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Inexpensive bolt extractor


Original Post
Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,320

This is a tool that can be useful in cleanly extracting stud bolts.
It is inexpensive (<$20) and can be easily made with a hacksaw, a vise, a drill, and a tap tool in less than an hour.
You usually need to weaken the holding power of the bolt prior to pulling by spinning it if it is a stud. The same tool works on Rawl sleeves that have been threaded with a tap tool after disengaging the cone. PM me for more details on Matt Reeser's spinner tool design.

I hope more route maintenance will include attempts to re-use holes. There are many, many 1980's routes that are overdue for upgraded hardware. Spend the money on all stainless 5-piece bolts and hangers.

youtube.com/watch?v=rCrwaSI…

Laine Christman · · Reno, NV · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 1,310

Thanks for posting this. Very cool design. Once extracted, does the little sleeve of the wedge bolt remain in hole once the cone disengages from it?

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,791

Thanks a ton Gregger!! I have been trying to figure out what to do about some wedge bolts that need replacing, but I wasn't sure how to get a wedge anchor out (obviously its harder than getting a sleeve bolt out). So thanks, very useful info!! I am guessing that your tool is used after you have already tapped the bolt into the rock a bit to unseat the wedge, and then scored the inside of the bolt (i.e. your spin method) so that the wedge cannot -re-engage when you pull using your new cheap extractor. Is this correct?

Another issue though is the following. Most of the bolts that I want to replace were put up on lead, so that the holes are likely not over drilled so you can't simply tap the stud into the hole to unseat the wedge. Do you have any advice in this circumstance or I will I simply be left with cutting the stud off flush with the rock, patching and camouflaging the old hole, and then placing a new SS rig?

Ryan Strickland · · Idyllwild, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 127

I've pulled a few button head bolts from the 70s era using a lost arrow cut into a fork shape. It's quite a bit of work and the head of the bolt can break off. Here's my procedure:

-Work your lost arrow fork or a KB under the hanger, as close to the bolt head as possible
-Hammer the lost arrow fork under the bolt head until it is pulled out about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch
-Use a crowbar to lever the remaining bolt out of its hole. A funkness device also works, but hurts your arm and takes a lot of effort.
-Carefully drill out the hole to the size of your new bolt. Go slowly...it's easy to break your bit or get it stuck during this step.
-Place your new bolt in your drilled out hole.

No patching required and no new holes are drilled!

If the bolt head breaks, just use a centerpunch to drive the remaining stud back into the hole and patch as usual. At least you tried to save drilling a new hole. If you do drill a new hole, make sure it's about 6 inches away from the earlier hole, but without changing the character of the climb.

Good luck!

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,791

Thanks Ryan, but removing a button and removing a 3/8" wedge are totally different animals. But yes, the rest of your method is more or less standard practice.

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,320
Laine wrote:Thanks for posting this. Very cool design. Once extracted, does the little sleeve of the wedge bolt remain in hole once the cone disengages from it?
If you manage to pull the wedge bolt out without breaking it, the collar/sleeve will come out intact.
Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,320
J. Albers wrote:Thanks a ton Gregger!! I have been trying to figure out what to do about some wedge bolts that need replacing, but I wasn't sure how to get a wedge anchor out (obviously its harder than getting a sleeve bolt out). So thanks, very useful info!! I am guessing that your tool is used after you have already tapped the bolt into the rock a bit to unseat the wedge, and then scored the inside of the bolt (i.e. your spin method) so that the wedge cannot -re-engage when you pull using your new cheap extractor. Is this correct? Another issue though is the following. Most of the bolts that I want to replace were put up on lead, so that the holes are likely not over drilled so you can't simply tap the stud into the hole to unseat the wedge. Do you have any advice in this circumstance or I will I simply be left with cutting the stud off flush with the rock, patching and camouflaging the old hole, and then placing a new SS rig?
Yes, you *usually* need to spin the stud first after knocking it in slightly to disengage the wedge. If it is very rusty you might be able to simply pull. It is advisable to use the tool to break a fresh bolt (in a small test boulder) in order to know how much force is too much force. Some studs leave too little thread protruding from the rock to afford knocking it in first. Some studs will also start spinning without any hammer blow to soften 'em up. So even if it is in a shallow hole, try spinning and/or pulling anyway.
applewood · · Tonasket, WA · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 13,787

Great - way better than chopping the bolt! Thanks for posting.

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,791
Gregger Man wrote: Yes, you *usually* need to spin the stud first after knocking it in slightly to disengage the wedge. If it is very rusty you might be able to simply pull. It is advisable to use the tool to break a fresh bolt (in a small test boulder) in order to know how much force is too much force. Some studs leave too little thread protruding from the rock to afford knocking it in first. Some studs will also start spinning without any hammer blow to soften 'em up. So even if it is in a shallow hole, try spinning and/or pulling anyway.
Thanks for the reply Gregger.
Cheers.
Dan Merrick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 10

I've made some bolt pullers but they were hard work to use. I would guess the Acme type threads from the C-clamp would take less torque thus making it easier. Good idea to use the clamp.

Maybe I missed it but have you used this rig to pull wedge bolts in granite?

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,320

Granite - haven't gotten the chance yet. I pulled five 1/2" Rawls with it this morning and it works well. Since it can easily break a 3/8" stud it can provide more than enough force to extract one that has been sufficiently spun by the spinner tool.

Dan Merrick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 10

Greggor,

I don't know what you mean by spinner tool. I'm new here so perhaps I missed something.

Thanks,
Dan

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,320
Dan Merrick wrote:Greggor, I don't know what you mean by spinner tool. I'm new here so perhaps I missed something. Thanks, Dan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLl59N-HIds&list=UU-6UF1brKKJ48IU-gLZ0dbQ
Brad "Stonyman" Killough · · Alabama · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 5,785

Very useful info,thanks guys.

Dan Merrick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 10

The spinner tool is awesome, I'll have to try it in granite.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,320

When I type 'rebolting' it does auto-correct to 'revolting'...
Chopping is easy work by comparison.

I modified my design slightly after noticing that several people were breaking stud bolts after pulling them 75% of the way out of the hole.
-Change out the round gas pipe for a section of 3/4" square steel tubing.
-Add a 3/8-16 x ~1.5"L hardened set screw in the end of the tool.
-Add a 3/8-16 square nut (slides right into the tubing with ~0.015" clearance)
-Add a standard coupler nut

The modification allows the threaded rod to move axially, but it cannot turn once it enters the tubing which will be compressed against the rock. Twisting while pulling is essentially what a breaker-bar does (and we are trying to avoid that.)

Modification to index the puller rod's rotation to the spacer.

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,791

Thanks again Gregger, the info is greatly appreciated.

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,320

Update:
it works.
I only needed to use it on one of these. The rest came out by spinning alone.

Yes, stud bolts can be cleanly removed from granite (some more willingly than others.) Thanks to Matt Reeser for designing the SDS-spinner tool.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,415
Gregger Man wrote:Update: it works. I only needed to use it on one of these. The rest came out by spinning alone.
So, just another way to make the spinner tool (very inexpensively). I took an old 3/4" worn out SDS bit and just cut the drill bit portion off then drilled and tapped the end to accept the 3/8" bolts. I only tapped it about 3/8" deep so that it will bottom out on the bolt threads before the tool hits the rock.

Obviously this is only an inexpensive method if you have an old used 3/4" sds bit laying around. Now I need to go try it out!
Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

Nice work Greg!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
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