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Threaded Insert In Wood Experience


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I'm thinking of using threaded inserts in pine to hold down a bench top drill press, vise, etc. (old Wilton bullet, old craftsmen drillpress, ie heavy)

I'm adding a sacrificial top to a table, 2x lumber. The idea is that I can add/reposition as needed with the inserts. I would normally counter sink a bolt/washer on the underside but I don't want to pull everything if I move or add something.

I'm looking for some first hand experience with them, do you think it would work? I realize there will be limitations, I'm just looking to cover most of my use which will be light to moderate. When needed I'll move to a beefier base.

Any help is appreciated, alternative suggestions too. Thanks, ralph


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I recon coach bolts beats thread inserts for holding power.

Anything i have bolted to a wooden bench is either coach bolts or through bolts.

I have put some relativly heavey stuff on thread inserts for wood so maybe though.

What size were you thinking ?


Bill Gruby

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The Blind Nuts are the better choice for your application. Threaded inserts can and will pull out if oil gets to them.

"Billy G"


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I have used threaded inserts many times for various applications. The larger sized ones that take a 3/8-16 bolt (MMC # 90192A132), should work fine in 2x lumber. The trick is getting them to thread square into the wood. I make jigs by drilling a couple of holes through square blocks of wood, one the diameter needed for the insert hole and one the that will just clear the insert threads. Use the first block to guide your drill and the second to guide the insert as you thread it in. For permanent installation, remove the insert and coat the threads with Gorilla Glue or Epoxy then reinstall them.


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For mounting a drill press, the threaded inserts should work well. You would not expect to put a tensile load on the inserts. It will primarily be preventing the press from shifting position. For added strength, you could install the inserts from the bottom side. If installing from the top, +1 one the Gorilla Glue/epoxy.

I would not personally not use this method for mounting a vise however.



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I've screwed grinders, table top drill presses and band saws to 2x lumber with lag screws and never had one come loose. You can remove them, replace them in the same holes at a later date, or just drill new ones for future moves. It seems to me that using inserts would just complicate things if you wanted to change the arrangements.

T-nuts are great, and very strong. I use them a lot. But, you have to access the bottom side of the bench top if you want to change the mounting positions.


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Update on using threaded inserts to position large items on workbench.

I just built a new bench so I have moved on to version 2.0 of the system. It's just a 3/4 plywood top with screwed stringers in the both the X and Y direction. I put the inserts in from the top and any piece of equipment is attached to a plywood base with carriage bolts, the securing bolt passes through the plywood base and into the insert. I dropped inserts in the bench in three locations but can add more if needed. All inserts are spaced 8in apart in a square or two squares to form a rectangle so that all equipment can utilize a mounting location.

The point for this is my work space is limited and diverse. This system allows me to position tools for the job and free up bench space when they are not needed. The drill press and Wilton vise can get easily moved around on the bench. My roller press and 1ton arbor press go in a cabinet when not being used. The inserts give me plenty of holding power for the equipment, even the vise. I'm sure any insert could be made to fail in the plywood top, a 5 foot pipe as a cheater in the vise would likely do it. If I needed stronger t-nuts from the underside would be up to the task with the 3/4 plywood.

I used polyurethane on the top so in an attempt to protect it and make things slid easier I added polyethylene to be a sliding surface for the tools. Just some place mats as I couldn't find the flexible cutting boards in HDPE at the Meijers. This is all overkill and more for the I made it as envisioned, but it works as intended.
The first version used 2 by material and worked well enough. I had to make extra large clearance holes in the tools base to accommodate seasonal changes to get things to line up.

I used softwood inserts for 3/8 bolts. The place mats were adhered with 3M super77.


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Forget inserts and other added expenses.

Gravity is here and you are not using excessive force so most actions on the mounts are latteral.

If you want it to look good then there are different finishes available but the best fastener for this application is a lag bolt.

But do it correctly as the lag bolt has a taper thread at start and shank near head often.

Most important is for your application think like steel and drill and tapping.

The hole if too small will stress the wood and if too large will not be strong either.

Make a drill guide by drilling and tapping a hole in a flat plate fir say a 5/8 bolt.

Place bolt in lathe and drill hole size of pilot so now you have handy drill guide to make good holes that are not crooked.

When you move a tool then some glue and a Dowell tapped into the hole leaves no trace.

The lag bolt will be plenty strong.

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