Last Updated on October 22, 2022 by Dave Farquhar
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.
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.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.