What Are T-Nuts for Wood - a Clear & Detailed Guide - Thumbnail

What Are T-Nuts for Wood – a Clear & Detailed Guide


There are several options to anchor a bolt in wood firmly. You can choose threaded inserts, which I discussed earlier in this article, or you can go for T-nuts for wood. But what exactly are T-nuts? and how do you use them?

T-nuts for wood, (tee nuts or threaded t nuts), have a long, thin body with a smooth outside and fine threads on the inside. At the end, there is a flange that gives it a T-shaped profile. T-nut flanges usually feature hooks that dig into the wood when tightening the bolt.

In this article, I’ll show you t-nuts for wood in detail, and how to use them properly so you can quickly understand what projects you can use this fantastic piece of hardware for.

How Do T-nuts For Wood Work?

To use the t-nut for wood you must first drill a pilot hole. I will come back to that later in this article. Then the T-nut is placed with its narrow side into the pilot hole. When inserting, the pressure must be increased so that the hooks attached to the flange push themselves into the wood. This will fix the T-nu where you applied it.

When using t-nuts for wood, you must always keep in mind that the flange is always on top of the wood. If another part were to be mounted above this, a gap of 1 to 2 mm (approximately 1/16″) would result. This can be fixed by first drilling a countersink hole slightly larger in diameter than the flange.

What Types of T- Nuts for Wood Are Available?

In the end, the most commonly offered will be t-nuts as I’ve already described earlier in this article. A narrow body with a wider flange on which there are hooks.

However, there is also a lesser-known type of t-nut and those are the t-nuts with screws. t nuts with screws look the same in terms of construction, but the hooks on the flange are missing with the t nuts with screws. With the t nuts with screws, it is the intention to attach them to the wood with screws and not by pressing the hooks into the wood.

t nuts with screws may be a better option when driving is less easy, with more delicate projects, or when you use a material other than wood. Simply insert the t-nuts with screws into the pilot hole and screw them into place. Below you can clearly see the differences between the regular t-nut for wood and the t-nuts with screws

What Are T-Nuts for Wood - Regular T-nuts
What Are T-Nuts for Wood – Regular T-nuts
What Are T-Nuts for Wood - T-nuts with screws
What Are T-Nuts for Wood – T-nuts with screws

T-Nuts vs Threaded Inserts, What Is the Difference?

What Are T-Nuts for Wood - a Clear & Detailed Guide
What Are T-Nuts for Wood – Threaded inserts

The threaded insert is an insert that also serves to drive and hold bolts in the wood, just like the t-nut for wood. However, there is a big difference in the grip and strength of the attachment and thus serves a completely different purpose.

The threaded insert is not pressed into the wood and held thanks to the hooks, but is screwed into a pre-drilled hole thanks to the coarse screw thread on the outside of the threaded insert.

T-nuts are faster to install than threaded inserts, but can easily be pulled out of the wood if misused. So the application is completely different from the nut inserts for wood.

You will need to use T-nuts if you want to bolt parts through the back of the material with a bolt. On this one, the T-nut is pulled harder against the wood the more you tighten the bolt. With the thread insert, this is just the other way around. There you can easily use it on the front side of the material and place the bolt directly in without the risk that the insert will come out again because of the tension on the bolt.

You can see that both have the same purpose but are very different in use. So think carefully about which option is the most suitable for the project you are working on. You can see the differences in more detail in the video below. To view the step-by-step guide to installing threaded inserts, I recommend that you read this article before you get started.

What Material Are T-Nuts For wood Made Of?

Most T-nuts for wood are made of steel. Steel is used because it has a high tensile strength. the only drawback of steel is that it is prone to corrosion. Fortunately, there are also threaded inserts in stainless steel, which are slightly more expensive.

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What Are the Most Common T-Nuts Sizes?

T-nuts for wood are offered in different sizes. For woodworking, there are only a few sizes that are interesting, and they are:

Larger sizes are also available but are often used less in woodworking.

What Size Hole Do I Drill for a T-nut?

Drilling a pilot hole for the installation of a t-nut for wood is required. In fact, the pilot hole must be drilled all the way through the wood as the t-nut is always mounted on the back of the workpiece.

However, the diameter of the pilot hole needs to be less precise than if you had to make it for a threaded insert. Usually, I make my pilot hole a little bit oversized. I found that the size of the pilot holes that I give you in the table below works perfectly.

T-nut sizeDrill bit in mmDrill bit in inches
T-nuts M46mm0,23″
T-nuts M57mm0,27″
T-nuts M68mm0,31″
T-nuts M810mm0,39″
T-nuts M1013mm0,51″
T-nuts for wood pilot hole sizes

Now that you know everything about T-nuts, it’s time to learn how to install them correctly for your projects. That’s why I wrote the handy and quick step by step guide, How to Install T Nuts Correctly (2 Simple Ways), to help you with this. I will tell you some tricks there that will surely help you.


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