How to Choose the Right Bolt

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Bolts are commonly used to fasten things together. What type of bolt you should use depends on the job at hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Hex Lag Bolts
  • Carriage Bolts
  • Combination Wrench Sets
  • Crescent Wrenches
  • Machine Bolts
  • Machine Screws
  • Stove Bolts
  • Consider a lag bolt for heavy-duty fastening of wood to wood or metal to wood.

  • Use machine bolts and machine screws for metal work. Machine bolts have a hexagonal or square head; machine screws have a slotted head.

  • Join metals with a stove bolt. This bolt also has a slotted head.

  • Fasten wood objects with a carriage bolt. This type has a round head with no slot and is sunk up to the "shoulder," a squared-off part on the shank that prevents the bolt from turning once it's in the wood.

  • Cut a piece of all thread, or threaded rod, to the length you need if you can't find a long enough bolt. Bolts run up to 6 inches long, whereas all thread comes in 3-foot lengths.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bolts are described in terms of diameter, pitch and length. A 1/2-by-20-by-1 bolt is 1/2 inch around, has 20 threads per inch (pitch), and is 1 inch long.
  • Bolts are typically used with washers and nuts.

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