How to Tighten Head Bolts

Round head bolts, such as a button head bolt or a carriage bolt, have heads that cannot be gripped.

Round head bolts typically have a square neck that wedges the bolt into the hole and prevents it from turning when tightening the nut. However, if the hole is just a bit too large, the bolt will spin along with the nut. Two options for tightening the bolt are adding a locking washer or adhering the bolt head in place.

Grab hold of the bolt head with your fingers or with pliers and remove the nut if you can. If the nut is stuck, try dowsing it with spray lubricant.

Remove the bolt and place a lock washer or a rubber washer around the shaft so it fits snugly around the bolt neck against the bolt head.

Reinsert the bolt into the hole and add a regular washer to the other side if there is not one already. Screw on then tighten the nut. A lock washer should grab hold of the bolt head and keep it from spinning. A rubber washer should provide traction to keep the bolt from spinning.

Apply epoxy beneath the bolt head if the lock or rubber washer isn't working or the nut could not be removed in the first place. If there is not enough of a gap under the bolt head to inject glue with the standard epoxy applicator, use an adhesive syringe. Allow the epoxy to cure according to the time indicated in the manufacturer's instructions before tightening the nut.

Things You Will Need

  • Pliers
  • Spray lubricant
  • Lock washer or rubber washer
  • Washer
  • Epoxy
  • Adhesive syringe

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.