I'm mounting a pull-up bar (see image below) by means of 3/8" lag screws in wooden studs. I messed up one of the top holes (missed the center of the stud - the bolt went in partially & then veered off to the side significantly). I'd like to re-mount the bar as close to its original vertical position as possible. What's the nearest vertical distance from the previous lag bolt holes that would be safe to put new ones? It's a load-bearing (exterior) wall, and the bar extends out 33" from the wall, so it will have significant pull-out force.

(If I move the bar up significantly higher, it will be difficult to reach for the shorter people in the house; if I move it significantly lower, my feet will hit the ground. Thus, as close to its previous location as possible - without compromising the integrity of the stud - would be ideal).

enter image description here

  • Do you have to move it at all? If all the remaining bolts went in OK, perhaps you could just relocate the bad hole while keeping the rest in place. Which of the six holes shown in the picture is the bad one?
    – TooTea
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:14
  • Yeah, I should move it. It was the top hole - the most important load-bearing one - and the bolt is at a significant angle, so it's barely in the stud. Wouldn't feel safe leaving it like that. (Also, I'd only installed one of the two brackets - so the other side will have all fresh holes).
    – J23
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:15
  • OK. I was hoping for one of the bottom ones. Yes, if it's one of the top holes, you absolutely need the bolts to be flawless as they will be under significant tension. The bottom two are only under shear loads which even a badly angled bolt could handle just fine.
    – TooTea
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:22
  • Right. So how far do you think I need to move it vertically? As little as possible, while still being a definitely-safe distance from the hole/edge-compromise left by the original bolt.
    – J23
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:23

1 Answer 1


It really depends on your technique. The stud doesn't care. Plenty of them have knots bigger. If you can leave even half the hole diameter between the new and old holes it'll be virtually as strong as otherwise.

Mount the bracket using other holes, then drill the new hole. The steel will prevent your bit from dropping into the original hole.

Of course, you can epoxy a dowel (even hand-carved from scrap) into the hole and start over at any location.

  • So having that original hole right next to it - even if the bolt took out part of the side of the stud - isn't going to weaken the stud at all? I can easily go 3/4" away, I was thinking even that might be too close. Not for fear of it dropping into the original, just for fear of weakening the stud. (I read somewhere that you should have at least 2-5x the hole's diameter between successive holes, depending on force - and this thing will have a lot of force).
    – J23
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:37
  • 1
    That might be true if you're building an airplane. You aren't going to weaken a stud enough to come close to causing structural problems. One stud is part of a system, not a link in a chain. As I said, many studs have bigger knots than what you're talking about here. Don't worry about it.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:53
  • Well, not weaken it enough to cause structural problems to the house overall - but most studs also aren't supporting 50% of a pull-up bar that's sticking out 3 feet & experiencing significant downward forces (i.e. kipping muscle-ups, weighted pull-ups). So my concern wasn't as much its integrity re: the house's overall structure, but its integrity re: being one of only two points of support for the bar. Or am I still overthinking it?
    – J23
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:57
  • You are. Even if you have just drywall on both faces of the wall, or if it's a garage wall with sheathing on just one side, that sheathing transfers a lot of the load to adjacent studs and the top and bottom wall plates. You could replace the studs with 1x4s and still be fine. If this is a completely bare stud situation, run a couple boards horizontally to tie things together and call it good.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 21:06
  • It's actually an exterior wall, so I'm drilling through 0.75" of stucco before getting to the studs :)
    – J23
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 21:10

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