Repair Stripped Nuts and Bolts

When it comes to screws and bolts, one of the inevitable things that would happen would be for the bolts to lose its threads, brought about by either constant wear and tear, loosening and tightening, as well as rusting due to exposure to open air, as well as water with plenty of dissolved oxygen. The former two would cause the threads of the bolt or screw to grow thinner, and therefore not fit properly or tightly in the hole. The latter, or the exposure to rust, on the other hand, would call for rethreading as the rust would cause the threads to be shallower, as rust may possibly get thicker as time goes by.


Any of these are not just undesirable, but are potentially damaging to the structure or device as well. It’s common knowledge that bolts normally hold structures together, and weak, or unfit bolts would most definitely result to structural instability, which in turn could be a source of danger among people, as structures could pretty much collapse and be destroyed due to instability.

While one of the most popular means to solve this problem is to replace the bolts, chances are, bolts are not available at all times of the day. If there are no bolts to buy, then some of the best means in order for you to fix these issues is to rethread a bolt. While this may seem cumbersome and difficult, the reality is, you need only a few items to get this going, and this tutorial would teach you how.

Before you begin rethreading your damaged bolt, make it a point to secure the following materials.

Lubricating Oil - Reduce Friction In Rusty Hole

When it comes to rusty nuts, bolts, and screws, some people would most definitely be tempted to give the nut go with the wrench. This is one thing that you should avoid, however, given that this would be very hard to do so, as rust tends to tighten the area and cause difficulty in doing so.

The friction should be reduced with the help of some lubricating oil. There are various lubricating oils you could use for this particular purpose, one of which is the WD 40 Variety, which works best for nuts, bolts, and screws installed near electronic components.

 rethreading kit

rethreading kit

If you wish to rethread in the most accurate means as possible, then you ought to be able to secure a rethreading kit (tap and die set) at home. Most of these kits come in various dimensions. This is so that as many lengths and depths for threads would be covered.

Some of the things you may find in the rethreading kit include the metal die or file, as well as a set of rethreading taps. The components of these kits are usually made of stainless steel and are used in conjunction with other tools.

Reset the threads with a thread file before screwing on the rethreading die.

I had a detailed review about tap and die set that you will need for your repair DIY projects:

Wrench Set

using wrench set for your repair DIY

wrench - use this tool for rethreading a bolt

One cannot do any form of rethreading without having a wrench around. The reason for this is because these wrenches help to effectively turn the nut, screw, or bolt that needs to be rethreaded in some way.

Wrenches could be two types.

They could either come in sets with different points corresponding to nuts and bolts, and some also have adjustable openings that make for a much versatile and convenient kind of wrench.

If you wish for a rigid, more specific job, then you may opt for the former, but if you don’t want to bring multiple wrenches around, then you might as well opt for the latter.

Vise - A Necessary Tool To Rethead A Bolt

vise for affixing

vise for affixing a bolt

A vise is a tool with “jaws” that help to secure any object, holding it in place. In order for you to properly use the threading file, it is best for you to keep the bolt and screw in place. This is because it has to be kept as perfectly perpendicular as possible with the thread file, and it is also needed to facilitate the movement of the thread die, keeping your other hand free, whichever it is that you decide on using. These vises are usually affixed to a solid surface and are used in several applications.

Step By Step to Thread Damaged Bolts and Nuts

Broken threads are indeed, a dangerous thing to make use of in various structures as these would cause the bolts to not be secured well or tightly on the place in which it is used. This would, if left unnoticed result to loose bolts that would eventually result to uneven load distribution, and eventually, structural failure and weakness. Take note of the following steps in rethreading a stripped bolt in order for you to avoid this from happening:


Apply Lubricating Oil

Apply lubricating oil to bolt area

Given that most of the bolts that need rethreading are rusty in nature, it is hard to remove them. Before you begin rethreading of any nature, it is most definitely important for you to loosen the area up first. Ideally, it is best that you apply the Lubricating Oil of your choice on the area at least 12 hours before any work gets done. By this time, much of the oil would have already seeped through the crevices. Hence the un-screwing would be a significantly easier job.


Steadily Remove Using the Wrench

Once the area has already been well-lubricated, this is now the ideal time for you to begin loosening the wrench up. Always remember the typical conventions for screws, tighten to the right, loosen to the left. Also, make it a point to turn things as slowly as you could.


Affix the Bolt to the Vise

a vise

affix the bolt to the vise

Once the previous step has been accomplished, the next thing you have to do is affix the bolt to the vise. This would allow you to properly make use of the threading apparatus of your choice, given that proper rethreading entails as exact proportions, and in order for you to get the right proportions, you ought to affix the bolt to as stable of a position as possible.


Use the Apparatus of Your Choice from the Tap and Die set

using tap and die set

thread cutting with a vise

As previously mentioned, there are 2 choices you could choose from when it comes to rethread. You could either make use of the rethreading file or the rethreading die. In using both, you have to make sure that it is kept as perpendicular as possible The rethreading die is much easier to use, given that you simply have to turn it all the way to the topmost threads.

Clean the threads with a wire brush

Clean the threads on the bolt with a wire brush


Clean the Nut

Clean the nut with a rethreading tap

Rethreading Taps are made to cleanse the corresponding nut from the accumulated rust. To use, simply affix the nut to the threaded part of the tap and slowly turn with the wrench. Make sure that it’s lubricated well enough whenever you do so, given that rusty nuts would be difficult to rotate around the tap.


Return the Bolt Back

thread pitch gauge tools

check thread pitch with thread pitch gauge

Once the threads have been cleansed from all of the rust, you can now return it to its original slot, where its fitting would return to being normal.

Clearer illustrations could be found on this video:


Rethreading your damaged nuts and bolts is one which is indeed, important, and would work best whenever there are no other spare ones around. Also, these are economical in nature, given that you would not need to buy a brand new set altogether. This cuts costs and helps to reduce the overall waste of metal in the environment.

When it comes to threading, accuracy is key, especially if you’re using a file. You have to make sure that the file is position as perpendicular to the bolt as possible because only through this means are you able to get the job done in the best way possible.

Also, don’t forget to bring some rags to the workplace, as in every job that is to be done, you would need cleanliness. Moreover, rags are important as they would most definitely help in order for the entire bolt to keep clean. Most importantly, you ought to know when rethreading is still possible, and when would bolts have to be changed altogether.

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