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Realigning rolling mill problem


The rollers on my Pepe 189.20 rolling mill are out of alignment.
Brian Meek has an easy to understand tutorial on how to do this but I
have a problem I hope someone can help me with. There is a plate on
the back of the mill held in place with 2 screws and this must be
removed as a first step. I cannot remove one of the screws. I assume
it is rusted. I applied Liquid Wrench to no avail. I think it can’t
reach the part of the screw where the rust is because the plate is in
the way. I have almost ruined the head of the screw trying to remove
it. I read somewhere heat can help so I put the hair dryer on it. No
luck. Can any of you tool gurus give me any advice. This should be so
easy but I’m stuck - and so is the screw.



If you can apply some wet towel to the area, coca cola is the best
thing to remove rust. It would work its way down the screw from the
head – just let it be for a while. There is a tool that removes
stripped head screws - not too expensive but that assumed the rust
is gone.


Hi Beverly,

Glad you liked my page on straightening your mill. As far as your
problem, it’s hard to guess what to do without knowing where the
plate is, and how it gets in the way. To try to loosen it, you might
try getting some liquid wrench onto a cheap small paintbrush, and
really just goobering it in onto the screw, and onto every bit of it
you can reach. Liquid Wrench really creeps a long way. Failing that,
try WD-40. Let it sit for a couple of days.

Loosening a screw with “heat” means blowtorch sorts of heat. Picture
a presto-lite with a large tip. 500-700F. Not want you want on a
rolling mill if you can avoid it. At very least, it’ll fry your

If neither of those work, you’re getting into drilling out the
screw, which is all sorts of fun. Easiest answer is to drill the
head, and use a screw extractor. May or may not work. After the head
is completely shot, (and it will be) you can try grinding it off
flush with the surface, which should release any hold it has. (unless
it’s of the type that starts off flush with the surface. At that
stage, you have to get a coarse flex-shaft burr, and grind it all out
of the countersunk area. No fun.)

I’m at the JCK show with the guys from Pepe sharing a booth with me.
(We’re all in the Otto Frei booth) I’ll ask them if they’ve got the
plans for that mill with them, so I can see what’s going on.

Brian Meek.


hi beverly!

i’m pretty sure the hair dryer warmed up everything, and wasn’t
successful b/c of that. it might not be the best solution for a
small situation. unless you can keep the screw cold while heating
the surrounding area.

[you want the heat to expand some of the metal and at the same time
keep the screw from not expanding so it will turn out.]. vibration
is another way that might help. depending on how damaged the
screwhead is will play into this as well. slot or phillips head?

is the screw recessed into the plate or proud? is the head large
enough to get something like a locking brand of pliers on it?

make sure you’re using the right size screw driver.

can you lay the mill down so you can get a little more oily stuff to
flow down where the screw is, and apply more direct force? apply some
additional spray oil stuff try to make sure it is being forced into
the hole where the threads are:

=> you might use an old hammer to gently tap the head of the
screw[if you can without hitting anything else].

=> you could also tap on the screw driver while turning it. heating
and tapping might release it too…keep at it.

=> if that doesn’t work after multiple attempts/the head is beyond
repair, get to a hardware store and find a screw extractor. it is
sharp and digs in and bites into a hard to remove to help remove it.

i got a set from kmart recently, in the sears area of their hardware
dept. if that doesn’t work then you’ll probably need it drilled out
and possibly re-tapped.

i have a similar situation with a steel bolt broke off and stuck
inside the cast aluminium housing on my clay extruding pugmill. it
can wait till i can put it under the drill press and drill that
sucker out. maybe the maker should have furnished some plastic
threaded plugs to keep clay out of this area…

hope this helps!


Hi Brian,

Here is a photo of the back of the mill and the offending screw. The
one on the right came out like butter. Sigh. I do have to remove
that plate don’t I? That’s what I understand from your directions.
BTW - I am shocked at how unaligned this mill is. When viewed from
the front the opening on the right is noticeably larger than on the
left. I must have done something really wrong. I’ll be really happy
if the Pepe guys know something that might help. As for the liquid
wrench, I’m thinking of unbolting the mill and laying it down so that
that stuff can seep in. In the vertical position, it just runs off.
I’ll forget about the heat idea. Someone suggested coca cola but I
don’t know. Would hate to see it get in the wrong place.


The rollers on my Pepe 189.20 rolling mill are out of alignment. 

(I saw a picture of it…) If it were mine I would grab the head very
tightly with a vice grips and try to turn the screw. I’m pretty sure
it would snap right off. Then I would drill it out a little wider and
retap the hole. You can pick up tap & die set at Harbor Fright for

Here’s how to use it:

The guy talks about the wisdom of not buying cheap tools. I agree,
but unless you’re going to thread hole for a living…

Anyway, that’s what I’d do. I wish the head wouldn’t break and the
vide grip would just work, but it won’t.


Another alternative: after treating the screw with Liquid Wrench is
to tap it gently repeatedly with a small hammer. The vibrations help
the LW to penetrate.



An impact driver might do the trick. This is a specialized
screwdriver when struck with a hammer causes the bit to turn in the
loosening direction. The beauty is that the screwdriver bit is held
secure in the slot while turning due to the hammer blow. The bits
which fit an impact driver can be for just about any type of screw
head. It may be worth a try.

Good luck,
J Collier Metalsmith


A wise old ships engineer (who was used to working rusty screws) told
me that when a screw is stuck the best thing is to first tighten it a
little as this breaks the rust then usually it will unscrew - it
usually works for me. Failing that an imparked wrench will - you may
be able to borrow one.

Robin Key
Clavis Jewellery,
Aberdeen, Scotland


after umpteen antique motorcycle and car rebuilds I have had numerous
triumphs in the fight against a stuck screw, bolt, nut and or other
rusted part . The first rule is if possible determine and be sure
that the fastener is is right hand or left hand thread, second make
sure the screw driver tip fits the slot… EXACTLY… in the case of
screw driver use one that looks to big for the job… but still fits
the slot. if that does not work because the slot is stripped out use
vise grips to grip the screw head. Heat is always works the the magic
on nuts and bolts that are rusted together the rust seems to
disintegrate once it gets close to red heat allow to cool some and
ten then attempt to remove the fastener. Once the the screw twists
off you drill and use a srew extractor make sure the extractor is big
enough and that it is nice and warm they tend to be brittle out in
the garage during the winter months.

If you would like to avoid all of this and spend your time making
jewelry, find a good local machine shop drop it off and let them
do it for you. You may find it worthwhile unless of course bragging
rights & blogging about your experience is worth the busted knucles
that go along with winning these sorts of arguments with screws


Once the the screw twistsoff you drill and use a srew extractor
make sure the extractor is bigenough and that it is nice and warm
they tend to be brittle out inthe garage during the winter months.

I’ll mention an old mechanic’s trick - get a small, sharp cold chisel
and a hammer. Put the chisel on the perimeter of the screw head and
hit it to make a notch, and then tap it in a way that turns the
screw. Often that can break it loose, though it’s really a last
resort and, of course, destructive. More importantly, when this is
all done, take one of your screws to the hardware store, match it to
a nut to get the proper screw thread size, which might be metric, and
change them to hex-head bolts so you don’t have to do this again.

I'll mention an old mechanic's trick - get a small, sharp cold
chisel and a hammer. Put the chisel on the perimeter of the screw
head and hit it to make a notch, and then tap it in a way that
turns the screw. Often that can break it loose 

she can also drop the whole rolling mill off at the machine shop and
get back to making jewelry sooner than later