Brass carriage bolts?

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Forum topic by Keen1 posted 05-07-2011 07:35 AM 5886 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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103 posts in 3264 days

05-07-2011 07:35 AM

Anybody know where to find them? I’m finishing up a loft bed for my son (hope to have pics up soon) and I’m thinking brass bolts would look better with the finish than the zinc plate bolts I have. However, I can’t seem to find them anywhere. Specifically looking for 3/8 bolts 2.5” and 5” long. I’m open to other options as well as brass but so far the zinc plate is the only option I’ve found. Thanks fellow LJrs for any input.

-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

12 replies so far

View philip marcou's profile

philip marcou

262 posts in 2015 days

#1 posted 05-07-2011 07:46 AM

Keen, I doubt if those exist.
However, if you have a friend who is a machinist it is simple to thread brass rod and make domed nuts from brass hex bar, plus nice washers with chamfered edges .

View Loren's profile


8158 posts in 3066 days

#2 posted 05-07-2011 07:58 AM

I suspect the reason you can’t find them is brass is considerably
more prone to shearing off compared with steel. Also more costly.

You can get them in bronze:

View lewis62's profile


73 posts in 2056 days

#3 posted 05-07-2011 02:01 PM

DO NOT use brass !!! soft and no tensile strength, dont want to hear the upper bed falls on lower one in middle of night with some one in it. If you want to cover head of steel bolts counter sint hole just enough to set bolt head below surface than use bed bolt cover that swings open to expose, check on rocklers, or woodcraft, websites for bed hardware.

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philip marcou

262 posts in 2015 days

#4 posted 05-07-2011 11:38 PM

I think Lewis’ concerns are unfounded: brass round bar is not that weak. Anyway, a properly made bed is going to have stub tenons and all the bed bolt does is draw the leg and rail together-so there is no shear force at all.
If the bed is made a la Ikea style then a thicker bolt in brass say 1/2 inch would certainly allay any fears.
Brass round bar alloy 385 is the correct one to use . I think that folk don’t understand that brass comes in many standard alloys , all made for different purposes.
However, it is Keen’s choice but I would hate to have him put off -brass is a good metal to use with wood – one just has to design accordingly.

View Orion's profile


15 posts in 2508 days

#5 posted 05-10-2011 06:39 PM

Marine supply companies always have brass bolts and nuts. Also, sells nearly every screw, bolt, and washer imaginable. Plus, they let you buy in quantities of 1, 10, 100, 1000, etc.

-- Horton Brasses Inc, makers of fine reproduction brass and iron hardware

View Sorethumbs's profile


38 posts in 2065 days

#6 posted 05-10-2011 07:46 PM

Many grade 8 bolts have a “brassy” looking yellowish finish to them. You can usually buy them by the pound at farm supply stores. Check them out and see if those would give you the look your going for. I’ll tell you one thing, there never going to sheer!

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2898 days

#7 posted 05-10-2011 09:42 PM

If you Google brass carriage bolts, there are a lot of places that sell them on the web.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Richard's profile


1871 posts in 2108 days

#8 posted 05-14-2011 06:45 AM

Find a plateing shop and have the stell bolts plated with brass.

View Mike's profile


406 posts in 2105 days

#9 posted 05-14-2011 07:46 AM

I absolutely would not recommend brass for load bearing. If you want to use them for decor, sure, but over time they will deflect or snap unless they are rated. If they are, I would make sure that there is a very high factor of safety.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2085 days

#10 posted 05-14-2011 08:20 AM

If you want to dress up the head of the bolt ,just paint it, what ever color you want, copper, brass , white, blue ,purple, what ever !
I have some paint that looks like copper , and it won’t tarnish

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View Keen1's profile


103 posts in 3264 days

#11 posted 05-17-2011 06:51 PM

Thanks for all the input. I think the bronze plated bolts are what I am looking for (not the silicone bronze type made for marine use mainly because I’m using 16 of them and don’t want to pay that much). These are not load bearing (or not intended to be but on a boy’s bed I guess everything should be considered load bearing).

-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2578 days

#12 posted 05-24-2011 02:50 AM

You might also consider just brazing the tops. You’ll get a brass looking finish but retain any imagined strength of the original metal.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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