How to Install T nuts

Learn how to install T nuts in a professional and elegant way.

While working on my projects there were many moments I needed to install a T nut. Installing T nuts is not a rocket science though I prefer one way over the others. Let me explain.

If you were searching for how to install T nuts I am pretty sure you found a few ways how to do it. Probably the easiest one is to hammer the T nut in a pre-drilled hole until it is fixed and secured. Yes, it works and it will do the job, but let’s say it is not the most elegant way.

Table of Contents

Always be cautious and careful when using any power tool.

What is a T nut and how to use it?

You can come across multiple names while looking for a T nut – e.g a tee nut, claw nut, rivet nut, hammer nut, insert nut, and more. And they all can refer to the same type of nut. A T nut is a nut with a prolonged body ending in a flange that often has prongs that dig into the wood piece as the T nut is being tightened down from the opposite side.

T nuts provide an incredibly strong connection. They will not vibrate loose and the connected pieces are less likely to crack. Given their shape they are more suitable for perpendicular joints.

A T nut is a perfect accessory and a great choice for all sorts of assembly projects, furniture constructions as well as DIY projects. I have been using those very often while building machines and jigs for my workshop, and I am really happy with the results.

How to install a t nut

Installing a T nut

T nuts are very simple to install. As mentioned above the simplest method would be to hammer the T nut in a hole. Here is why I don’t recommend that and why you should avoid it.

Why not hammer a T nut

  1. There is a good chance the T nut will oval and it will be difficult to screw the bolt in since the threads will be distorted.
  2. While hammering the T nut you will probably hit not only the nut but the material as well leaving scratches and indents on the surface.

T Nut installation the proper way

1 – T nut installation using clamps

  1. Drill a hole using a ø2mm drill bit
  2. Use a Forstner bit to drill a shallow hole to sink the T-nut
  3. Drill a hole that is slightly wider than the barrel of the T-nut
  4.  Insert the T-nut in the hole and push it down using clamps until it is completely flush with the surface

Watch the video below to see how it is done. In this project I am using T nuts to fix the jaws to the body of the vise.

2 – T nut installation using a bolt and a wrench

  1. Drill a hole using a ø2mm drill bit
  2. Use a Forstner bit to drill a shallow hole to sink the T-nut
  3. Drill a hole that is slightly wider than the barrel of the T-nut
  4.  Place the T-nut in the hole. Use a bolt a fender washer and a wrench to tighten the T-nut down until it is completely flush with the surface.

NOTE: While tightening the bolt the washer can still cause scratches on the material. I recommend using an additional layer between the washer and the wooden piece, for example, another piece of wood that will prevent from scratching the surface.

This way you will get a nice and clean outcome. 

Watch the video below to see how it is done. In this project I am using T nuts to mount the drill press stand to the base desk.

Also, check out these other Shop Tips and Easy DIY Projects for more workshop ideas.

How to Install T nuts

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What is a T nut and how to install a t nut
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