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Removing old 2-screw handles

Consider the handle above, which has clearly been on that pan for quite some time.  You can see that lots of grease has crept between the handles over time, and gotten baked on by the heat of stoves.  Such crud makes it very had to get old handles off sometimes, and these are by no means anywhere near the worst I have seen.  Additionally, despite being stainless steel, the screws and barrel nuts are known to rust together, or get stuck on with thick grease.

Our own recommendation for the removal of suck stubborn handles prior to replacement has been to simply break the handles off if they won’t come off by gentler methods.

Reader Phil has some better suggestions on this topic.

I’ve been restoring pre-1968 revere ware so i can have a set of amazing cookware, without spending thousands of dollars. I have been using a few tricks to get seized handle screws out, without destroying the handles completely.

#1. Use heat. I use a stick type soldering iron, tinned so you get good heat transfer to the nut and bolt sections of the handle hardware. The solder wont stick to the hardware because its not fluxed, but it will heat it up and boil any grease holding the hardware together. Also if metallic corrosion is present it will expand the hardware to hopefully free it up.

#2. While hot, use a precision flat tip screwdriver (similar to eye glasses screwdriver) to wedge between the ‘head’ of the nut hardware part and the handle hole it sits in, and lightly turn the precision screwdriver to hold the nut section, while using a standard size screwdriver to turn the bolt section of the hardware and separate the two.

If done correctly, you can save the handle without damaging it, and be able to inspect and clean the ‘tang’ (the metal that the handle bolts to). Be warned though, ive removed handles that appeared good on the outside, only to find the inside was overheated and dish-washered numerous times and the Bakelite was brittle and cracked on the inside. If that’s the case, buy new handles from RevereWareParts.

We certainly appreciate the last part.  🙂

5 Responses to Removing old 2-screw handles

  1. Tyler Hawkins December 10, 2018 at 5:52 pm #

    I found a really simple way that won’t damage the handle and is pretty quick and easy. I turn the pot or skillet sideways in the freezer and place the handle on a box so it will rest horizontally. I then put a few drops of water over the female end of the screw assembly (end without a screw slot) making sure the water pools over the head of the screw and doesn’t run off. Then I allow the water to freeze completely solid (about 15-20 mins). After the water is frozen just turn the other end of the screw and if the ice holds the female end of the screw in place it will allow you to turn the screw. This has worked for me on several occasions for screws that will turn freely but both sides turn together, if your screw won’t turn at all then this won’t work. You should also be careful with the handle right after taking it out of the freezer as I would imagine the severe cold may make the Bakelite more brittle, it also would probably not be a good idea to shock it with hot water.

    • RevereWareParts December 11, 2018 at 2:48 am #


      • Kathy April 26, 2021 at 7:40 pm #

        I am trying that method right now! I guess I will see how it works tomorrow

        • Kathy April 27, 2021 at 7:45 pm #

          There was a 10” skillet that was being quite stubborn about releasing the bolt. It was one of those where both of them just turned, and there was no way to hold the nut. I put that 10” skillet in the freezer with a tiny part of an ice cube on top of the nut side. I used the hatch green chili’s to prop it up level on its side against the side of the freezer, and went to sleep. I got up and went to work this morning, and didn’t think about it until I had been home for an hour or so. I took it out, and YES! Both of them came easily loose with just the screwdriver. You are a genius! Thank you

  2. Kathy April 26, 2021 at 7:38 pm #

    If one half is already broken (or I broke it trying to get it apart), I can usually get hold of the nut portion with pliers, and a screwdriver on the screw side, and get them loose. I always save the unbroken halves, because sooner or later, it will match up to another half that has the opposite side broken. I try to save the hardware, too, by soaking it in WD-40, and polishing the ends. I have also bought several replacement handles from Revere Ware Parts, and I thank them for all the tips! I have had pretty good luck with polishing the handles, similar to how you would polish a soft metal. I can send you some pictures, if you like.

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