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How to Use T-nuts in Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

T-nuts are small cylinders threaded for bolts on the inside that you can hammer into wood. Once the T-nut is installed into the wood it enables you to bolt together pieces of wood or any composite material that you want to join to the wood. The bolts can then be removed, if needed. T-nuts are used in furniture building and woodworking projects where individual components are created in bulk, tapped with T-nuts, and assembled for production. Two popular sizes for T-nuts are 1/4 and 5/16-inch.

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  1. Drill a 1/2-inch hole in the wood where the T-nut will go. Drilling completely through the wood is also acceptable. For 1/4-inch T-nuts, use a 5/16-inch drill bit; for 5/16-inch T-nuts use a 3/8-inch drill bit.

  2. Insert the cylinder end of the T-nut into the hole, pushing it into the hole with your thumb so that it stands up.

  3. Strike the top of the T-nut with a hammer, driving it into the hole so that the spikes on the bottom of the T-nut are buried into the wood.

  4. Crouch down and get at eye level with the T-nut. Ensure it is flush with the wood and that the spikes are completely buried into the wood. If not, strike the T-nut again, or until the surface of the T-nut is flush with the wood or slightly below the surface of the wood.

  5. Screw the appropriate bolt into the T-nut.

  6. Tip

    When you purchase T-nuts, buy bolts in the appropriate length for your application. To join two pieces of 3/4-inch material using T-nuts, purchase bolts that are 1-1/2 inch long. For 1/4 inch T-nuts use 1/4 inch bolts, 5/16-inch T-nuts require 5/16-inch bolts.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bit, 5/16-inch
  • Drill bit, 3/8-inch
  • Wood
  • Hammer

About the Author

Wade Shaddy

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.

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