The Easiest Way to Remove an Eyebolt

Updated: Aug. 31, 2023

Removing eyebolts improperly can cause physical strain or damage the hardware. Fortunately, this hack makes safe removal simpler than ever.

The most common complaint when using eyebolts is that they are difficult to remove. This is because their unique shape does not accommodate a screwdriver in the same way as other hardware does. New users may hurt their hands or else bend or damage the eyebolt in their attempts to remove it, thereby compromising its quality and suitability for the next job.

Fortunately, a couple of genius hacks exist for removing eyebolts safely and easily, so you can make the most of this heavy-duty rigging hardware.

What Is an Eyebolt and Why Would You Use One?

Eyebolts are a common piece of hardware, consisting of a threaded shank with an eye at one end, through which a rope or cable can pass. Typically, they are screwed into wood or steel. They come in three main forms—the screw eye bolt, the machinery eye bolt and the nut eye bolt. But no matter the variety, eyebolts are essential tools for safe and secure materials handling. They are also helpful for securing tools or anchoring furniture for earthquake safety. Here are a few tips for assembling earthquake kit.

Eyebolts—no matter whether they’re screw-in or use nuts—all come in either plain or shoulder varieties. A shouldered eyebolt has a lip of enforcement on the shaft, just below the eye, whereas a plain eyebolt does not. This reduces the risk of bending while lifting. Both plain and shoulder eyebolts work for vertical (in-line) lifts. However, only shouldered eyebolts should be used for lifting at any angle, no matter how slight.

Beyond the angle of the lift, the material the eyebolt will be screwed into and the weight of the lift will determine which eyebolt to use. For example, screw eyebolts are best when used on wood and for light loads only. Machinery eyebolts are best suited to heavy loads and, when shouldered, can bear a lift at up to a 45° angle.

How to Remove an Eyebolt

There are two main ways to safely remove an eyebolt. The first way has been recently popularized on TikTok by construction worker Sam Irwin (@constructiontips). In the video, he simply threads a ratchet through the eye, then cranks it to unscrew the eyebolt. In a pinch, this hack also works with any strong, narrow metal rod, such as a screwdriver shaft.

@constructiontips #eyebolt #ratchet ♬ original sound – Sam Irwin

Additionally, if you have a power drill and an Allen wrench, you can simply fir the drill with the wrench, thread the short end through the eye, then turn on the drill to unscrew the eyebolt. Note that using this method increases the risk of slippage, so be careful.

Other Tips for Using Eyebolts

In addition to ensuring you’re choosing the right eyebolt for the job, there are numerous tips to employ when using eyebolts. Here are a few of the key ones:

  • Check your eyebolts for damage before use. Inspect them carefully. If you see any nicks, rust, corrosion or bending, do not use the eyebolt.
  • Never overload your eyebolt. Check the manufacturing ratings on your bolt, or ask a trusted hardware professional if your hardware is up for the task.
  • Never alter eyebolts. Do not paint them, as this reduces visibility for any potential damage that can render the hardware unsafe.
  • Use the right number of eyebolts. A single eyebolt should never be used for a freely rotating load. Add a second bolt to keep the lift steady and safe.
  • Use shackles when appropriate. Do not simply thread a hook through an eyebolt, as this increases the risk of bending or breaking. Instead, secure the connection with a shackle.
  • Mind the temperature. Never use eyebolts at temperatures below -1 degree Celsius (30.2 degrees Fahrenheit). This also increases the risk of breakage.

If you follow these tips, your eyebolts will serve you and your rigging projects well for years to come! While you’re at it, be sure to invest in other critical lifting supplies like chains, rollers and harnesses to protect your body from undue strain.