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Use thread sealing tape to keep screws and bolts from backing out

Frequently I have a problem with self-assemble furniture not holding together as well as I would like. The bolts back out over time the legs in our kitchen chairs get wobbly. Or a bolt from an office chair falls out completely and something that used to work stops working. If I don’t notice the mystery bolt on the floor and the malfunction on the same day, I get other problems. Here’s a trick to keep screws and bolts from backing out while still leaving it possible to disassemble the piece if needed.

keep screws and bolts from backing out

Thread sealing tape, normally used for water or gas pipes, can also help keep screws and bolts from backing out.

The last time I got a wobbly chair, I had an idea. I wrapped the threads with PTFE tape. (Sometimes incorrectly called Teflon® tape. It’s the same chemical, but Dupont doesn’t make thread-sealing tape anymore.)

Normally you use thread-sealing tape on plumbing by wrapping the threads of pipes before assembling the parts. The tape makes the threads watertight and also helps you tighten them tighter.

In this application, I don’t need the threads to be watertight but I need to really cinch the bolts down, and the addition of a bit more material around the threads will, I hope, make the fit less sloppy and less prone to backing out.

It will also keep them from seizing, should you ever need to disassemble for any reason. You can use a thread locker, but this was Sunday night and the stores were closed and I didn’t have any. I had PTFE tape on hand, and it’s a lot cheaper.

 

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