How to Remove a Stuck Nut (without Stripping Threading)

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About: -----------------------------------------------------------------16 year old, sick with a deadly disease called DIY-itis!-----------------------------------------------------------------Hi FTC! My I'bles con...

Intro: How to Remove a Stuck Nut (without Stripping Threading)

If you saw my Instructable on How to make a wooden 6" bench-vise, you'd know that I recently stumbled across a pretty big collection of threaded rods. The only problem was that some of them had hex-nuts that were stuck, and I wasn't able to un-screw them.

Now of course I could grab one end with my locking pliers, and twist the hex-nut off, but that would result in ruined threads...

This "Quickie Instructable" will show the method that I came up with. It's really simple, doesn't require any fancy tools like propane torches and impact drivers, works for all types of nuts, bolts, screws, threaded rods, and more...

You'll need 2 more hex-nuts, 2 locking pliers, a spray lubricant, a vise, and less than 5 minutes to do this.

Let's get started!


EDIT: I've made a video! You can watch by clicking on "How to Remove a Stuck Nut (without Stripping Threading)" if you're on mobile.

Tired of skipping through boring DIY videos? In case you don't already know, I now make short, tightly edited Youtube videos about homemade tools, tool hacks, woodworking, electronics, metalworking projects and much more - Subscribe to so you don't miss out! :)

Step 1: Lubricate the Hex-nut

The nut is probably stuck because of rust, so spraying it with some kind of lubricant would help release it. I recommend either WD-40 or PTFE, but grease or vaseline might also work.

Step 2: Add 2 More Hex-nuts, & Tighten

I screwed on two hex-nuts on the other side of the threaded rod, and tightened them together with pliers. This needs to be tight, but there is no need to overtighten. See the pictures for more information.

Step 3: Clamp the Hex-nuts in a Vise, & Remove the Nut

I clamped both hex-nuts in my vise, as shown in picture 1. Now, guess what? I clamped my big locking pliers onto the nut, and turned. The more force you apply, the stronger the force which stops the hex-nuts that are clamped in the vise from moving. I used a vise, but you can also use locking pliers, which work just a well

Tadaa! You've removed the hex-nut. But wait... Almost done!

Step 4: Unscrew Both Hex-nuts

All you have to do now, is to unscrew the two hex-nuts that were screwed on in step 2. You can see the second picture to see how that's done.

Hooray! You've now got yourself a free threaded rod! All I have to do now is remove the rust, and build myself another wooden vise ;)

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104 Discussions

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Yonatan24

2 years ago

I'm trying to make this title have the best, and most accurate title... HELP!

"How to Unscrew a Nut that's Stuck on a Bolt (without ruining threads)" is a bit long. I'd like to shorten it, and make it better

If you were repairing something in your house, and failed at releasing a nut that's stuck on a bolt, what words would you type in Google's search bar if you wanted to find an answer? I would really appreciate it if you reply to this comment with those words. (Ex: "How to release a stuck nut", "How to remove bolt from screw")

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CPUDOCTHE1.Yonatan24

Reply 2 years ago

This has a lot more to do with how to hold a threaded rod without destroying the threads than it has to do with removing a stuck nut. This is only ONE instance of a stuck nut. I found this instruct-able and was severely disappointed. A more responsible title would be "Securely holding a threaded rod". The only decent rust penetrating "oil" is Kroil. Also, when you clamp the locked nuts in the vice, ONLY clamp the one towards the nut you are trying to remove. If you notice in your picture, the flats on the two nuts are not aligned. When you clamp both, you can either loosen or overtighten the locking nuts. By holding the inside nut, it self tightens itself against the other nut.

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Yonatan24CPUDOCTHE1.

Reply 2 years ago

I'm sorry to hear this isn't what you were looking for and you were disappointed, but what I did here is what the title/thumbnail says.

I've never heard of Kroil, but when I Google it, I see that it's also known as penetrating fluid/very low-viscosity oil. I'm pretty sure that that isn't the only one...

I'm not sure why you're saying that they aren't aligned. If you don't use a washer (as someone suggested), they need to be slightly not aligned. However... However... I do agree with what you said, by clamping the inside nut. Agreed!

Can you please tell me from what you were disappointed?

I think you might like this Instructable (not mine): https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-remove-a-st...

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Mark 42Yonatan24

Reply 2 years ago

How to get your nuts unstuck.

Or just "Deez Nuts!"

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Yonatan24Yonatan24

Reply 2 years ago

UPDATE:

Thank you so much to everyone that helped! I've changed it to "How to Remove a Stuck Nut (without stripping threading)" instead of "How to Unscrew a Nut that's Stuck on a Bolt (without ruining threads)"

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uneektalentYonatan24

Reply 2 years ago

"Remove A Stuck Nut" will put you at or near the top of the search results.

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Yonatan24uneektalent

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks! I'l see what everyione else wrote, and see if this is better :)

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GaryW47Yonatan24

Reply 2 years ago

How to release your nuts when screwing.

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Yonatan24Yonatan24

Reply 2 years ago

You know what? This makes no sense. I should change the title to threaded rod...

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Captain KayYonatan24

Reply 2 years ago

uneektalent has a good title, as this process could be used on bolts and rods and so forth.

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MassSpec Man

2 years ago

I see a comment that "this makes no sense." The locking two nuts together is excellent and classic. It make a threaded rod into a bolt with a hex head. You are confusing when you use the vise. There is nothing to the vise, better to show this using a wrench to make the point. Like a closed end six sided, of course, double end wrench used for auto mechanics. I see the readers think they need a vise and are confused.

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Yonatan24MassSpec Man

Reply 2 years ago

I looked for it, but didn't see that comment...

Why am I confusing, I mentiomned that you can also use pliers...

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MassSpec ManYonatan24

Reply 4 months ago

Because all of your pictures show vise grips. The visual is more powerful than the written. I didn't say specifically about whether the image people get is from visual or written. I should have. People are way too quick now a days. Less likely to read carefully than to look at the pics. I know, it's sad. Your reply seems to be about your written content because you said "comment." I guess I was talking about your pics then. It's a great technique! Great for you to share also. I just think many who do not understand these things so well like you and I, get confused. They see vise grips, they think you HAVE TO USE vise grips. I was reading comments that indicated that is what they think. It's nothing wrong with what you wrote. People who are at that elementary a level have not put in the time to understand, instead they are just thinking superficially, not your fault. A famous Cornell in Vietnam said "there is always 1 more thing that can be done to influence a situation if you try hard enough to think." This is the case with people looking at your Instruct-able. There is always one more thing to say. It's not your fault. It is just life.

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Yonatan24MassSpec Man

Reply 4 months ago

Thanks, but I'll pretend I even remember replying to this comment, I can't find the one you're referring to anyway :)

I've actually used this simple trick several times since posting this I'ble.

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MassSpec ManYonatan24

Reply 4 months ago

A BIG OOPS! (Correction): "I just think many who do not understand these things so well UNLIKE you and I, get confused"

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PhilS43

2 years ago

All this to get a nut off?

If tightening and some white spirit doesn't move it, get the hacksaw, cut through until almost hitting the male threads, get large screwdriver and split the nut.

The real buggers are the nuts that matter, like on posh bathroom taps. Carefully applied heat (MAPP) to the female threaded bit and a thin lubricant - DERV (diesel) fuel is ideal - eventually works. I did one recently that was the tightest ever. I snapped a tendon doing it, but it came apart. Very few nuts survive attack with some genuine Mole grips. Lock-nutting works, but on critical theads, you can stretch the stud.

There are references here to "dissolving" rust. How the hell do you dissolve iron oxide? Hydrochloric acid? Another answer is not to get it in that state to start with. If getting it apart in the future matters, there are such things as anti-sieze greases etc.