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Fixing crooked bolts?


Original Post
JJK · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 5

I recently hand drilled some bolts on lead.  Because of the awkward stances used to drill from and my lack of experience, some of the holes aren’t quite perpendicular to the surface of the rock and the hangers don’t sit flat, which levers the bolt outward.  I understand this is a poorly drilled hole, and I want to make it right.  Is the best option to just drill a new hole?  Or are there any tricks to make the existing holes work?

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,415
JKeller wrote: I recently hand drilled some bolts on lead.  Because of the awkward stances used to drill from and my lack of experience, some of the holes aren’t quite perpendicular to the surface of the rock and the hangers don’t sit flat, which levers the bolt outward.  I understand this is a poorly drilled hole, and I want to make it right.  Is the best option to just drill a new hole?  Or are there any tricks to make the existing holes work?

Unless you change the bolt out for a glue in, the only option is to drill a new hole.

JJK · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 5

Got it, thanks.

Mick S · · Utah · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 60

That is common when you are first drilling on lead, with a hand drill. No way to fix it, but unless they are way off (and as long as you did everything else correctly) the bolts are plenty strong. If you used wedge bolts, a few whacks side to side with the hammer will snap them off and you can patch the hole and drill another. My favorite bolt for hand drilling on lead is the Fixe SS 3/8 X 2 3/4 wedge. The key to hand drilling good bolts on lead is to take your time, even if you are gripped.

Drew Nevius · · Oklahoma · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,884
Mick S wrote:If you used wedge bolts, a few whacks side to side with the hammer will snap them off and you can patch the hole and drill another.

Oh please don’t... it’s pretty simple to pull wedge bolts and reuse the hole. And as stated above, the hole doesn’t have to be perfectly perpendicular to the rock for a glue in replacement

Mick S · · Utah · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 60

Sure, but only if you are willing and skilled at placing glue ins. And they don't work so well on lead with a hand drill, although I suppose it's possible.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 311

If you place questionable bolts, it is your responsibility to go and fix it.
Hang on the rope if need be, use a power drill if needed.

Mick S · · Utah · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 60

Unless it's Wilderness, then you are forced to learn the art of hand drilling. I assume that is the case?

Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 648
 Be safe out there!
Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
JJK wrote: I recently hand drilled some bolts on lead.  Because of the awkward stances used to drill from and my lack of experience, some of the holes aren’t quite perpendicular to the surface of the rock and the hangers don’t sit flat, which levers the bolt outward.  I understand this is a poorly drilled hole, and I want to make it right.  Is the best option to just drill a new hole?  Or are there any tricks to make the existing holes work?

It doen't matter one bit (unless you are using some particularly crappy bolt system). The hanger isn't even touching the rock when the bolt fails.

Ma Ja · · Red River Gorge · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 116

The bolt goes in, but the hanger isn't sitting flat? Just chisel the surrounding rock flat with a hammer so there's room for the whole hanger to sit flush. Wear safety glasses. 

Brandon Fields · · Boulder · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 445

How bad are we talking? What type of terrain is it? Are power tools allowed here? What type of rock is it and what type of bolts did you install?
Photos would be super helpful for us to give more specific assistance.

Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 648
As long as you got something good in there it should hold.
Sam Skovgaard · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 87

A few weeks ago I had a slightly off horizontal (maybe 10-15 degrees) bolt hole that I hand drilled (wilderness, plus I don't own a power drill).  It was pointed slightly down, so the bottom lip of the hanger began to contact the rock before the bolt was fully tightened.  As Ma Ja described, I used a cold chisel (bought at home depot) to flatten out a little area of rock below the hole (being very careful not to demolish the hole opening in the process, chiseling away from the hole), so that the hanger sat flush.

nbrown · · WNC/Broomfield, CO · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 6,890
Ma Ja wrote: The bolt goes in, but the hanger isn't sitting flat? Just chisel the surrounding rock flat with a hammer so there's room for the whole hanger to sit flush. Wear safety glasses. 

This might be your best option to try first. It has worked for me in the past. Also, it can help to try using different hangers since the shape can sometimes make a difference.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
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