What’s an insert nut?

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Insert nuts are used to provide a strong and secure mounting point for hanging items in wood or particleboard. They come in steel, plastic, or brass and can be screwed or hammered in. It’s important to use the correct size nut and drill a deep enough hole to accommodate the bolt. The size of the nut does not reflect the size of the hole needed. Some nuts come with a drill bit included.

An insert nut is a device that is hammered or screwed into wood or particleboard. Once driven into the wood, the insert nut provides a strong and secure mounting point in which to hang artwork, pictures, or a wide variety of other items that can be held up by a small bolt. Some insert nuts are made of steel or plastic, while others are made of brass. The screw-in type of insert nut is manufactured with threads on the outside and is threaded into a pre-drilled hole by inserting a hex key into the insert and turning it into the wood until tight. The hammer version, also known as a hammer nut, is made with a steel body, occasionally surrounded by a washer-type flange, complete with tiny spikes all around that grip the wood as they are hammered.

One advantage that the insert nut has over the barrel nut is the convenience of being installed from one side of the wood. Many fasteners require them to be pushed through the wood from the back. This requires larger holes to be drilled in the wood or structure to allow access to the back side, as well as an increase in the time and expense of repairing the access hole. When purchasing an insert nut, it is imperative that the correct size nut is used in the correct size hole. Forcing an insert nut into a hole that is too small can damage the nut; conversely, driving a nut into an oversized hole typically causes a failure and the nut to pull out.

When drilling the mounting hole for the insert nut, it is imperative that the hole be deep enough to accommodate the length of bolt that will be threaded through the nut. Failure to do this can cause the insert nut to be forced out of the hole by the bolt as it is tightened against the bottom of the hole. It’s also important to position the insert nut flush with the outside edge of the mounting hole. This ensures that just the right amount of insert barbs or threads are gripping the wood. Completing this step will provide the strongest and most secure mounting point possible with this type of fastener.

The size of these fasteners reflects the size of the bolt threaded into the nut. The size of the hole needed to place the nut in the wood has nothing to do with the nut size listed. Many nuts come packaged with not only the nut and retaining bolt, but also the drill bit needed to install the nut into the wood.

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