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Little nuts.......big fingers.

Problem starting a nut.

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Rik Shaw28/03/2021 16:49:27
1480 forum posts
398 photos

Having tried for far to long to get this 6BA nut started on its stud I gave up and asked my wife with her smaller fingers to have a go. She persevered for fifteen minutes or so but finally admitted defeat.

I tried a number of different methods including jamming the nut up a small piece of plastic pipe and using it as a flexible box spanner but the wall of the pipe was to thick and fouled on the raised rectangular sticky out thing on the casting.

The last thing I tried was to stick a piece of double sided tape to the end of a 40 thou feeler blade and stick the nut on the end. Now I was able to offer up the nut to the start of the stud thread. With the point of a scriber I gave the nut a twiddle or two and bingo, it went on.

I like it when things finally go right!




Tim Stevens28/03/2021 18:01:34
1587 forum posts

This is number 245 in the long list of bodgers dodges. It is a very long list.

Cheers, Tim

Thor 🇳🇴28/03/2021 18:08:25
1602 forum posts
45 photos

Thanks for the tip Rik, you are not the only one who struggles with small nuts.


Harry Wilkes28/03/2021 18:20:15
1325 forum posts
65 photos

Have had the same problem and along with using Rik's suggestion I also have 3 different type of forceps and a couple pairs of spring loaded tweezers


Peter Greene 🇨🇦28/03/2021 18:55:46
489 forum posts
6 photos

You can get nut starters for small nuts. They fit in quite tight places, though not, obviously, those with zero clearance. (If length is a problem, you can always cut them in half).

Heathkit used to give these (red ones) away with all their kits. I still have a few of those but they are mostly worn out by now.

Edited By Peter Greene on 28/03/2021 18:56:57

Garry Briaris28/03/2021 19:00:16
1 forum posts

One method I use for very small nuts and bolts (10/12BA) is to use a clutch pencil. Not sure many people use them these days but can be found on-line.

Jaws can be enlarged a little by drilling out.


Ian Hewson28/03/2021 19:03:15
321 forum posts
27 photos

A blob of blue tack on the end of a terminal driver works well also.

Rik Shaw28/03/2021 19:23:07
1480 forum posts
398 photos

Tim - I would find it most helpful if you could provide me with a link to your list.


old mart28/03/2021 19:34:43
3720 forum posts
233 photos

I have big arthritic fingers, and when I modified the new 100mm four jaw chuck to fit my 7 X 12 lathe, I turned the first few threads off the mounting bolts to make life easier.


Richard S228/03/2021 19:50:33
229 forum posts
134 photos

Makes me feel better to see others overcoming these tiny challenges as well. I have been twiddling tiny screws, nuts and bolts for a while now. I have a number of ways to start them on threads etc, primarily my favourite tweezers and cocktail sticks. Finish up with watchmaker's screwdrivers and specially made spanners. How small is small?-

How small is small?


Brian Wood28/03/2021 20:14:28
2549 forum posts
39 photos

I would find a young child and use that


Grindstone Cowboy28/03/2021 21:33:28
854 forum posts
64 photos

Old Mart - first saw that dodge mentioned in an old ME magazine, and think it's great yes


Nigel Graham 228/03/2021 21:49:55
2034 forum posts
28 photos

I've overcome this problem sometimes by winding the nut half-depth against a lock-nutted back-nut on the end of a suitable screw (squared-off as a rounded end will be in the way).

It's usually enough to get the nut started, then use a spanner to ease it from the holder to the work-piece.

not done it yet29/03/2021 08:58:39
6736 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by Grindstone Cowboy on 28/03/2021 21:33:28:

Old Mart - first saw that dodge mentioned in an old ME magazine, and think it's great yes


Oft used by car manufacturers, in particular.helps line up holes for easy fitting of screws.

robjon4429/03/2021 09:34:13
149 forum posts

Hi all, +1 for clutch pencil collet for this problem, from schooldays onwards always had them to hand, leads for their original purpose ie writing & drawing available in various colours & if you can believe this back in the day the planning, design & drawing offices where I worked used the leads in such enormous quantities that the pencils came free! If you remove the pushbutton there is a cutter inside for reforming the point & to bring it bang up to date, 60 years later I just consulted the large mug next to me on the desk & yes theres still one in there, made by Staedler Mars & of course leads for all the instruments in drawing sets fit.

PS people say I never throw anything away


Shadow29/03/2021 12:03:05
21 forum posts
1 photos

A method I use is to assemble vertically. Put the nut on the scriber shaft holding it wiithyour finger and apply the point to the end of the threasd and let go of the nut leaving the scriber on the end and in small circles twiddle the nut into place with tthe scriber pount, it will self start.

Anthony Knights29/03/2021 12:37:00
619 forum posts
242 photos

I solved the problem by making some miniature nut runners for 8, 10 and 12 BA sizes. Drill a hole the same size as the AF nut or bolt size and then knock in the end of a suitably sized hex key as a crude broach.


Edited By Anthony Knights on 29/03/2021 12:37:45

Dennis D29/03/2021 13:04:34
76 forum posts
3 photos

Search for Jewlers prong pick up tool The one in my picture is holding a 10BA nut.

They come in different number of prongs as well if I remember correctly 

Pick up tool

Edited By Dennis D on 29/03/2021 13:11:14

Edited By Dennis D on 29/03/2021 13:12:29

JA29/03/2021 13:39:33
1345 forum posts
80 photos

I suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome in the right hand. One’s sense of touch in the thumb and first two fingers is masked by the noise from the trapped nerve.

I manage to manipulate nuts down to 12BA using nut runners, tweezers, shanks of small drills and, particularly, jewellers’ screwdrivers. However patience is the most important tool. Without practice it took me an hour to fit six 10 BA nuts and screws holding two flanges together with poor access.


Trevor Drabble29/03/2021 13:45:46
280 forum posts
5 photos

I find the smaller sizes of shrink tubing availabe from numerous model suppliers works well for me .

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