Tips on Using Threaded Inserts for Wood

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Installing threaded inserts into your wooden furniture or home decor is a great way to preserve your possessions and prevent a headache down the road. But the process can be trickier than you might think.

Not to worry, though! Everything you need to know about threaded inserts, insert nuts, or simply “nutserts” is provided here for you!

Whether you’re using threaded inserts for plywood, hardwoods, or softwoods, this guide has got you covered.

What is a Threaded Insert?

Using threaded inserts is a great way to preserve the life of the wood of your items, such as coffee tables, desks, or even your works of art.

Sometimes your wooden items need to be taken apart and reassembled at a later date, such as when you move to a new home. Every time you deconstruct a piece, you wear away the thread cut into the surface by the wood screw, and eventually, it will lose its hold. 

By installing a threaded insert, you are simply replacing the wood screw with a machine screw, and by doing so, you extend the life of your piece. For a quick visual tutorial, watch this video to get an idea.

Let’s Get to It!

Typically, you’re going to want to go with an 8.5 or 9mm insert. These are the most common sizes, but you can go bigger or smaller depending on the wood screws already being used.

Select a drill bit for the size of the insert you’ll be using. For an 8.5mm, your pilot hole should be 9mm. You’ll want the pilot hole to be slightly larger than the insert. If you’re using threaded inserts for plywood or other softwood, such as pine, redwood, or cedar, you can go smaller with an 8mm for a tighter grip.

Using a depth stop here will come in handy, as it will prevent the drill from going farther into the wood than you want. They’re an especially great tool if you have many holes to drill.

Install the threaded insert using either a screwdriver, a bolt and jam nut, or an E-Z Lok Drive Tool. For an easier install, refer to the video above for a great time (and sanity) saver!

Once the threaded insert is in, wipe away any sawdust you kicked up so that it doesn’t get in the hole, and that’s it! For extra-tight holds, you can fill the gaps in the hole with epoxy to hold the insert in place, but it shouldn’t be necessary.

DIY Do or Die

Few things compare to the feeling you get when you fix something yourself, and more often than not, the problem is much easier to solve than initially thought.

Today, you learned tips on using threaded inserts for wood to keep your furniture, cabinetry, or any other wood project together for a long, long time.

What else can you do?  The better question is, what can’t you do?  If you crave more DIY projects to do around the home, we suggest checking out woodmagazine.com for hundreds of great ideas on how to create, improve, and fix projects yourself!