handyman set screwA handyman runs into set screws often, but just what is a set screw? A set screw is a small mechanical part that spends most of its life hidden from view. Pretty much the only time you see it is when you remove it. Think of a regular screw only without the head on it. If you see a small hole in, for example, a faucet handle, there is probably a set screw in there.

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As I said, set screws stay out of sight, and they are sometimes hard to find, especially when you need to. You will find set screws that hold on faucet handles, toilet paper holders and towel bars, tub spouts, etc. You probably don’t even notice the holes where the set screws are because they are designed to be inconspicuous. For faucet handles, look at the rear of the handle. For toilet paper holders and towel bars, you will find them on the bottom of the holder, and for tub spouts you will find them underneath the spout. The tub spout is particularly challenging because you practically have to stand on your head to see it (or use a mirror).

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Removing them takes either a small Allen wrench or standard screwdriver (like the eyeglass type). If you can see the head of the set screw with a flashlight, great, but otherwise it is a process of “feeling” for the set screw.

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