Hot answers tagged

77 votes
Accepted

If metal expands when heated, how does heating a bolt loosen it?

The answer is surprisingly simple: the bolt expands, but the nut expands more. What is happening here is good old thermal expansion: The bolt is heated and expands outwards, its radius increasing ...
67 votes

How can I get a bolt with no head out of my wall?

This is a job for vise grips. What I would do is file the bolt flat on two sides. Don't take off so much that you significantly compromise its strength - just flatten the threads. These flat sides ...
  • 7,674
48 votes
Accepted

How do I prevent the bolts in my snow blower rotor from breaking?

The "right kind of bolt" is a shear bolt. Specifically, the shear bolt your snowblower manufacturer specifies for that location, since not all shear bolts are the same. It is deliberately ...
  • 145k
39 votes

How do I remove this bolt from my bedframe?

Looks like an IKEA bed to me - something like the MALM or the HEREFOSS. You first remove the metal rail, then undo the nut. The manual depicts a wrench (ikea part 113453) but a regular metric 13mm ...
  • 549
35 votes

If metal expands when heated, how does heating a bolt loosen it?

The secret is constrained expansion. Here's some cruddy diagrams to help explain how it works. Bolt stuck in a hole When the bolt is heated, it expands. Since the shaft of the bolt is ...
  • 129k
31 votes
Accepted

What is this attaching my toilet seat and how can I unscrew it?

That is called a blind jack nut, jack nut, blind collapsing nut, etc. They are typically used when you don't have access to and/or don't have the tools to hold onto a nut on the backside of whatever ...
30 votes
Accepted

What is the right tool for old, rusty, flat cross head bolts?

Looking at the condition of the nut and the minimal profile of the head, I'm afraid the better question may be "how do I get these out with minimal damage to the wood?" I'd take a drill to ...
  • 21.1k
28 votes

If metal expands when heated, how does heating a bolt loosen it?

The actual reason this usually works is that rust is significantly larger than the steel it's rusted from, which is why the bolt is stuck in the first place. In some other instances the reason heat ...
  • 145k
26 votes

How can I get a bolt with no head out of my wall?

Say you try one of the other proposed approaches in the other answers and the screw is just stubborn and more of the shaft keeps snapping off... Consider that you might not need to remove the screw at ...
24 votes

Turning a hard to access nut?

A Crowfoot Wrench would work nicely. A 10 piece set of these is only $15.00
21 votes

How to prevent bolts from rusting and sticking in the toilet tank?

The best solution is to purchase a new set of bolts that are made of stainless steel or brass. Both will not rust the same way that a iron or steel bolt will. They will cost a little bit more but will ...
  • 62k
20 votes
Accepted

How can I get a bolt with no head out of my wall?

I would just clamp my drill's chuck on that puppy and spin it out.
  • 109k
19 votes

What ikea screwdriver type is this?

It is called a "hex key", "Allen key", or "Allen wrench". You can also find socket wrench tools with this hexagonal drive shape. Hex key socket wrenches are almost always stronger than Allen keys, ...
19 votes

How can I cut off the rusted closet bolts holding my toilet?

Bolt cutters are not really the best tool for cutting off rusted closet bolts. I usually use a "mini-hack" saw:
  • 33.6k
18 votes

How can I cut off the rusted closet bolts holding my toilet?

I would caution against using any bolt cutters on the toilet hold down bolts. The reason being that they typically will apply a significant pressure against the porcelain base of the stool and crack ...
  • 62k
18 votes

What is the right tool for old, rusty, flat cross head bolts?

I would use a small grinder ( Dremel) with a cut-off wheel and cut the nuts off.
  • 7,801
17 votes
Accepted

Fix drywall that lost strength due to hanging curtain rod

As you have found out, curtain rod supports do not do well hanging from plaster anchors. They really should be attached to studs, but where that is impossible, toggle anchors give you a chance at ...
  • 33.2k
17 votes

How do I use threaded inserts?

You need to pre-drill a large but shallow hole of the correct depth, and use the bit size recommended by the manufacturer for the material you are setting those into. Too small and you'll crack the ...
16 votes
Accepted

What kind of bolt is this?

This is a pop rivet, not a bolt. It can only be removed destructively. Drill out the center with a drill bit meant for metal (as opposed to a brad point bit, for instance) until the flange come off. ...
  • 886
16 votes

Turning a hard to access nut?

I'm a gas fitter and service tech. My bag has the tools to do the job. Sometimes these tight spots require a bit of a turn with one tool and a bit of a turn with another. A lot of the available arc ...
  • 6,126
16 votes
Accepted

Identify this screw head (was: Security Torx)

This is a tamper proof torx screw. There are torx bits with a hole in the center that will remove them, if you are bold you can try smacking the center pin with a punch at an angle (small ones usually ...
  • 100k
16 votes

How do I remove this bolt from my bedframe?

Remove the metal rail. In the opening, you now have enough room to insert an open-end wrench. The wrench has a slight angular offset. Push down on the wrench as far as it goes, remove it, flip it ...
15 votes

Turning a hard to access nut?

What you may be overlooking, or what may not be present on your wrench, is the the open wrench is not square to the shaft. It is canted by 1/24 of a circle (15 degrees). As a result, there's a 30 ...
15 votes

Turning a hard to access nut?

The best tool I have found for the type of application you are working with is a 12-point split-box wrench. These are also available in a 6-point design. (Picture Source: http://constructionmanuals....
  • 62k
15 votes
Accepted

What is the name of this Allen-head furniture fastener?

While difficult to tell for sure I think it is an E-Z Lok threaded insert. It consists of a course threaded screw that is inserted into the wood. A pilot hole is drilled and the insert is screwed in ...
  • 10.9k
15 votes

How can I get a bolt with no head out of my wall?

Another possible strategy; if you can get 2 nuts onto the threaded bar and turn them against each other they will practically lock into each other, this should allow you then to use a regular spanner, ...
  • 259
14 votes
Accepted

What's this bolt head type and how can I open it?

It looks like a spanner tamper-proof security bolt. Either buy a set of tamper-proof security bits, or modify a cheap standard slotted screwdriver with a dremel tool. Here is a cheap set: https://www....
  • 1,919
14 votes
Accepted

Does the outer diameter of 4.78 indicate an M4 or an M5 bolt?

If it's metric, it's M5, of a poor fit class (or with measurement error contributing) meaning the thread fit is somewhat loose compared to a better fit class - common for non-critical hardware where &...
  • 145k
13 votes

How to bolt something to a wood member when can't access the back side and a carriage bolt won't do

You could install a few of these three prong tee nuts on the back of your board before it's attached to your studs and then bolt the inverter from the front. I'm curious why you'd "feel better" with ...
  • 60.4k
12 votes

If metal expands when heated, how does heating a bolt loosen it?

Metal arranged in a ring expands outward when heated. Imagine a ring of thin wire being heated--it expands primarily along its length, making both the inner and outer diameters larger. The same occurs ...
  • 109k

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