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I am designing a chair that has an adjustable length. I want to have 1/4" steel pins that go through a hole in a bracket, through a 2x4, and come out to go through a hole in the other side of the bracket.

I want to install metal tubes in the 2x4 to prevent fretting; I want non-threaded inserts long enough to go through a 2x4 (I'm not sure which direction yet). I cannot even find a name for this hardware, let alone a vendor.

Any information is welcome

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    It sounds like you're looking for metal tubing rather than "inserts" per se. Is that what you're after? LIke a "liner" for the wood to protect it against the bolt or pin? I expect you can find this in various materials at a competent hardware store. I would expect you could find it in brass, aluminum, and probably hot-rolled mild steel. You might need to be flexible on size as I don't think inside diameter is the key spec for those items. Here's one supplier if that's what you're after: speedymetals.com/s-204-round-tube.aspx
    – scanny
    Jan 12 '17 at 5:57
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    I was composing my Answer but something occurred to me, so can I just check whether you just need the rods to slide through the wood, not to disengage and be reinserted multiple times? If that's so wouldn't lubricating the holes with wax or graphite provide you with a good enough service life? It works for older all-wood vices so the principle is definitely sound.
    – Graphus
    Jan 12 '17 at 10:14
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    Google "brass threaded insert" and look at images. You could screw these in securely, then drill out the interior threads. 1/4" is common. Jan 12 '17 at 15:17
  • scanny: that's a great answer Jan 13 '17 at 8:44
  • Graphus: this is for a chair design. I cannot trust consumers to treat parts respectfully. Thank you for your idea; it would be perfect in a different context Jan 13 '17 at 8:45
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The name for hardware that has a metal shaft sliding through it is bushing:

Flanged bushing

However it will be difficult to find one long enough to go all the way through a 2x4. So like scanny suggested, you might just buy a length of metal tube and use that.

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    Perhaps you could insert a bushing into each end of the hole.
    – Chris H
    Jan 12 '17 at 13:33
  • Actually, that might be a great compromise. Thanks Jan 13 '17 at 8:47
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I found them as 'sleeve bearings' on Fastenal.

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