How To Loosen a Rusty Screw
Amongst other things, I paint jewelry boxes – those I find at garage sales, thrift stores – anything that is nice and in good condition. There is a lot of detail work involved in fixing them up pretty, shabby-ing them and getting them ready for re-sale. From taking off the little pieces of hardware like knobs and hinges, to de-glossing so the paint will adhere, to taping off the velour that lines the inside. And of course, there’s the painting and finishing work.
Usually I have no problem dismantling it. But I bought one the other day, different than any
other I had worked on, in more ways than one. It had a different shape. The two doors were situated on the top rather than facing front. And the doors held mirrors of etched glass, rather than just glass as I had had before.
Ok. Not a big deal so far. Problem was, of the 7 sets of miniature screws I had to take out with my itty bitty screw driver, 5 of the sets were stuck in there so tight I got blisters trying to get them out. The reason, I discovered, was that many of them were slightly rusty, which seemed odd since no rust or evidence of water damage existed anywhere else on the entire jewelry box.
The Power of Google for Crafters
Ok, again. Now what to do? Well … Google has always been my friend. I can ask old Goog anything, and he comes back with the smartest answers. So I asked him, “how to loosen rusty screw”. I got a myriad of answers and solutions, none of which seemed to work well for my particular problem. However, not one to give up easily, I kept scrolling.
Finally, on page 2, I found one that suggested I put penetrating oil on top of the screws, leave them for a bit, and they should come out. Fine enough. But…what the heck is penetrating oil? Again I Googled. And again, the smartest answer from my old friend.
Penetrating oil it turns out is made especially for stuck screws, bolts and nuts, etc. And I could go to AutoZone or the hardware store and buy some. Hmm, no time. Plus no guarantee in my little town if they would even have it.
Then my eyes lit on my solution. “How to make your own penetrating oil” from vegetable oil and acetone, the stuff that comes in nail polish remover. Because I’m a crafter and jewelry
maker, I always make sure to have polish remover with acetone on hand, since that’s what one rushes to get if one accidentally super-glues their fingers together.
Being the smart person that I am, I proceeded to make the potion of homemade penetrating oil. It didn’t even cost pennies to make the few drops I needed for this project.
But oh my goodness, did it work! Using a tiny paintbrush, I applied a couple of drops onto the top of each stuck screw and left it to sit. Within 15 minutes, Success! With very little effort, I was able to break every one of them loose.
I feel so smart and thrifty. And all my thanks goes to Google and those who think up these amazing homemade remedies. I am happy to be able to pass this tip on to all you dedicated crafters! Happy Crafting Everybody.