What is stronger: Hangar bolts or threaded inserts?

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Forum topic by BFBF posted 01-03-2022 02:37 PM 742 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 170 days

01-03-2022 02:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hangar bolt threaded insert drill press table

I am going to mount a 1.5” thick plywood drill press table to the stock metal table with either 3/8” hangar bolts or 18mm length threaded inserts. Any idea which is a better or stronger longterm fastener?

I am leaning towards hangar bolts because it seems to me it has a larger contact area and it would have a longer axis that could prevent shear/bending. I know I could double up the threaded inserts, but that might be tough to insert.

8 replies so far

View bugradx2's profile


420 posts in 1469 days

#1 posted 01-03-2022 03:32 PM

doubling up threaded inserts is completely possible but a royal pain in the rear when actually implementing it. Ask me how I know…

I would go towards the bolts and make sure to use some lock washers so there is a very low likelihood of anything coming loose. I’ve done a fair number of bolts and inserts for various projects (mostly stage stuff for my daughter’s ballet studio) and have come to decide that a bolt into a single insert is awesome for props. I’ll use a regular washer in this arrangement too. I don’t use lock washers because they’re not usually needed.

I like the old school bolts with regular washers, lock washers and nuts for shop furniture because it’s much hard to have them strip out. That said, I’ve had inserts pull out or back out on stage projects but they were under some funky applied loads. You could probably double up on using the insert with bolts/nuts but I think that would be more trouble than it’s really worth.

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

View Lazyman's profile


9557 posts in 2837 days

#2 posted 01-03-2022 04:00 PM

I would think that hanger bolt may be stronger simply because you have more thread actually engaged with the wood. An alternative might be to drill the depth of the insert to the diameter needed for insert (like a counter sink) and then below that a smaller diameter hole so that the bolt’s threads engage the wood to give it more support. I guess that depends upon how thick the wood is. The nice thing about the insert is that the head of the bold can be as low as possible while the hanger bolt may leave a little bit of thread above the nut.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View HapHazzard's profile


266 posts in 2318 days

#3 posted 01-03-2022 07:14 PM

Assuming the inserts are substantially bigger in diameter than the hanger bolts, the inserts would be stronger.

If you have any excess plywood, try screwing in a hanger bolt and an insert. Put a nut on the hanger bolt and a machine screw in the insert, then try ripping them out with a claw hammer. Or just ask yourself, which one is going to take more wood with it if it pulls out.

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

View LesB's profile


3457 posts in 4893 days

#4 posted 01-03-2022 07:33 PM

Thinking about this I’m wondering how much abuse and stress this drill press table is going to get?
I doubt in the long run either choice will make a difference.

To resist pull out stress, a recessed T nut on the top side might hold better.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Foghorn's profile


1519 posts in 836 days

#5 posted 01-03-2022 07:36 PM

Thinking about this I m wondering how much abuse and stress this drill press table is going to get?
I doubt in the long run either choice will make a difference.

To resist pull out stress, a recessed T nut on the top side might hold better.

- LesB

Or even recessed stove bolts like on mine.

-- Darrel

View JIMMIEM's profile


258 posts in 2291 days

#6 posted 01-03-2022 11:23 PM

I made something like this from WOODSMITH plans. Their plans used threaded inserts with hex head bolts. As others have said there won’t be a lot of stress going on…..... the wood table just sits on the metal table and just needs to be held in place.

View bondogaposis's profile


6179 posts in 3801 days

#7 posted 01-04-2022 01:48 PM

Probably hangar bolts would be stronger but you don’t need a lot strength to hold a wood table to a drill press. I’m sure inserts would be more than adequate. There is not a lot of stress involved. I used threaded inserts on mine and after 40 years, no problems.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BFBF's profile


10 posts in 170 days

#8 posted 01-04-2022 08:12 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I agree that it is a low stress fastening situation. But, I became curious as to which was a stronger solution and wanted to know if there was any general agreement on the comparison.

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