Workshop tip: Easy way to install threaded inserts
Attach a long bolt to the insert and it will drive in squarely.
Threaded inserts can be tricky to screw into place. When the thread first grabs, there is a tendency for the insert to tip sideways and enter at an angle. While special tools are available to help, a simple substitute is readily available. Find a bolt that’s at least 2 in. long and fits the insert, lock two nuts near the end, and thread the tip of the bolt into the insert. Then use a ratchet to drive the insert into place. The long bolt makes it easy to keep the insert plumb, and the ratchet does the rest.
—PAUL VANDEN BOUT, Susan, Va.
Illustrations by Dan Thornton
From Fine Woodworking issue #290
This is a good tip but sadly it did not work for me. I had some threaded inserts for a Maple desktop and tried this method. The threaded inserts just crumbled instead of driving into the wood. Tried the recommended pilot hole size. Tried one and two drill bit sizes larger, until really the threads did not have much to grip. Tried waxing the threads. Tried both brass and steel insert types. The nut on there just crushed the inserts. Tried the hex drive inserts (steel). They crumbled as well.
I recommend locating a bottoming tap with the same threads as the threaded insert outside. Drill a pilot hole and tap that.
Or just don't use threaded inserts on harder wood.
I have a wall poster which claims you can just drill and tap hardwood directly and use machine screws. I'll probably go with that method next time.
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