I am making a live edge shelf, similar to this, with my cousin. It will be about 3 feet long, 8 inches deep, and 1 inch thick.

I want to attach beer taps too it about every 5-6 inches, but I am afraid that the wood will crack because of the thickness of the screw on the tap.

This is purely for show, they won't be touched.

I found these little things, but I'm not sure exactly what they do.

Best way to approach this?

Any recommendations on method, wood choice, etc are welcomed.

Pictures of a tap:

enter image description here enter image description here

  • There is an additional detail that I should have thought of when writing and that is about alignment of screwed-in elements in relation to the grain of the wood. With screws driven into straight-grained wood you take pains not to have a row of screws (even two of them) in a line as this greatly increases the chances of splitting, regardless of pre-drilled holes. Since presumably you can't alter the positions of the taps here how straight is the grain in the board you're using?
    – Graphus
    Apr 6, 2018 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


The hanger bolts you've linked are primarily for attaching something with holes to a wood item. You've got the right idea but should be considering the inversion of the machine threaded portion.

Look for threaded inserts for wood. You would have to drill a reasonably larger hole in the wood, force the insert into the hole (usually with a screwdriver, sometimes a hex key) and then thread your tap handle into the insert.

insert for hard wood

The above image is listed as an insert for hard wood. Depending on how tightly the grain lines are on your live edge, you may want to use an insert for soft wood:

soft wood insert

By appearance, I'd guess that the threads on the tap are 1/4-20 and the inserts linked above are available in that thread type. You can take your tap to the local hardware store to match up the thread if you are not certain. You may also find that the big box stores and hardware stores will carry these products.

You should also discover that the product will provide the necessary hole size to be drilled in order to properly use the insert. I've also discovered that the hardwood inserts require to be tapped with a standard tap, an additional expense for your project. It appears from the product information that the softwood inserts can be directly driven. If the wood is not soft enough, the insert will probably be rendered useless.

  • I believe most Tap Handles are 3/8-16.
    – Chuck S
    Apr 2, 2018 at 19:21
  • So would the threaded bolt get inserted into one of these taps after they have been screwed into the wood? Apr 9, 2018 at 3:28
  • That's correct.
    – fred_dot_u
    Apr 9, 2018 at 9:23

I am afraid that the wood will crack because of the thickness of the screw on the tap.

Two words: pilot hole.

This is exactly what pilot holes are for, to prevent something that screws into wood from splitting it*.

To find the size of hole you need, identify the minor diameter by measuring across the bottom of the threads. That's about the right size for the pilot hole, although you can go a bit smaller or larger in some cases (smaller for softer woods, larger for harder woods).

If unsure you have the correct diameter do run a test on an offcut of the wood you're using before screwing into your live-edge board.

Note: something that may not be obvious, some experimentation is likely to also be required to get these all screwed fully home while facing exactly forward. Just as when "clocking" screws expect to have to do some tweaking!

*Also used with nails in some circumstances.

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