Kids learn a lot from toys that get their hands involved. This homemade wooden nut and bolt is an easy project, and it gets kids working with their hands. I made this for my son, and he loves to spin the nut until it falls off the bolt. He’s still a little young to know how to thread it back on at this point, but he has fun with it anyway. As he grows older, toys like this wooden nut and bolt will teach him about coordination.
I have a couple wood threading kits, and they make this project very easy. They come in several sizes for different diameters and thread counts, so you can pick out something that you like for size. I have the 1″ kit and the 1-1/2″ kit. Both work very well.
For this project, I used a 1″ dowel, and used the die to thread the last four inches. Then, I added a cap on the top with flats like a real bolt. In my haste I accidentally gave the head eight flats instead of six, but nobody has noticed yet. Normal bolts have six sides, my kids toy has eight.
After making the bolt, I turned my attention to making the nut. The tap made quick work of threading the nut. I then cut it to shape (an octagon again) and sanded it smooth on all surfaces. After sanding the bolt as well, everything was finished with Mineral oil and beeswax. This is just enough finish for something that a kid will be playing with. In some cases, I do not even finish small toys like this, because they are going to be used so heavily anyway.
A couple tips for using the wood threading kits can help make the process easier. Make sure to lubricate the dowel before you cut threads with the die. A good coating of mineral oil or linseed oil soaks into the surface, and allows the die to cut better.
I tried the die for my wooden bolt without the oil, and it was tearing out threads quite a bit. Once I added the lubrication (as the directions clearly tell you) the process was much smoother.
Another thing, make sure to go slowly at first. Your wooden nut and bolt need to screw together well. This means straight. If you start the tap or die on an angle, the pieces will not come together well. It’s not as hard as it sounds to get them straight. Just start slowly, and keep the tool perpendicular to the surface as you begin. Maintain the same hold, and keep working until the tool takes a nice bite. Then, finish the cut keeping the tool perpendicular.
After you create your wooden nut and bolt, sand the surfaces lightly to remove any sharp areas on the threads. There will likely be a few areas that need attention. Sand them lightly to remove the burs, and then finish the piece. My son has done really well with beeswax and mineral oil, which is why I finished the piece like this. Make sure that any finish you use is safe for the child playing with the piece.
If you have any questions on my Homemade Wooden Nut and Bolt, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.