Where do you buy your bolts?

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Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 16, 2012 5:25 pm

I've been setting practice bolts in preperation for building an anchor. It seems that a 3.5" rawl 5 piece, or 1/2" redhead wedge should be an adequate bolt. If not, educate me. Where would you suggest I buy bolts and hangers? I've been practicing with 3/8" redhead sleeves and wedges from Lowe's but these aren't stainless. I'll buy a box if they aren't unmanageably expensive, but I'll only need a few for now.

Thank you
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby driggs » Dec 17, 2012 12:01 am

Previously on CaveChat: bolts............what do you prefer?
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 17, 2012 6:56 am

I've read that. It doesnt say much about sources.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 17, 2012 10:14 am

I have used the wedge bolts from home depot made by power shot? they are similar to redhead. however, their sheer strength and pullout strength is low, only about 10kn. I have used these on a bolt climb and as main rappelling anchors, 3/8 x 3 1/2", but now I only use fixe double wedge stainless steel. You can buy them cheaper from Fixe than anywhere else, google it. the bolts are about $6 each, you can buy their hanger plates too. Lots of tag pits have home made hangar plates made from angle iron with holes drilled in it. Very beefy.

Keep in mind the low strength of the bolts from home depo and lowes. I knew what I was getting into when I bought them and used them. most of the bolts I have installed have been strippedof their hangers from the bolt climb so its a moot point now. Ive bought a lot of hanger plates from on rope AT tag and at the MVOR's. saves on shipping.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby driggs » Dec 17, 2012 10:45 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:I've read that. It doesnt say much about sources.


Derek Bristol, James Hunter, and I link to the exact sources we purchase from on the first page alone. It also includes much discussion on bolt types, materials, and size to "educate you". Perhaps you should read it again.

I'll note that ConFast currently has a 10% off deal until 2012-12-31 with the coupon code "snow".

If you're only looking to purchase a small handful rather than buying in bulk, then you'll be paying a higher price per-bolt. In that case, just buy the Fixe single-wedge direct from Fixe.

DO NOT PLACE NON-STAINLESS BOLTS FOR PERMANENT RIGGING. I don't care what you think about your "little Ohio caves", if you place a non-stainless bolt, then when someone returns to that cave again (in 5 years) they're going to re-bolt it when they find a mystery rusted bolt. Find someone with experience to show you how to set them, your life is literally on the line, and any stranger who finds your bolts later will expect a trustworthy bolt. And FFS, wear your helmet.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Extremeophile » Dec 17, 2012 11:44 am

Chads93GT wrote:I have used the wedge bolts from home depot made by power shot? they are similar to redhead. however, their sheer strength and pullout strength is low, only about 10kn. I have used these on a bolt climb and as main rappelling anchors, 3/8 x 3 1/2", but now I only use fixe double wedge stainless steel. You can buy them cheaper from Fixe than anywhere else, google it. the bolts are about $6 each, you can buy their hanger plates too. Lots of tag pits have home made hangar plates made from angle iron with holes drilled in it. Very beefy.

Keep in mind the low strength of the bolts from home depo and lowes. I knew what I was getting into when I bought them and used them. most of the bolts I have installed have been strippedof their hangers from the bolt climb so its a moot point now. Ive bought a lot of hanger plates from on rope AT tag and at the MVOR's. saves on shipping.

I've always been surprised at how common home-made hangers are. I'm sure they can be made easily enough at very low cost, but commercially made hangers are very cheap and easily obtained. Some advantages of commercial hangers are that they are usually stainless, strength rated, the mounting hole is a consistent and correct diameter, the clipping hole is a consistent and usable size, and there are no sharp corners or edges. The Fixe SS hangers are $3 and I usually pick some up when in Canada (at MEC) for only $2. Hangers can also be easily reused, so I can't imagine why people keep making their own.

I haven't researched the rated strength of wedge bolts available at retail stores (e.g. Redhead), but I can all but guarantee that these are plated steel and not stainless. As has been discussed already, I would strongly encourage any anchor bolts be stainless, both for safety (in the future) and conservation (reduce the potential for bolt farms). I have no problems using plated steel for progress on lead climbs, but in some caves this isn't allowed due to concerns over rust staining. In general I think the quality and ease of placement of Confast, Hilti, or Powers wedge bolts that are available online is better than that of bolts found at Lowes, Home Depot, etc. You may be able to find these other brands at a specialty hardware store. The price of these other brands online is similar, but you generally need to buy in bulk to dilute the shipping costs.

The Fixe bolts are very nice, and developed specifically for climbing purposes (as opposed to construction), but they are fairly spendy. If you have a project that only requires a couple of anchors then the ~$15 to rig it with the best quality hardware is worth the extra. Fixe bolts and a variety of brands of stainless hangers are often available at climbing shops.

This page has a few links to sources, but it's a website that is very much still under construction:
http://caveanchors.org/anchorsandropes.htm
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 17, 2012 12:00 pm

The hardware store bolts that I have used are heavily rusted in some of the first places I put them in. I don't use them anymore because I now have to go back and put in new bolts. The hangars are gone from these bolts as well in most cases. I still have a few others to strip out. Mainly I used the hardware bolts for rigging a traverse or a bolt climb, but all hangars were stripped later. Fixe double wedge bolts for permanent anchors are the only way to go.

I also would rather buy hangars from fixe for $3 a pop. They are very small, compact and stack nicely for compact storage when traveling to the rig project.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 17, 2012 3:49 pm

driggs wrote:Derek Bristol, James Hunter, and I link to the exact sources we purchase from on the first page alone. It also includes much discussion on bolt types, materials, and size to "educate you". Perhaps you should read it again.


I've read it about 5 times in the last week, along with all of the linked material. I assumed, mistakenly it seems, that most of those links were to product pages intended to portray the bolt under discussion, not necessarily to reccommend a source. I threw out the name of the bolts I was considering after research, just make sure I wasn't missing something.

driggs wrote:DO NOT PLACE NON-STAINLESS BOLTS FOR PERMANENT RIGGING. I don't care what you think about your "little Ohio caves", if you place a non-stainless bolt, then when someone returns to that cave again (in 5 years) they're going to re-bolt it when they find a mystery rusted bolt. Find someone with experience to show you how to set them, your life is literally on the line, and any stranger who finds your bolts later will expect a trustworthy bolt.


Ha! I've seen only one bolt in the 70 or so Ohio caves I've been in...and it was there to hang a register. This is for a survey project in VA. I understand the reasons for using stainless and wholeheartedly agree with your advice. I may not use stainless though, since my plan is to set two bolts, finish the survey, then remove them or pound them in. I would indeed like to get some in-person instruction, but for now, since it'll just be my little old inconsequential life on the line and I don't have easy access to any good training, I'll likely do this the same way I do everything. Read, read, read, practice, practice, practice, and then go for it.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 17, 2012 7:42 pm

Read and practice is how I learned. Nothing wrong with it. Just make sure your rock is solid and not flakey. Make sure you drill perpendicular to the drop so there is no pull load. Only a sheer load. Be smart and you will be fine.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby firemedic1015 » Dec 17, 2012 10:36 pm

Chads93GT wrote:Make sure you drill perpendicular to the drop so there is no pull load. Only a sheer load. Be smart and you will be fine.


Actually, at least one commonly used SS anchor bolt (304 SS 3/8" X 3 3/4" Power-Stud) is stronger in tension than it is in shear. There are a lot of bolts set in the ceiling in some areas.

See Powers spec sheet here:http://www.powers.com/pdfs/mechanical/07424MGSS.pdf Look at page 6
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 18, 2012 12:03 am

power studs are what I have used. I am not worried about the pull strength, I just feel if you are a beginner, you are going to set better bolts by drilling perpendicular into the rock, rather than vertical with the drop, especially if you are new to drilling into rock and telling if you drilled a good hole or a bad hole.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby trogman » Dec 18, 2012 10:34 am

I just set my first bolt this last weekend. I used a Lowe's 3.5" plated steel, and removed the hanger when I was done. It worked well, although next time I will use a tether on my wrench. One 1/2" craftsman wrench, down the crack and gone forever. Like you guys said, if I thought it would be for long-term use, I would certainly use stainless. This was just a case of having nothing in-cave to rig to, and we needed to finish up the survey and see what was at the bottom of the short drop.

It is mind-boggling how expensive SS bolts are. A box of 3/8" x 3" hex sleeve bolts from Concrete Fastening Systems is a total of $72 with shipping. It would take me a long time to use that many bolts. Maybe I can find someone else in my area to split the cost with.

Trogman :helmet:
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Tlaloc » Dec 18, 2012 7:09 pm

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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby PeterFJohnson » Dec 18, 2012 8:16 pm

Chads93GT wrote: Make sure you drill perpendicular to the drop so there is no pull load.


Chads93GT wrote:I just feel if you are a beginner, you are going to set better bolts by drilling perpendicular into the rock.


Perpendicular to the drop?! I have read and was taught that you always want your bolts perpendicular to the rock face(as in your second quote) both to keep the hanger flush against the rock and to avoid unusual forces on the bolts. ACT and OnRope both state as such. Although admittedly On Rope is a bit contradictory since they state that you want to "drill the hole at a 90 degree angle to the rock face" (pg. 74) and that the objective is to "achieve load directions that are in sheer"(pg. 71). Obviously you can't accomplish both of those objectives on overhung walls, but I don't believe their intent is to say that it is okay to fudge the angle or to not flush up your hangers.

As Firemedic pointed out, a ceiling bolt drilled perpendicular to the drop is no bolt at all...
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 18, 2012 8:27 pm

Sorry that's what I ment lol
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