It is not necessary to strip screws to get them in

Two quick points of background, that will increase the irony in the following situation considerably:

  1. I work for a company that sells office furniture across the country.
  2. I have extremely limited handyman skills.

Okay, on to the frustrating part:

My office, in the sprawling megaplex worldwide HQ of our company (total employee count here: 30), is located just off the reception area. Our receptionist is getting a new reception station. Very nice station. Looks quite official.

The professional installers came to assemble the reception station today. They have been here all day. These are guys from the factory that actually made the reception station; the factory flew them down specifically for this job. (We sell a buttload of stuff for this manufacturer, so they suck up to us whenever they can.) If one were having office furniture assembled at one’s workplace, and one wanted the best possible team to do the assembly, one would naturally assume that the factory would be the best option to provide world-class assemblers.

One would be an idiot.

For reasons unfathomable to me, these guys have stripped out every single screw they have put into this reception station. And because my office is just around the corner from the reception station (in fact, shares a wall with the reception station), I get to hear them strip out each screw with their power screwdriver.




And my favorite:

[sub]veeeeee[/sub] … [sub]veeeeee[/sub] … [sub]vee[/sub]RRRRNNNNNKKKK!

As Dale Evans said to Roy Rogers when she caught him riding his horse bareback, “Easy on that Trigger, boy.”

As I said, I have very limited handyman skills, but even I can adjust my itchy little trigger finger on the button of a power screwdriver after a couple of stripped screws.

Did you know there are exactly 1,486 screws that hold together the reception station at the front of our office? I bet you didn’t. I do, though. Because I’ve heard every damn one of them being stripped out today!

We can only pray that this reception station won’t have to be adjusted once these guys leave. We’ll never get a single screw out of this thing.

I shudder to think that when one of our dealers sells a large corporate customer 500 complete offices, these are the “pros” that get sent out to do the installation.

I haven’t looked at their name tags. I’m guessing their names are Candi and Bambi, or something similar.

Have you ever tried to input marketing information into a database while screws are being stripped every ten seconds just eight feet away? It ain’t possible.

I may go hide in the bathroom for the rest of the workday, while Candi and Bambi finish their stripping.


Is it just the noise that is annoying you and is inspiring this rant, or are they actually stripping the threads on the screws? :confused:

I know that noise. The threads aren’t being stripped, it’s the slot in the screw head that’s being stripped, thus making it difficult to remove the screw later. Candi and Bambi are also damaging their screwdriver bits. Someone should teach them how to screw.

Not even necessary, with a half-decent screwdriver - just tell them to use the torque control.

Excellent rant :slight_smile:

LolaBaby: As sturmhauke said, it’s the screw heads, not the threads, that are being stripped. Rather than sporting a nice neat crosshair, each screw head will have a gaping maw gouged into it.

And if you think I’m gonna teach these guys how to screw, you’ve got another think comin’.

GorillaMan: See, that just shows you the depths of my handyman ignorance. I didn’t even know what the torque control was.

Do you know for a fact that the screws were striped? becaause this noise is very similar to the noise my corless drill makes when the torque setting thingy is slipping instead of the screw being striped.

Not to rain on your rant, but are you assuming this? Because power tools are not necessarily known for their “whisper-soft operation”, and there is such a feature as, mentioned before, “torque control”.

Even my pneumatic air wrench makes a godawful sound at its lowest torque setting.

Oh, it’s not the sound of the power screwdriver. I’m handyman-deficient, but even I know what sound that is.

It’s a rather distinctive sound when a screw head is stripped.

I’ve looked – the screw heads are mangled. Granted, not all of them are completely ruined, but none of them are in pristine condition.

Boys, Sauron’s company is very important to us. When you go down there to install this furniture, make sure they can tellat first-hand how solid and long-lasting our furniture is. Make sure that desk will never come apart!

I hear you loud and clear. It annoyed me that I weant through an entire education without getting taught that you shouldn’t screw screws as hard as possible. Its one of those important little pieces of information that isn’t getting distributed thoroughly enough.

When using those tiny, soft headed bright finish screws, I always set my drill/diver to the lowest torque setting (and I use brand new, sharp bit of the proper size). When the clutch slips out, the bit stops spinning, and you hear a godawful ratcheting noise. Annoying and loud, but much fewer stripped screw heads.

Could that be what you were hearing?

If they really did strip most of the heads, what a bunch of maroons.

Ah… now I see post #8. Where was that bastard puppy hiding?

Well, now, Bippy, that depends on what you’re screwing. You hafta be a little gentle with softwood, but hardwood can take some abuse, so long as it gets in there eventually.

Maybe they have a deal on the side with Sears and their stripped-screw remover thingy (I think that’s the technical term for it.)

Not to slightly hijack but has anyone tried that think? Any reports on its usefulness, or lack of?

The only problem with that is, these guys were fastening metal parts and laminate parts. There’s no “wood” in this furniture, apart from pressboard inside the laminate.

It’s not bad, but if we’re thinking about the same thing, you have to be able to get to the other side of the screw or around it. It’s an ingenius little device with internal threads that run counter to screw threads, so that you get the internal threads to interlock with those of the screw and then pull the whole thing out as one unit. It’s definitely come in handy a couple times though.

If it’s happening every single time, I’m going to guess that most of the noise is coming from the drill’s clutch (torque limiter) doing it’s thing. If the screw heads are being boogered, the installers probably have the clutch setting too high.

A ruined screw head is not a trivial problem. Generally once you strip them going in, you’ll not be able to get them out without some kind of screw extractor bit.

Asterion, I think it’s something like this: It’s a sharp bit that can dig in and grip a ruined screw head, so you can remove it without having to drill the whole screw out.

So what did the factory sales manager say when you called him and told him about this? Maybe jokingly said “Sure glad you sent these newby apprentices here – they’d scare off all our sales if they were ever seen by any real customers!” and “I guess it’s really great to have business be so good that all your trained, professional installers are busy out at customer sites.”

And if you didn’t call the factory and complain about the poor job they did, just posted your rant here … Well, venting will make you feel better, I guess.

But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ve actually done anything to improve the situation.