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Removing handrails

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I need to remove some wood handrails from my low roof/deck so the edge flashing can be fixed. The EPDM has separated from the flashing and water is getting into the wall cavity. The 2x6 are lag screwed into something in the wall. Screwed to these 2x6s, there are 6x6 wood posts that the handrails and other framing members are connected to. My problem is that I have/want to separate the 6x6s from the 2x6s. The two are tied together with Phillips head wood screws that have been in place for over 20 years and been painted over several times. I need to remove the paint from the screws so I can get the drill bit in solid to take them out and not strip the heads. Any idea of what sort of solvent to use? I've out there with Goof-off and an awl trying to get the paint out.

If I can't separate the two, my plan B is to take the handrails down another way that involves dissembling just about all the pieces and reassembling later.

*Drew Morris, PE*| /Project Engineer/
BBFM Engineers, Inc. <>
510 L Street, Suite 200 | Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Ph: (907)274-2236 | Fax: (907)274-2520 | Web:

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