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Source for 3/8 oval head (football shape) carriage bolts for wood wheels


MDL
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7 hours ago, MDL said:

Looking for a supplier of oval head bolts for my brooks steamer rear wheels. 3/8  by 4 inch long

Show a picture of the head your looking for.

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I doubt that you are going to be able to find what you need. I know you are looking for 3/8" but when I needed 5/16" oval head bolts for my '46 Woodie the longest length I could find was 2 and 1/2 inches. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, 46 woodie said:

I doubt that you are going to be able to find what you need. I know you are looking for 3/8" but when I needed 5/16" oval head bolts for my '46 Woodie the longest length I could find was 2 and 1/2 inches. 

When it comes to cars, anything is possible. Maybe not off the shelf, but anything can be made.

 

MDL - Find a pic of what you are looking for so that we can try to help. Nothing like going at it blind. If what you need is not commercially available, theres a retired machinist out there needing a small project to work on.

Edited by a griffin (see edit history)
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MDL, McMaster-Carr can supply 18-8, stainless steel, 3/8"-16 x 4" Oval Head, Phillips head screws at special order. They are $3.10 each and if you are interested, refer to quote #33179 in your order. The only thing I would be concerned about is that 18-8 stainless steel is fairly soft and I don't know how they would work on a wheel. They are only available in stainless steel and Phillips drive. Are you sure what you are looking for is oval head and not a carriage bolt?

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Posted (edited)

Clarity is vital! Carriage bolts are not oval head, and oval head bolts are not carriage bolts. The bolt 3macboys shows is neither. Those were used on farming implements among other things many years ago, and went by another name all their own. I don't remember what they were called, might have been "plow bolts", but I think those were something else obscure. I 'think' the plow bolts were the flat head variant of what 3macboys showed. I have several of the flat head version, and a few (I am sure the wrong size!) of what 3macboys showed mixed in with a bunch of my grandfather's junk that I saved.

 

IF (big 'IF' again) you are needing the bolts shown going through the wooden spokes in the picture mike6024 shared, the ones not at the hub, but farther out to help secure the brake drum? Those would NOT have a tapered under the head because such a taper would act like a splitting wedge and pull too far into the spoke wood. In the first place, they could never remain tight, and in the second place, they could (and if retightened a few times likely would) eventually split the spoke. Bolts through the hub and flange and/or brake drum could use a tapered under the head bolt, either with or without the square end of the shank.

 

Common carriage bolts today are much too soft for wheel use. Higher strength ones can still (I guess still still?) be had from good hardware specialty stores. 

 

Another little 'Sheldon' trick. a couple times I needed a specific bolt for one of my antiques, and the only thing available was a Phillips head? I brazed in the Phillips 'x', then carefully hacksawed a nice old style slot into the head. Once installed and painted? Worked great and looked fine! (I have only had to do that a couple times!)

Edited by wayne sheldon (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

I'm sure there are several ways to skin this cat.

Assuming deep pockets one way to make them would be to start with a 4140 tool steel rod the diameter of which equals the long dimension of the elliptical head. Turn the screw shaft portion to 3/8" and thread it. The bolt can now be held by the shaft and the head machined to shape/size in a CNC vertical machining center. Finish dress by hand and heat treat for strength.

Expensive but very doable...........Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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Apparently the OP doesn't have one to use as a pattern, they were all replaced with regular carriage bolts long ago, which are not right, maybe they work OK but look wrong.

Seems need to find an owner of one of these unusual specimens, willing to help.

 

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This man has one and has done videos. We can message him. Can ask if he removed any of those bolts, go a good picture that can be scaled.

 

Back of front wheel, and 2 pictures of back wheel. Yes they hold the brake drum, brakes on rear only. Football shaped head, or oblong.

 

 

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Screenshot (396).png

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51 minutes ago, mike6024 said:

This man has one and has done videos. We can message him. Can ask if he removed any of those bolts, go a good picture that can be scaled.

 

Back of front wheel, and 2 pictures of back wheel. Yes they hold the brake drum, brakes on rear only. Football shaped head, or oblong.

 

 

Screenshot (393).png

Screenshot (394).png

Screenshot (396).png

Talking about a picture being worth a thousand words!  For the OP maybe contacting a company like https://www.hpaulin.com/ with the pictures from mike6024 and a description might just get the result that he is after.  I can't help but wonder if it's a case of figuring out what the manufacture calls the design to get the right hardware.  

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Okay. So those are oval shape in the other dimension. That will complicate things a bit. I have seen some of the originals and wheels with those, but never anything new like that. Most likely will have to have them made. Machining those from solid rod would be about 95 percent waste, time consuming, and therefore a bit expensive. Welding the head onto smaller rod may be the preferred method. As long as the welder is good enough, they would be plenty strong. 

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The heads look like a railroad spike to me. Maybe it's just like a regular bolt, but instead of a hex head, it has that oval. Need to see them removed, what the shank looks like. Probably nothing complicated, but not off-the-shelf.

 

 

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I am reasonably sure I know what the OP wants. They are common on brass era wheels. I need some for my Mitchell and I am reasonably certain they aren't available anywhere. The head is much like a carriage bolt but has a half-round shape rather than a flat dome. There is no square under the head. When new, they relied on a tight fit in the wheel to start the nut and tighten it. If you take them out it is virtually impossible to put them back and get them properly tight again. Often - maybe all the time – the end of the bolt was peened after it was tightened. They were never intended to come out...or if they did, to be replaced with new bolts. I'm going to make some for my car but I am changing the design slightly and including a shallow hex under the round section so I can tighten them with a wrench. I'll use lock washers, castellated nuts and cotter pins on the back side. I haven't decided how to do it yet but I will probably use 1/2" rod threaded at both ends with one end screwed into a piece of hex stock - and then turn the round section with the piece assembled. It will be a lot of work but the result should be something that, if not exactly as original, doesn't look new either.

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You could get normal coach/carriage bolts and file the bolts to the oval shape that you want, but make sure the bolts are high tensile and not mild steel. I have seen a Model T wheel fall apart using mild steel coachbolts, not pretty.

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 Check your size again most wheel bolts are 7/16 they should be a snug fit and 4" sounds long as they only go through the spoke and brake drum.  If using new bolts use only #5 or #8 strength. You can find carriage bolts that grade just turn off most of the square under the head unless the hole in the spoke has had a carriage type head in it before.  Grind down the head to approximate shape and add epoxy for show shape.  A lot of bolts going through wood use a sirration on the shank that presses into the wood.  These bolts are hard to find as they were not normal replacement parts like rim bolts.

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Thanks for all the response  to this.  I will check on the length today I think you are correct they will be shorter than 4 inch. Going by the markings on the spokes the head is wider and obviously longer than a standard carraige  bolts. Certainly  can be made but I thought I would ask around first I need 12.        If l only needed 1 or 2 I would have tried something all ready.    Thanks again

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OK my mistake.  Took a wheel apart and got  some correct measurements  .  Bolts are 7/16 dia.  And 2 inches long from underside of head. Sorry for the confusion the modern bolts in rhe wheels looked to be 3/8 but are not.. thanks

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Posted (edited)

Twer it me and assuming an oval head length of 1 1/2" I would buy a length of 1 1/2" dia 4140 from McMaster. Turn the shaft to 7/16" and single point the threads. Maybe finish them with a die. After that the head can be shaped free hand on a belt grinder. A Bridgeport mill would save a few minutes shaping the head but it's really not necessary. Sounds crude but you would be surprised at the steepness of the learning curve and how close one can get with just a little practice and maybe a simple template. With chrome moly steel there is no need for heat treating, at least for this application. Actually it would be a very rewarding project..........Just sayin ...........Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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On 6/4/2021 at 4:46 PM, MDL said:

OK my mistake.  Took a wheel apart and got  some correct measurements  .  Bolts are 7/16 dia.  And 2 inches long from underside of head. Sorry for the confusion the modern bolts in rhe wheels looked to be 3/8 but are not.. thanks

I went digging around in a box of wheel hardware that I forgot about.  I know these are a bit longer than you require but if you can make them work they are yours for the shipping - so far I've dug out three, there may be more.  Just let me know if these will work and I will look to see if I can find more.   I have some slightly different ones where the head is bent up on one side for some reason and the head is larger than these ones.  I am only guessing that they are all off of cars as they came in a pile of pre-war stuff that I picked up before it went for scrap but I can't say for sure what a lot of it is.  

 

Don 

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I have sent a note to the fellow in England that is on this site about getting  the dimensions of the bolt head. I have communicated with him before but it takes a few days for a response . The bolts pictured above are not what I am looking for but thank you for your  effort. I think they are going to be in the 1 1/4 × 1 inch range. I will post size  once I  am sure  .  May have to go make them myself route.   Thanks for all the input on this.   Mark

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