Installing Glue In Bolts - Monster Crux with Hilti V3 500
The Bolting Bible
The Book of Installing Glue In's
“If the hole isn’t clean, it can be really risky!”
Welcome to our free course as our way of contributing to the bolting community. It's nice to understand what you are clipping and trusting with your life, even if you never plan on installing or removing bolts. Also, if someone is going to spend their time and money to bolt something, I assume, they probably want to do it as good as possible. Hopefully the Bolting Bible gives you the tools you need to do a great job. Get it?
Our courses are A-Z content in blog format, glued together with an over arching blog we call a text book. A blog format is easy to read, easy to update, and easy to translate. Be sure to begin at the TEXTBOOK and at the end of each episode we'll point you to the next.
If you have the right bolt and the right glue and the right stoke, you can still screw (or glue, get it?), this up and kill someone. You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to install a glue in bolt, but you DO have to do the simple instructions or you can kill someone. Let’s emphasize the killing someone real quick. This isn’t about long term vs short term anchors here. We are talking about them coming out, AKA killing someone if they don’t get put in correctly.
Another way to fail, that has less consequence, is by failing to actually install the bolts you set out to do. You spent weeks reading the Bolting Bible, spent a bunch of money, used a good weather weekend, and you get there and find out the plunger is too big on your dispenser to push out the glue. Or that cheap caulk guns are too weak to push cold glue out. You could run out of battery before you finish drilling, or find out you left the extension tips to your mixing tips at home... so now you can’t put the glue in the back of the hole, after you cut open your tube! Nope, none of these have ever happened to me… nope… not me! Taking preparation and installation seriously can make you a bad-ass, otherwise you might just be a dumb-ass!
● Bolts, duh! The softer the rock, the longer you want your bolt.
● Glue cartridge + Dispenser ...OR Capsules
○ Spare mixing tips and extension tips
○ NOTE: 10oz fills roughly 10 ½” holes but if you have to change out mixing tips often,
you lose quite a bit each time you change one.
● Drill, and correct size bit, plus spare bits
● Safety goggles
● Face mask - rock dust isn’t good for you.
● Ear plugs if drilling a lot
● Pipe cleaner and blow pump (for really clean holes!)
● Rubber gloves and paper towels! It can get messy.
● Tape for a perimeter around notch so it doesn’t ooze everywhere AND for making a depth
marker on your drill bit.
● Cotton swabs for detailing in case it oozes out a lot
● Bag for garbage
● Bag for testing mixture (see “Filling Hole” below)
● Plastic or covered Hammer (For bolts with a tight fit)
● Rubber hammer for tight fitting glue in bolts
● Heart full of stoke and a car full of friends!
● Bag to go on your harness for installs in the vertical world
TRAINING and PREPARATION
Please please don’t let your first glue in bolt be anywhere important. Do several in your backyard or your parents backyard or the backyard of someone you don’t like when they are out of town (kidding! Just kidding! Jeez). If you think that would be an eyesore, now you know how all the whiners feel that complain about over bolting. You can read this Glue In Section 100x, but you will always have kinks to work out, and kinky stuff should be done at home.
Practice also helps you verify you have the right drill type, bit type, bit size, glue accessories, amount of glue, cleaning tools AND TECHNIQUE. Or... you can just wing it and go learn in a popular area, but just make sure you put your name on it so we know who to troll!
Can you answer the following questions about what is in your bolt kit bag?
1. What are the min and max cure temperatures?
a. What temperature will it be when I install these?
b. Can the glue even be installed at the installation temperature?
2. What is the nozzle time? (how long can it sit in nozzle before you have to put a new one
a. Do I have spare nozzles
b. Do I have spare extension tips to get the glue in the back of the hole?
3. What is the working time so I don’t ruin the bond before it is cured?
4. Will this glue run out of a hole if I put it in horizontal or in an overhanging rock?
5. What is the cure time for low, medium and high
a. When do I plan on climbing or highlining on
6. Did I charge my batteries for my drill? Do I have spare
7. How deep do I need to drill, and will I need a notch?
8. Do I have a way to keep things clean and tidy?
9. How many holes can I fill up with one tube?
10.Do I have the right bolt for my glue capsule (angled
end for screw install and blunt end for hammer install!)
11.How am I going to put warnings on my bolt if it requires several hours to cure so no one
uses them after I leave?
12.Does the fluid move in my glue capsules?
13.How long has my glue cartridge sat on my shelf?
14.Do I have the proper pipe cleaner and blower to get a really clean hole?
All glue in bolts have an intended hole size. Solid leg bolts are going to slip right in and bolts made with continuous rods (without welds) might have to be pounded in. Wave bolts act like a piton and take a lot of pounding and the Titan bolt takes a mild tap as the neck gets tight at the top.
If these holes were drilled too big, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, you just lose a nice feature that they have of not falling out and you would be wasting glue. Some glue ins require a notch so the bolt is inset a bit. To make a notch for a bolt you have 3 options.
Drill a ½” deep hole about an inch or so away from hole and then tilt the drill bit 45 degrees towards the main hole. OR stick the drill bit inside the main hole and tilt it a lot and drill away from
the hole. OR drill 3 straight down holes, ½” deep, next to your main hole.
CAUTION: If the notch is too deep, you lose a lot of space in your eye, limiting what can be clipped to it. And if it is excessively deep, it could force the rope to sit on the rock creating abrasion. PLEASE: Make sure the direction the bolt is facing is the direction of the force. It is pretty easy to guess in climbing situations… straight down! But if you are building a highline 3 point anchor 2 feet from a cliff edge, what angle will those outside bolts be???
TIP: Use a smaller drill bit to notch. This way it barely fits and thus has a much smaller glue profile, assuming you use duct tape to minimize the ooze.
This is a huge fear when an experienced bolter hears a new bolter is stoked to go install glue ins. If the holes aren’t cleaned really really well, someone could very likely die. Really clean it! That requires a pipe cleaner AND a blow tool. A blow tube and your lungs aren’t enough, even if you are really good at blowing so get a dust blower like this pump, or Hilti's pump .
A can of air also can do 20 to 30 holes and is light. A Battery Powered blower compatible with your drill battery can also be a gamer changer. A wire brush tube/pipe cleaner can be bought from anywhere. Regardless of how rough or porous the rock is, drilling a hole polishes the sides of the hole, so in order to get the glue to bond with the rock (which in case you don’t know, that is important, and if you don’t know that, please don’t put any of these in), the rock can’t have any dust film on the sides. Do a fun experiment at home, put super fine construction dust on your granite countertops at home, then try blowing them clean… blow hard… even with an air compressor you can’t get it truly clean.
Same with the wire brush, you can’t JUST use the brush. Blow then brush, again and again and again until it is super clean. Always start with the blow.
Update: Vynlester is more susceptible to coming out when the hole is not clean. After many tests with epoxy in BoltBusters, the bolt failed first or the bolt pulled out of the hole, leaving the glue in the hole. Glue does NOT stick to the metal, so much so that the twist bolts from BoltProducts will untwist out of the hole when pulling straight out (at insanely high forces) but the glue will stay in the hole. We got epoxy to fail but only with threaded rod shafts because the threaded rod holds the glue really well. It also took a super dirty holes and we pulled it straight out and at 10,000lbs or 44kn as you can see in this EPISODE.
Another reason to use epoxy! BoltProduct’s test of a 10kn failure with a dirty hole compared to a 34kn failure with a clean hole was with polyester - the cheapest and weakest of glues. Regardless, STILL CLEAN YOUR HOLES for whatever glue you use but it’s nice to know we can be nicer to people who didn’t do it perfectly.
If you don't have the brush or tube to clean it really well and you are mid-install here is a tip: Fill the hole 1/3rd the way up with glue, stick the bolt in it and more or less f*** the hole aggressively. You can mix the glue with the dust and work the glue onto the sides of the hole so there is solid contact. Pull out the bolt, fill it up to the proper amount and put the well covered shaft back in the hole and you have super good enough contact with both the rock and the bolt.
TEST AND CHECK
Dry fit the bolts, if possible, to make sure it will work. If you are putting a wave bolt into a ½” hole then you can’t do this but you can verify with a stick or the tube cleaner that the depth is perfect (too deep is better than too shallow). The biggest crux is to make sure your notch isn’t too deep or restricting the bolt from being the angle you want. Get all your stuff laid out and ready, cus when you start gluing, the working time clock is ticking. Know your working time, because if you are using Powers AC100+, and it is hot out, AND it takes you more than 1 minute to get to the next bolt, or even spend more than 30 seconds hammering in a wave bolt… you will need a lot of mixing nozzles and therefore won’t be able to fill as many holes as you think with each tube of glue. For climbing, drill and clean on your way up a route, then glue and install on your way down the rope as this will have shorter transition times. See that in this EPISODE.
Believe it or not, bolting companies are not lining up to sponsor us; mostly because there is no money in such a niche industry. $1 per episode helps a ton and so does grabbing MERCH if something grabs your eye. Lots of designs and options.
CARTRIDGE: If you’re 100% ready to start, cut your glue cartridge open, squeeze just a bit without the nozzle to see that both colors are coming out, then install the mixing nozzle. But… before you start shoving your tip inside of holes, make sure what’s “coming” out is safe! You can’t just put the first squeeze into the hole. This is one of the main reasons you will want paper towels. Squeeze a COUPLE times to make sure it is mixed properly, which you can generally tell by the color.
THEN grab a ziplock bag and squeeze a quarter size amount into the corner. Only after all that… start putting it in the hole. This ziplock bag is so you can check later to make sure your first squeeze of glue hardened.
Jim Titt from Bolt-products.com said in a Mountain Project thread “over a period of 7 years the DAV recorded 17 failed resin bolts… one climber died.” VERY IMPORTANT… Start in the back of the hole and work your way out. Don’t fill it up to the very top because the bolt will push out the amount of space it replaces. Somewhere around ¾ full is good. When you are done, squeeze some into the other corner of the bag and take it home as a souvenir… also to check your first and last squeeze to make sure both get rock hard. If they don’t, it didn’t mix right! Battery powered dispensers can help mix the glue more evenly and just be easier than a manual dispenser but they definitely cost more.
How much glue do you need? You can get almost 20 bolts out of a 10oz AC glue cartridge if they are ⅜” (10mm) and short. I was barely able to do 8 when I used Hilti 500 v3 glue on long Crux Monsters.
HAMMER CAPSULES: Spin the capsule around a couple times to make sure all the resin is in liquid form because if it isn’t it won’t mix correctly. You are literally shoving harder around it so it has to be liquid. Insert with the hardener facing up. If you think of it like a cigarette, then what looks like the filter, is closest to the top of the hole. That is the hardener and if it isn’t at the top you aren’t going to be mixing anything. The capsules are glass and you are smashing a bolt through it, so wear safety goggles. Your bolt has to have a flat/blunt end. A tapered end won’t push the hardener down into the resin.