dw's shop tips #2: Threaded inserts? Really.

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Blog entry by Don W posted 07-03-2011 02:30 PM 3319 reads 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: 3-4-5 rule. Part 2 of dw's shop tips series Part 3: Pilot hole without a drill bit. »

All of the projects and plans you see that use a threaded bolt for adjustment or tightening calls for inserts. I never have an insert when I need one and I’m not great for planning projects ahead of time. In most hardwood, just threading the wood will suffice. Choose a drill bit one size smaller than (about 1/16”) the size of the bolt or screw. If in doubt, go small (within reason). You can then thread as if you would any metal piece, but cutting oil isn’t required.

Don’t have a tap and die set? Take a bolt or screw the same size and with a file (use a triangular file or the corner of a square) cut a groove perpendicular to the threads. Use this for threading.

I have even just forced the bolt into a slightly smaller hole, but this tend to provide a little to much tightness for some applications.

Worst case you find out the wood will not hold (this has never happened to me) and you add an insert. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Hope it helps

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

4 comments so far

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3712 days

#1 posted 07-03-2011 03:42 PM

I like the “insta tap” trick, that’s pretty cool.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Bluepine38's profile


3390 posts in 4142 days

#2 posted 07-03-2011 05:53 PM

Good idea on the tap, I find that it works better if you file 3 or 4 equally spaced notches in the bolt. I know
what you mean about not having an insert, so before I retired from my job at the Fasteners store, I ordered
about 100 of each size I might need so I would have them when i needed them, but I am still trying to
master the cutting of wooden threads, no hurry, have plenty of time now.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View ChuckM's profile


665 posts in 4724 days

#3 posted 07-04-2011 09:45 PM

For a recent project ( ), I used one of these:,41306

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5154 days

#4 posted 07-04-2011 09:53 PM

Those are really nice Chuck.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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