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The goal of this ible is to show you how to use threaded inserts in different types of wood. I will also show you how to do so without buying the specialized insertion driver. Although the special driver is inexpensive, I find that the soft brass often shears when trying to use the insert driver in hard wood, and sometimes in soft wood as well.

Step 1: Material

Normally when you buy insert nuts, the instructions would tell you that you need

What I recommend

Step 2: What Is Normally Recommended: the Problems

After drilling a straight 3/8ths hole (there are tools of varying degrees of fanciness to help make sure it is a perpendicular cut), you then insert the nut. It will sometimes go in a bit crooked, and sometimes that will rectify on its own, but generally you have to push it up a bit. This works very poorly with the insert-driver.

Furthermore, although in very soft wood the insert driver generally works, the nuts sometime strip and create sharp edges. In hard wood, the nuts almost always strip.

Step 3: My Way: the Fixes

Instead of using a 3/8ths, make the hole 1/32th bigger with a 13/32ths bit, especially in hard wood. In soft wood you can get away with the 3/8ths most of the time, especially when you use the bolt technique (see below).

Once the hole is drilled, put the nut on a bolt, and drive the bolt. It is much harder than the brass, and can take the strain much better than that flimsy notch for the insert driver. If you weren't doing a through-the-piece hole, this is where getting a short bolt is important. Not only that, but since the bolt runs through the nut, you have much more control over how it is being inserted, and you can rectify minor deviations caused by wood grain.

If you use the bolt technique in a 3/8ths hole in hard wood, the brass will sometimes compress and flare, and the bolt will be mechanically bonded to the nut. There is no way around using a 13/32ths bit for hard wood.

Step 4: Profit!

Enjoy!

Very tricky! Would a 10mm drill bit be easier to find and do the job?
<p>Hum.. 10mm would be half way between 3/8 and 13/32... With just 1/64 more, I'm not sure how it would work out. It would certainly be worth a try, if I had one I would test it, but I don't. If you try it out in maple, let me know how it works. I think it would be enough to be able to fully drive it, but you may still get the issue of the grain pulling the insert crooked. In soft wood it would be acceptable, as 3/8 is already manageable in soft wood. Let me know how it works out! </p>
<p>I guess that when using metric drills one would also use metric nuts.</p>
<p>Not necessarily; 1/4-20 is an important size for camera gear. Also, sometimes you want to &quot;hack&quot; a purchased product to use it differently than intended. In those cases, sometimes I need metric, sometimes I need imperial.</p>
<p>Right. I forgot those cameras. Last time I stumbled over them is some time ago, but it's really difficult to acquire some fitting screw.</p><p>I guess that even with TTIP you will never adopt the metric system.</p>
<p>Actually I live in Canada, almost everything is a mix of both. Paint cans for example come in quarts, but are listed in ml :p. Can't be that hard to order 1/4-20 though. Internet! Because construction is still in imperial measures for the most part, hardware and tools are a real mess. </p>

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