row2k Features
Rowing Hack: Meet the Castellated Nut
December 16, 2021
John FX Flynn

Photo by Craig Schiff

We've shared a few slick custom-made tools for loosening wing-nuts over the years, but Craig Schiff from the Yankee Rowing Club clued us in to a tool for this job that needs no making at all. Meet the Castellated Nut, and start making short work of the over-tightened wing nuts in your life.

Also called a Castle Nut, this is a bit of hardware that we don't see much in rowing, but it just so happens to fill the "wing-nut tool" niche pretty neatly: the castled notches will grab the wings of the nut you need to loosen, and it easily fits in your hand (not to mention taking up very little room in your toolbox or pocket).

The other place a Castellated Nut fits easily? Down through the port holes in the deck, for those times when you need to get at the wing nuts that hold the tracks. Those track fasteners are some of the trickiest parts to reach on a shell, as anyone knows who has had to contort their arm to get leverage on a wing-nut down under the deck.

Photo by Craig Schiff
Photo by Craig Schiff

In fact, when it comes to adjusting the tracks, you would be hard-pressed to have enough clearance down in the hull to get much traction with our usual wing nut hacks, like the Wing Nut Stick or the Broken Hammer Handle-er, and even a small crescent wrench never works all that well. The Castellated Nut, though, fits right on the wing nut without needing room for a handle and gives you just the right amount of grip to spin them loose--or to tighten things up and keep the tracks from sliding out of position in the first place.

Schiff's hack reminds us of another way we looked at to use a bit of hardware to attack wing-nuts--those old Rigger Clamps--but there are not too many of those pre-Euro rigger parts floating around anymore, whereas you can pick up a Castellated Nut cheaply at any hardware store.

We did get one bit of hack advice from Schiff: "Just make sure you grab a Castle Nut large enough for your paw to grip securely. It doesn’t have to even fit the wing nut, as long as it catches the edges." He also pointed out that you could get fancy and spot weld a T handle to it for some extra torque, but that could limit the "under deck" usefulness of the Nut.

Have a good trick that you use to outfit your toolkit? If so, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

If you have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion, then please send it to us, like Craig Schiff did, and we will feature your idea in a future column.

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Log in to comment
01/20/2022  9:57:27 AM
I have found the thumbwheel ratchet from Harbor Freight combined with a 3/4" socket works great.

12/19/2021  11:33:04 AM
Just 3D print one

Jim Cooper
12/18/2021  1:20:28 PM
Jeez. I only wish *I* had thought of this one. Brilliant. (I have a few makeshift tools to do the same thing. None as good as this.)

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