Reply by Kazooman

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Posted on A Bolt Mystery

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1333 posts in 2401 days

#1 posted 12-18-2018 10:16 PM

I am not an expert when it comes to nuts and bolts, but I think you might have an issue with galling. Basically the pressure exerted by tightening the bolt can virtually weld the threads together. This is more of a problem with stainless steel bolts than plain old vanilla carbon steel bolts. I have no way of knowing if this is what actually happened to you, but it is a possibility.

Stainless steel is great for situations where corrosion is anticipated, but it shouldn’t be necessary for a workbench. As pretty as it looks, SS is not always the best choice. Same goes for wood screws. Some SS versions are easier to shear right off than other metals.

Here is a Fastenal reference on fasteners. Check out the discussion on galling starting on page 6.

Go to the big box store and purchase whatever bolts they have in the bins. They will work just fine for your bench.

Note added later: As far as the wood screws go, I just recalled what happened when my contractor was trying to install the custom kitchen cabinets we had built for us. The frames were all solid maple. They were trying to fasten pairs of side by side cabinets by drilling pilot holes and running in some nice stainless steel screws. They kept shearing the heads off the screws. I recalled a document I had from the McFeeley screw company that compared the shear strength of various screw materials. Stainless steel was not the best choice. The installers switched screws and had no more problems.

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