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Inexpensive bolt extractor


eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 502
Taylor Spiegelberg wrote: Unscrew the nut and pull off the hanger. Grab the sleeve with needle nose vice grips near the surface of the hole and pull it out. Then pull out the bolt shaft by hand. 

Sleeve isn't close enough to the surface to grab with pliers. It's only threads for at least a centimeter deep. And even then it would only be the upper sleeve, which doesn't really do me any good.

dnoB ekiM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 2,965
Taylor Spiegelberg wrote: Unscrew the nut and pull off the hanger. Grab the sleeve with needle nose vice grips near the surface of the hole and pull it out. Then pull out the bolt shaft by hand. 

For sure the first option to try.  Sometimes possible in soft rock or a loose hole with the type in the first pic. And then IF the sleeve is close enough to the edge.  That can be real difficult in a tight hole in hard rock.


Will not work with the multipiece in the bottom pic. You only get the top part of the sleeve. 

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,823

I don't know of any good method for removing stuck Lok-bolts (that's just the name of the Powers version of that design, I don't know if there's a better name for this type of bolt). If you get lucky, you can just grab the sleeve with pliers and wiggle it out. There's some photos of an easy/lucky removal here:
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/106538566/kashmir

Spinner tools are threaded for 3/8" and a Lok-bolt is going to be 5/16" (unless it's a 1/2" Lok-bolt which will have a 3/8" bolt core), but even if you have a correct size spinner tool, I can't see how it's going to work, unless you can "gently" get the spinning to back the sleeve out of the hole. That shouldn't work (considering the design), but I suppose it could in soft rock?

My general plan would be to unscrew the nut, remove the hanger, and see if the sleeve sticks out of the rock. If so you're probably in luck, tap the bolt in a bit to disengage the cone (without whacking the sleeve), grab the sleeve with pliers (the bolt will still be there too), and rotate/wiggle it out. Might even want to grab the sleeve with pliers before you do the light tap to push the bolt core in. If the sleeve isn't sticking out, I would put the hanger and nut back on, tighten down the nut to snap off the bolt, and see if tightening down the bolt might have backed the sleeve out such that you can grab it. If not, tap them in and patch. Might be a good idea to have a 5/16" punch to do that (to minimize scarring).

Hopefully someone has a better idea, because other than core drilling I don't see another option, especially for the long ones with two part sleeves.

The 3/8" versions of these bolts are super weak to begin with, barely rated stronger than a 1/4" buttonhead!

Drew Nevius · · Oklahoma · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,613
Greg Barnes wrote: I don't know of any good method for removing stuck Lok-bolts (that's just the name of the Powers version of that design, I don't know if there's a better name for this type of bolt). If you get lucky, you can just grab the sleeve with pliers and wiggle it out. There's some photos of an easy/lucky removal here:
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/106538566/kashmir

Spinner tools are threaded for 3/8" and a Lok-bolt is going to be 5/16" (unless it's a 1/2" Lok-bolt which will have a 3/8" bolt core), but even if you have a correct size spinner tool, I can't see how it's going to work, unless you can "gently" get the spinning to back the sleeve out of the hole. That shouldn't work (considering the design), but I suppose it could in soft rock?

My general plan would be to unscrew the nut, remove the hanger, and see if the sleeve sticks out of the rock. If so you're probably in luck, tap the bolt in a bit to disengage the cone (without whacking the sleeve), grab the sleeve with pliers (the bolt will still be there too), and rotate/wiggle it out. Might even want to grab the sleeve with pliers before you do the light tap to push the bolt core in. If the sleeve isn't sticking out, I would put the hanger and nut back on, tighten down the nut to snap off the bolt, and see if tightening down the bolt might have backed the sleeve out such that you can grab it. If not, tap them in and patch. Might be a good idea to have a 5/16" punch to do that (to minimize scarring).

Hopefully someone has a better idea, because other than core drilling I don't see another option, especially for the long ones with two part sleeves.

The 3/8" versions of these bolts are super weak to begin with, barely rated stronger than a 1/4" buttonhead!

Thanks for the response Greg. I’m pretty sure at least one of the bolts I plan on replacing at Lost City is a lok-bolt. I think Chase Webb said he’s had success in Arkansas sandstone with tapping the stud back in and then pulling it with a Hurley Jr, but I haven’t tried it myself yet

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,415
dnoB ekiM wrote: Eli ran into one of these.  They have been heavily used by developers.  Powers, Hilti and Red Head make them.  Most are not strong enough for climbing but they proliferate nonetheless.  I am intrigued about solutions for removing them.  If you can manage to get a hold of the sleeve with pliers, it’s possible to pull it out over the bolt and then slide the bolt out, but that’s a hard/lucky thing to do.


I've removed quite a few of the solid sleeve versions of these like the upper picture and they are typically relatively easy to do.  Usually the sleeve is flush with the surface of the rock or it protrudes from the surface if the hanger is installed around the sleeve, if the sleeve is protruding it's super easy, just tap the bolt back into the hole to disengage the cone, grab the sleeve with needle nose plyers and pull it out which typically brings the stud with it.  If the sleeve is flush with the surface of the rock and you can't get a hold of it with the plyers, take a chisel and break off the edge of the hole so that you can grab it with the plyers and use the same process.  If the hole is overdrilled enough that the stud doesn't come with the sleeve and it is back in the hole, you  may need a retractible magnet to pull it back out (yes I have had to do this in the past).  As far as the powers lok-bolt (multi piece version), I've never actually come across these in the wild, but I would imagine that they should spin out just like a wedge bolt since they work on the same principal.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,114

Anyone have any luck pulling good 1/2" plated wedge bolts out of granite?

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,823

Removed 5 rusty specimens of the lok-bolt design yesterday, and four came out easily. The sleeve protruded a long ways out (the original hangers were welded cold shuts), so just a couple light taps on the bolt head popped the bolt core back in a bit, then just grabbed the whole thing with vise grips and wiggled/rotated it out.

However on one, the sleeve had actually fragmented near the wedge, so the bolt was stuck - it would rotate a small amount (maybe 5-10 degrees), but that's it. So I figured I'd just be very patient and work it back and forth, with a lot of blowing into the hole to get rock dust and rust out. After a couple minutes it was rotating 45 degrees and I got the upper portion of the sleeve out (which was broken/short so it made it very obvious what was going on), and then it took a long time, maybe 5-10 minutes, before I started getting sleeve fragments out and then the whole bolt.

So, if the bolts are really rusty, it's possible for the sleeve to disintegrate, and you might try patiently working it back and forth while blowing out the hole. Here are the bolts:


Also you may notice that the bolt below the fragmented one had the sleeve installed backwards, that's how it was in the hole (and it came out easily like the other intact ones).

I don't see any way of attaching a bolt like this to an extractor, since you need to grab the outside of the sleeve, not the bolt itself (since that would just re-seat the bolt-end-cone into the sleeve). So in this case the "bolt extractor" is just a pair of vise grips. As discussed above, if the sleeve is flush with the rock or below the rock surface, things will get much more difficult, and if it's right above the rock surface you may need pliers with a pretty "sharp" tip to successfully grab the sleeve edges.
dnoB ekiM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 2,965
Greg Barnes wrote: 
Also you may notice that the bolt below the fragmented one had the sleeve installed backwards, that's how it was in the hole.

Crazy!

Drew Nevius · · Oklahoma · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,613

Patience can be key with successful removal. We pulled 4 wedge bolts on sunday and the first one had me a bit discouraged. It took about 15-20 mins of active work because the clip kept re-engaging the cone (that, or it never truly disengaged). I’d spin it for a bit, then try to pull with the Hurley Jr but it would tighten up, so I’d tap it back in and continue spinning. I think it only came out because the hole widened enough as I wobbled it around in the hole some while spinning. It was the one on the left. The other 3 came out much faster. A friend of mine pulled the one on the right that the cone broke off, so I don’t know what went wrong there but the hole should be deep enough that we can reuse it anyway

Timothy Fisher · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

Love seeing these old bolts removed intact. We have come a long way, but still have more to do!

Ken Duncan · · Ft Collins, CO · Joined Jul 2004 · Points: 3,557

When replacing wedge bolts with hand power i.e. in wilderness areas, any tips on spinning the bolt to create the ridge to disengage the cone?

Isaiah Foulks · · Monterey · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 31
Ken Duncan wrote: When replacing wedge bolts with hand power i.e. in wilderness areas, any tips on spinning the bolt to create the ridge to disengage the cone?

Also super interested in this... I have been trying to learn rebolting at Pinnacles and no power tools are allowed.

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

Dan Merrick and Bruce Hildenbrand did some some wedge bolt spinning by hand in the lab and in the field. It takes a bit of elbow grease, but it is possible. 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 502
Gregger Man wrote: Dan Merrick and Bruce Hildenbrand did some some wedge bolt spinning by hand in the lab and in the field. It takes a bit of elbow grease, but it is possible. 

Were they using a socket wrench? Certainly can't match the speed of a power drill but I can't think of anything that would allow you to turn it faster.

Also got a few questions of my own after another attempt at rebolting today. I had trouble on 2 bolts today, both externally threaded. I'm pretty sure one of them was a wedge bolt because it would rotate inside the hole. The other one is either a wedge bolt or one of the rawl lock bolts (externally threaded sleeve bolt) I'm not sure. I tried spinning both, but my power drill would bind on both of them.

So I tried using the hurley jr after attempting to spin only to have both pull maybe a centimeter out before the threads stripped. This isn't the first time this has happened so I think either something is wrong with the hurley jr or I'm just cranking too hard on it because the past 4-5 times I've tried to pull a bolt with it, it just strips the threads. I'm almost considering buying a die to bring with me, but that isn't excactly solving the root problem.

The other issue is that the wedge bolt wouldn't spin with the power drill. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. What do you do in order to get wedge bolts to start spinning?
Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,320

Add water. If the hammer mode doesn’t release it, is an actual hammer. Then screw on the spinner tool and see if you can rotate it with a crescent wrench to get it going. 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 502
Gregger Man wrote: Add water. If the hammer mode doesn’t release it, is an actual hammer. Then screw on the spinner tool and see if you can rotate it with a crescent wrench to get it going. 

Tried water and also hammer mode. So what you're saying is that I need to screw on the spinner tool and turn it with a crescent wrench until it wont turn anymore and then put in the drill and spin it? I just want to make sure I understand correctly so I don't just strip the threads even more. 

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

No - I'm saying use the crescent wrench to get the entire bolt to turn after hitting it in with a hammer. If the bolt is in a shallow hole, you can usually tell when you hit it that it feels too solid. Those are often a lost cause. If it gives a little, see if you can hammer the bolt in just a little bit. If you still have enough threads to leave the nut on and add the spinner tool, you could use the crescent to turn either direction by opposing the nut against the spinner. I have had success this way without stripping the threads, but I have also had the bolt just break off if the collar won't let go.
I would check to see if your spinner tool has damaged internal threads - sounds like that might be the case.

edit to add: once you get it to turn, proceed as usual with the spinner and drill.

Chase Webb · · Little Rock, AR · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 367
Ken Duncan wrote: When replacing wedge bolts with hand power i.e. in wilderness areas, any tips on spinning the bolt to create the ridge to disengage the cone?

Some guys with CASA have developed a technique for removing wedges in a wilderness area using only a hurley jr. style puller tool. They have a video somewhere showing the technique!

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,823
Gregger Man wrote: Dan Merrick and Bruce Hildenbrand did some some wedge bolt spinning by hand in the lab and in the field. It takes a bit of elbow grease, but it is possible. 

Here's the video of their first removal - fast forward to 1:45 for the start of the removal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a0oBTF4UFs​​​
Grandpa Dave · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 5
Greg Barnes wrote:

Here's the video of their first removal - fast forward to 1:45 for the start of the removal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a0oBTF4UFs

Ok, this is interesting. And of course, I have a question: Having never seen any of this hardware (other than the 1/2" U-joint, socket, spinner handle, etc), how is the piece that screws down onto the bolt to be removed actually firmly attached to the exposed bolt such that it can be turned CCW to try and "back it out"? Did I see some allen set-screws to grip the bolt with? But I didn't see them stop to tighten them. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
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