How to Install Carriage Bolts in Metal

Carriage bolts are useful fasteners for metal and woodworking projects. The bolts are also known as plow bolts and are usually made of steel. They have a square spine and domed head. This ensures that the bolt doesn’t turn while you tighten the nut. The design of the bolt also allows you to tighten the bolt with just one tool. In most cases, an adjustable wrench will help you do the job well. The bolts enable you to make a secure fit in a work-piece which promotes safety. This makes plow bolts some of the most reliable for various jobs. A project may come along that requires you to install the bolts in metal. Below is a guide that shows you how to do the job properly.

Materials Needed

  • Carriage bolts
  • Nuts
  • Washers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Variable speed drill
  • Drill bits
  • Cutting fluid
  • Marker
  • Safety goggles
  • Acetone
  • Clean rag

Step 1 – Measurements

It is vital that you select a drill bit that matches the size of carriage bolt you intend to install in the metal. A mismatch will cause you frustration and waste much of your time. Measure one side of the bolt with a tape measure. Select a drill bit of the same measurement.

Step 2 – Attach Drill Bit

Apply some cutting fluid around the drill bit. This will ensure smooth operations when you drill. Install the drill bit into your speed drill.

Step 3 – Mark the Drill Spot

Identify the area where you intend to insert the bolt. Mark the spot so that you can work more accurately and efficiently.

Step 4 – Drill a Hole

Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from small bits of metal that could fly into your face. Position your speed drill with the attached drill bit on the marked spot. Squeeze the trigger to begin excavation through the metal. It is best to drill at a slower speed due to the hard nature of metal. If you drill at high speed, bits of metal could fly everywhere and cause you injuries. Maintain a steady pace as you drill until the drill bit pierces through the metal on the other side.

Step 5 – Clean

It helps if you clean out the hole you’ve just drilled. This will clear small bits of debris from within. It leaves you with a clean surface which allows you to install the bolt more effectively. Dampen a rag with some acetone. Fold the rag so that it forms into a slim pen-like shape. Insert the damp rag inside the hole and clean it all round.

Step 6 – Install Bolt

Slip the threaded end of the bolt into the hole until the dome-shaped head touches the metal. The threaded end should emerge from the other end of the hole.

Step 7 – Install Washer and Nut

Thread a washer and nut at the end of the carriage bolt. Use your fingers to spin the nut in a clockwise direction against the washer.

Step 8 – Tighten with Adjustable Wrench

Use your wrench to firmly tighten the nut on the bolt. Repeat the outlined steps for any other bolts that you need to install into the metal work-piece.