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Tip of the Day

Removing a Rusty Nut Without Breaking It
(25 October 2014)

Wire-brush the old paint and rust away -- you don't need to get to "white metal", but you don't want anything filling the thread grooves. Then inspect the exposed thread carefully. A "thread restoring file", a triangular needle file, or even a XX-taper saw file will let you remove any burrs at the thread crests. You may not be able to get to the areas right at the nuts with the wire brush and file, but do what you can to clean those threads with a "dental pick" or scriber. If the corners of the nut are rounded and burred, file off any burrs.

Now you can soak the area with penetrating oil. A lot of people swear by heating the nut with a torch and feeding wax into the shaft-to-nut juncture.

If the nut turns off easily, great! But if it doesn't, don't just force it willy-nilly. Be sure you have a wrench that fits the nut. A socket is better than an open-end or Crescent-type adjustable wrench. If you do end up using an adjustable wrench, screw the jaw down so that it clamps the nut tightly.

Finally, it sometimes helps if you tighten the nut just a touch first, apply some lube oil or more penetrating oil, and then unscrew it.

Contributed by John Garner

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