anode protected (probably not a concern on our wooden CLC boats in almost all fastener locations). Various terms such as "red rot," or "rose" or "pink" are applied to brass that has undergone dezincification.  A very bad condition, as the brass is very proned to cracking and fracture when pink. Found someone had installed a hardware-store brass valve in a salilboat I once owned.  Lucily I caught the problem doing what one should do - cycle all their valves at least annually, not just the thru-hull valves.  After I changed out that valve I found I could turn it into crumbled a pile of rubble with a pair of channel locks.

Bronze starts stronger and stays stronger.  You might not find it at the big box home store, but Ace Hardware is usually pretty good source, as well as Amazon.

RE: Broken Brass Screw

   And for sources of course I should add CLC and many reputable marine hardware supply businesses!

RE: Broken Brass Screw

   Good luck with the repairs/reinstall.  I stick by everything I said re brass and bronze, but even so, based on the apparent slight color difference between the pad eye and the screw, and the fact that the screw is oval headed, can you confirm the screws you are using are really brass and not bronze?  I ask because you usually have to go a bit out of your way to get oval headed brass screws - I've never really searched all the racks to check, but I think the big box options are almost always flat heads.  And if it is bronze - that is only proof that bronze screws will snap, too.  Been there and done that.

RE: Broken Brass Screw

I'm sorry I miss titled the subject and I don't think I can edit the subject line! They are silicon bronze and not brass (sorry) and they were purchased from CLC.  I went to Ace and they didn't carry the silicon bronz screws and with that in mind I don't think the big box hardware stores would carry them as well. I did buy some small wood dowel and I'm going to drill out the 3 holes, fill with epoxy and top it with the wood dowel.


I'm so close finishing and getting the kayak in the water for the first time!! I just had to break a bronze screw!  I'm going to be very gun shy when I put on all the deck hardware now!

RE: Broken Brass Screw

I've had good luck with broken screw extractor tools for this. Just be aware that you get what you pay for.

To prevent this, it's traditional to apply soap to bronze screw threads while driving them in.

Good luck,



RE: Broken Brass Screw

   I have found that left handed drill bits work well for screw extraction. They drill in and, usually, at some point 'catch', and back the broken screw out. Be sure to get the bit well centered first. 
i have had good luck with Fair Wind Fasteners bronze screws. Excellent company.





RE: Broken Brass Screw

I did try to drill out the bronze screw but I was off centered.  I may just sand down the broken bronze screw flush with the deck fill in the tiny drill bit hole with epoxy, fill in the other 2 holes with epoxy & cap it with a wood dowel and refinish the entire deck with another coat of varnish.

To remove that small bronze screw head is tough. What I really need is to invite my dentist over with his drill and perform a bronze root canal!!!

So, when I try this again. I will predrill the holes, use a stainless steel screw the same size to prep (with some soap) and finish it with the bronze screw.

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