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Rusted bolts in woodwork

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  1. #1
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    Default Rusted bolts in woodwork

    I have an wooden pergola with steel bolts to connect the beams. The bolts and nuts have rusted severely. So much, that when I attempted to remove one, the bolt snapped because it was rusted. The snapped bolt is stuck in the wood.

    Does anybody have some good tips how best to remove such rusted bolts from the woodwork? Without, off course, damaging the wood.

    Paul
    Syndey

  2. #2
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    Heat. If you heat up the bolt it will singe the surrounding wood and become easier to remove. Not too sure how you will go with removing the rest of the nuts though. Some WD40? and a bit more heat perhaps ...

    Oh, and to apply heat, get one of those cheap soldering irons, plug it in, and hold it against the end of the bolt. Alternately, get a battery charger and clip a crocodile to each end of the bolt, but not for very long as it heats up remarkably quickly!
    Last edited by Black Cat; 28th Aug 2011 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Forgetfulness

  3. #3
    Soldiers Earned Your Right To Free Speech watson's Avatar
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    Not too sure about the heat bit...if you wish to retain the wood bits nicely.
    Maybe a Punch with a bit of percussive maintenance.
    All IMHO.

  4. #4
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    I'd be drilling it out, stepping up the bits, but if it's your first post and you're asking this you mightn't be up for getting it straight through the bolt.

    Failing that you could give an easy-out a go- just drill a pilot hole, insert and twist. It's hard to recommend without seeing the wood/bolt.

    Blackcat's advice would be ok to do first before trying the easy-out for expanding the bolt slightly to hopefully compress the wood (without burning it if you want the wood untouched). I know it works a treat metal/metal, can't remember trying it metal/wood.

    Cheers,
    Garth

  5. #5
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    Bloody big hammer and a long HT bolt one size smaller. just give them a big smack if the heads break off and drive them out. On second thoughts secure the beams first; you don'y want them dropping down when the bolts are removed

  6. #6
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    What Moondog says except a regular size hammer is more than enough Each post should have two bolts, remove and replace one only at a time.

    WD40 on the rest wait a couple of hours then try them, if they break repeat as above

    Replace with gal of course

  7. #7
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    Or maybe something a bit more evaporative that won't stain.

    And seriously Paul- brace the thing esp. if it's freestanding.
    If a bolt has rusted/snapped, just make sure wood, base etc will take some hammering without damaging the integrity.

    If not, get your wife outside with the cam;
    You may win a prize...
    Last edited by woodhunt; 29th Aug 2011 at 01:39 PM. Reason: Funniest home video advice

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldie1 View Post
    What Moondog says except a regular size hammer is more than enough Each post should have two bolts, remove and replace one only at a time.

    WD40 on the rest wait a couple of hours then try them, if they break repeat as above

    Replace with gal of course
    I like BIG hammers, gives a great feeling of power when belting nails in LOL

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moondog55 View Post
    I like BIG hammers, gives a great feeling of power when belting nails in LOL
    Its not the size thats important its what you do with what you got

  10. #10
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    Thank you all for your valuable (and humoristic) comments! The bolt that I removed snapped off. I then poked the bolt in the wood with a screwdriver and found that the bolt was falling apart from corrosion. I will go for the hammer solution (with bracing) using a bolt one size smaller. I am afraid I can't work too much with heat as I am afraid I will damage the wood.

    Paul

  11. #11
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    I concur with the sacrificial bolt and hammer, but I'd like to add a tip (depending on how your accuracy is with the hammer). I once was trying to remove the centre hanger bolt from a caravan chassis in much the same way, pin punch and club hammer. However, one of my blows glanced off the pin punch and slammed two fingers into the caravan chassis.

    So, from then on, I've always used a pair of vice grips to hold the pin punch, or bolt, if I know I'm going to be putting a bit of effort in the hammer blows.

    Your problem is, that when a steel part goes rusty, it swells up and then binds in the timber. Once you've extracted the bolt remains, could you possibly drill out the hole to the next sized bolt? The rusty bolt probably will have damaged the internal hole, and replacing with bolts the same size will weaken the structure slightly.
    Too many projects, so little time, even less money!
    Trailer Specialist - Repairs, Brakes, Customs.

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