Probably the least sexy blog post I’m ever going to write. However it maybe a useful one if you have rounded out a bolt and have already exhausted all your options. I rounded out the M6 bolt which holds the pinch clamp of my gear shifter to the handle bar. Unfortunately it’s recessed which meant I couldn’t get the mole grips around the head or cut a slot in the head to use a flat head screw driver.
This meant I had to go with the nuclear option of drilling it out with a reversed threaded tool. Screw Fix do a number of options and after reading a few reviews I went for the Trend Pro Grabit Bolt and Screw Remover. It comes with two double ended bits, one for screws, sizes 6-14, and one for bolts, M4-M8. Not tried the screw one yet and maybe never will as I don’t ever remember rounding out a screw. This is quite a surprise considering all the crap flat pack I have suffered over the years.
The instructions tell you to put the drill on reverse and use the burnisher end to clean out the head of the bolt. This makes it round and removes any burs that maybe present. Leaving the drill in reverse you then flip the bit round and “drill” the remover into the bolt head. The thread is cut the opposite way to a normal drill bit so that it bites into the bolt head and unscrews the bolt. I soaked the bolt in WD40 a few times and then went to work on it. I cleaned it out fine with the burnisher but the remover just wouldn’t turn the bolt. Even after switching the power right up it simply wouldn’t budge. Although the instructions tell you not to, I decided to try to drill the bolt with a standard HSS drill bit to deepen the hole and hopefully give the remover more purchase. Once I had drilled 2-3 millimeters into the socket I decided to give it another go with the remover. To my complete and utter shock this worked first time and the bolt unscrewed nice and easy.
So what have we learnt? Well firstly if you are going to gorilla your bolts in (unlike me to be honest) then make sure you have some really good quality hex tools to unscrew your bolts when it’s removal time. If you don’t heed this warning and drilling is the only option I can certainly recommend this tool, although remember the tip about drilling the bolt if it doesn’t work first time round. At £16 it’s not cheap but compared to almost any other bike specific tool it won’t break the bank. As a bonus you might end up using it for when you are trying to take apart that shit Ikea book shelf to fit it in the car when taking it down the dump.