6 Ton Hydraulic Pin Press




Introduction: 6 Ton Hydraulic Pin Press

As a knifemaker, the art of making stainless steel pins disappear into bolsters seems to boil down to three things:

1). Using very similar material for both bolster and pin

2). Cleaning the pin and hole very well.

3). Expanding the pin in the hole as best as possible to eliminate any microscopic gap.

I've tried with a ball pein hammer and had less than ideal success. A fellow knifemaker in my forum recommended a process using a hydraulic press and his results were impressive. But... I had no press.

Enter an inexpensive 6 ton bottle jack and some steel. A bit of poking around the internet to see what designs are already out there and trying simplifying as much as I could.

One design feature I want is to be able to remove the bottle jack and replace it without easily.

Step 1: Getting Your Parts Together

Major Items

A - 3Cx6# 3" C-Channel, (heavy 0.325"). 12" long. QTY 2

B - 3" x 4" x 1/4" plate

C - 6 Ton Hydraulic Bottle Jack

D - 1" Round bar.

E - Threaded Rod 3/4"- 10 x 16" long. QTY 2

F - Tubing, 3/4" ID, 12" long QTY 2

G - Jack cap (or ram cap), see detail.

I happened to have some heavy duty 3" C channel sitting in my garage and I figured I'd get some threaded rod and make a sturdy frame. The question I had was "What is the strength of the rod?" I did some research and found that most threaded rod is Grade 2 (low carbon steel), which is not really strong. But if the rod is sized right it will suit my needs.

Grade 2 threaded rod is rated at 55 ksi (ksi = thousand pounds per square inch) proof load. So I need to figure out the square inches of some common rod sizes. The formula area (A) of a circle as you may remember from school is:

A= πr2

For 3/4" rod I enter the radius of 0.375" like this:



So 0.44 square inches multiplied by the ksi rating of 55 is around 24 or 24,000 pounds per rod.

As there are two of these rods we can double the rating to 48,000 pounds or just under 25 tons.

I could use something smaller, but I like over building stuff and 3/4" is inexpensive enough.

I made a spreadsheet in Excel to show some of the proof loads for various NC (National Coarse thread) Grade 2 rod.

Step 2: Setting Up the Frame

I cut the C channel with a band saw into two 12" pieces.

Using a 3/4" SAE washer I marked the holes. These ended up being 3/4" in from the end and in the centre (1-1/2"). A 3/4" bi-metal hole saw and some cutting fluid works great for making the large holes. Go slowly and keep the heat down. Now we need to mark the centre of the bottom for placing the jack. Cut the 3/4" threaded rod to 16" lengths and clean up the ends to the nuts thread on easily.

Note: I could not find Grade 5 nuts in 3/4" so I had to use Grade 8. These are cadmium plated. Just a reminder, NEVER EVER WELD CADMIUM.

I used a couple of pieces of 3/8" x 1/2" bar stock for the jack hold downs. The right side piece lays flat on the bottom channel, while the left side piece is on an angle creating a clamp. Depending on your jack you may only need a few bolts or you my have to rig something similar that clamps the jack into place. Again, I wanted something where I could remove the jack easily.

Two 12" pieces of 3/4" electrical conduit (EMT) make a nice cover for the threaded rod. This doesn't add any strength, but will protect your hands from the sharp threads. There is an end view of the top member. The flat washers will help distribute the load.

Step 3: Pressure Points

Once under pressure, I marked the plate for where to mount the round bar and tack welded it in place.

You may opt for a no-weld version and drill and bolt the plate to the top member and use a flat head 1/4" bolt threaded into tapped hole in the round bar. This would be easy to remove and replace if necessary.

The jack cap is a piece of pipe with some plates attached to it. It slips over the jack and becomes the second contact point. I had some scrap 1/4" x 2" plate so I made a reasonable cap by stacking a few of these and tack welding them. You could use the jack itself, but the surface is grooved to reduce slipping. What we want is a smoother surface for pressing. I could have ground the the cap smooth, but that sort of defeats the remove and replace concept behind build. My particular jack requires something with an inside diameter of 1.25" or so. Some schedule 40 pipe does the trick as it's only meant to slip over the ram.

Legs: You will probably want to add some angles for mounting to your bench. A couple of clamps would work just a well. I had two corner lift plates from an industrial enclosure and they already had 3/4" nuts welded in place. I simply screwed them on the bottoms of the threaded rods.

I have a few more photos and some additional detail on my knifemaking blog:


Best wishes,


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    6 years ago

    Are you sure your calculations are correct? I don't think the strength of the threaded rods are the failure point. I think it is the threads themselves. At what point will the threads strip? I think they will strip before the actual rod breaks.


    Reply 6 years ago

    Sounds like you have done your homework Dan. Thanks for the reply. Great design. I think I'll make one.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Simple, useful & took care of calculations....thank you. I'll need to make it in the future.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Perfectly suitable as a small scale press. Very nice instructions.



    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very very nice and clear explanations. Thank you. I will keep in my favs in case I decide to build it. BTW: it is really amazing that you can buy a 6 ton bottle jack for under $20...

    That's awesome that you found another way to get the result you wanted! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!