How to Remove Carriage Bolts

Carriage bolts are reliable fasteners commonly used in woodworking and metalworking projects. They feature a round head and a square neck, making them ideal for applications where the bolt must not turn when tightened. However, there might come a time when you need to remove a carriage bolt for repair or replacement. In this article, we will guide you through the process of removing carriage bolts effectively and without damaging the surrounding materials.

Remove Carriage Bolts

Carriage bolts, also known as coach bolts or round head square neck bolts, are commonly used to assemble wooden structures, metal brackets, and machinery components. While they are reliable and durable, there may be occasions when you need to remove them. This could be due to repairs, modifications, or simply replacing the bolt with a new one.

Removing carriage bolts may seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, the process can be straightforward and efficient. Let’s dive into the step-by-step guide for removing carriage bolts.

Gather the Necessary Tools

Before you begin the removal process, it’s essential to have the right tools at hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wrench (appropriate size for the bolt)
  • Hammer
  • Long, slender center punch (optional for stubborn bolts)

Step 1: Loosen the Bolt with a Wrench

The first step in removing a carriage bolt is to use a wrench to loosen it. Place the wrench on the bolt’s nut and turn it counterclockwise. This will help break the initial grip and make it easier to remove the bolt later on.

Step 2: Tap the Wrench End

If the bolt is still firmly attached after loosening with the wrench, you can try tapping on the end of the wrench with a hammer. The impact will help loosen the bolt further and make it easier to remove.

Step 3: Pull out the Bolt and Washer

Once the bolt is sufficiently loosened, you can simply pull it out from the hole. Depending on the application, there might be a washer along with the bolt. Ensure that you remove both the bolt and washer from the hole.

Step 4: Overcoming Stubborn Bolts

In some cases, carriage bolts might be stuck due to rust or other factors. If pulling on the bolt doesn’t work, try this method:

  • Insert a long, slender center punch into the hole at the threaded end of the bolt.
  • Gently strike the center punch with a hammer to apply force to the bolt.
  • Continue striking until the bolt pops out.

Additional Tips for Carriage Bolt Removal

  • Lubricating the bolt threads with penetrating oil can help make the removal process smoother.
  • If you’re working on an older structure, be prepared for rusted bolts, and use appropriate rust-removal techniques if needed.
  • Avoid excessive force that may damage the surrounding materials or strip the bolt’s threads.


Removing carriage bolts doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and techniques, you can easily remove them without causing damage. Remember to use a wrench to loosen the bolt, tap the wrench end with a hammer if necessary, and gently pull out the bolt and washer from the hole. For stubborn bolts, the center punch method can be effective.


Are carriage bolts suitable for outdoor projects?

Yes, carriage bolts are often used in outdoor projects as they provide strong and secure connections.

Can I reuse removed carriage bolts?

Reusing carriage bolts is possible, but it’s essential to inspect them for any damage or wear before reinstallation.

What size of wrench do I need to remove a carriage bolt?

The size of the wrench will depend on the specific carriage bolt you’re working with. Use the appropriate size for the best results.

Can I remove a carriage bolt without damaging the wood?

Yes, by following the steps carefully and using the right tools, you can remove the bolt without causing damage to the surrounding materials.

What are the advantages of using carriage bolts over regular bolts?

Carriage bolts have a decorative appearance due to their rounded heads, making them suitable for visible connections. Additionally, their square necks prevent rotation during installation.

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