Bolting woodwork

Hand tools
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Micrometer caliper
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Cutting threads
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Nuts & bolts

Bolting woodwork
Cutting woodwork
Finishing woodwork
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Jointing woodwork
Layout & testing
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Lumber & lumbering
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Nails for woodwork
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Structure of wood
Try square usage

A bolt is an iron or steel rod, with sides parallel throughout its length, with a head at one end and a thread cut part way along its length from the other end. The thread is cut to receive a nut. Bolts are used when the holding power of nails or screws would not be sufficient.

Unlike nails and screws, bolts do not have to depend on friction and cell structure for their holding power, for the force which holds the stock together is positive. The bolts most commonly used by the woodworker are stove bolts and carriage bolts.

Stove bolts

Stove bolts, like wood screws, are made with round or flat heads, slotted for a screwdriver. They range in sizes from 3/8” to 6" in length and from 1/8" to 1/2" in diameter.

When using stove bolts, a clearance hole must be bored through both members that are to be joined. The diameter of the bit used to bore the hole should be equivalent to that of the bolt. When a flathead stove bolt is used, the clearance hole must be countersunk.

A stove bolt should be long enough to allow at least 3/8" of the threaded portion to project beyond the hole. The nut is screwed on the projecting end of the bolt, then tightened by the use of a screwdriver placed in the slotted head. If it should be necessary to hold the nut securely while it is being tightened, a wrench of the proper size should be used.

Carriage bolts

The carriage bolt is one form of bolt designed specifically for wood. The square section, under the head, is forced into the wood, preventing the bolt from turning as the nut is tightened. Carriage bolts range from 3/4" to 20" in length and from 3/16” to 3/4" in diameter.

The use of a carriage bolt requires the boring of a clearance hole through both members. The diameter of the hole should be equivalent to that of the bolt. The length of the bolt should be great enough to allow at least 5/8" to project beyond the members that are being joined together.

When applying the bolt, it is placed in the hole and driven in with a few hammer blows on the head to force the square section into the wood. A washer is placed over the projecting end of the bolt before applying the nut. The washer should have a hole of the same diameter as the bolt. The nut is tightened with a wrench.