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How to Install 4 prong T-nuts in climbing wall panels.

T-nut Installed

When installed in the back of the climbing wall, the t-nuts should look something like the pictures to the left.

If you are looking for t-nuts which are easy for one person to install, we recommend Round Base T-nuts.

How to install
4 Prong T-nuts

(With 2 people it takes about 20 seconds)
4 Pong T-nuts

    Items you'll need:
  • 5/16" long arm hex wrench
  • 2 3/4" long 3/8-16 socket head cap bolt
  • 3/8" Flat washer
  • 3/8" Fender washer
  • 2" x 4" block with a
    13/32" hole
  • 3/8"-16 4 prong t-nut
  • Barges All purpose Cement. (Anything that bonds to both metal and wood)
Prior to installing T-nuts your climbing wall should be prepared by creating a grid of holes spaced according to your preference using a 7/16" drill bit. The inner diameter of the t-nuts is 3/8", but the outer diameter is 7/16".

There are a couple ways to install t-nuts. The bad way is to hammer them in. Here are the problems with hammering:

When you hammer in the second t-nut, the first one has a tendency to bounce out. The shaft of the t-nut will not be perpendicular with the surface of the wall. The t-nuts have a tendency to pop out the backside, or cross-thread when you are trying to bolt on a climbing hold.

Here is how to install t-nuts professionally:

Step one, Glue:
One person should be behind the wall to put the glue on the t-nuts and hold them in place for the person on the front side of the wall. Without glue, the t nuts will easily pop out when you try to fasten a climbing hold.

Step two:
The person in front of the wall should put the bolt through the washers and the block as shown below. The washers will help reduce friction as you rotate the bolt. The wood block will keep the surface of your climbing wall from getting marked up or dented by the washers.

Step three:
It will be easier to pull the t-nut into the wall if you lubricate the threads of the bolt before fastening it to the t-nut. Graphite powder or soap works well. (Important Note: Stainless Steel has a much higher friction coefficient than alloy steel. When installing stainless steel t-nuts lubricated alloy steel bolts must be used, not stainless steel.)
Put the bolt through the block

Fasten the bolt to the t-nut

Step four,
Fasten the bolt to the tnut by hand. When it is tight, grab the 5/16" hex wrench and start tightening the bolt. As you turn the bolt, the t-nut will be pulled into the wall. When the prongs of the t-nut have fully penetrated the wall you are done! Unscrew the bolt, add a little more soap or graphite if necessary and start on the next t-nut :)

Pulling the t-nuts into the wall in this manner will keep the barrel of the t-nut properly aligned. Since the barrel will be perpendicular to the wall, it will be much easier to get the threads of the bolt to match up when you are fastening a climbing hold. The glue will also help keep them from moving or popping out. It will take a bit longer than hammering them in, but it will be well worth!

T-nut Installed

When installed the t-nut should look something like the pictures to the left.

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