I'm attempting to make the rigid equivelent of a gate tensioner/turnbuckle. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I like the idea of not fussing with cables
  2. I'm using this experience to learn about the technology behind the turnbuckle

I've mocked up something that almost works. I've connected two hook-bolts to a threaded rod (5/16-18-36") via connectors.

It seemed like it would work in my head; I thought I would just be able to tighten one of the connectors to tension the gate. However, in practice, all I accomplish when tightening a connector is tightening one side, but then loosening the other side. The devise comes apart and fails miserably.

What kind of mechanism would it take to make this work as expected? In summary, I want to shorten the length of the device/rod by tightening a connector.

enter image description here

enter image description here

For bonus points: What is the principle called in Mechanical Engineering theory that would explain the problem where one side tightens, but the other side loosens?

  • $\begingroup$ Why are you using two turnbuckles, why not just use one - possibly located more centrally? Also, when you you the term " other side" do you mean other end? $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 1:48

2 Answers 2


To make this work, one side will need the "normal" righthand thread and the other a lefthand thread or a rotating connection , but threads on both ends of the nut will not change the tension.


I managed to find a turnbuckle that had thread that fit standard threaded rod.

Note: Turnbuckles seem to often have non-standard thread. Maybe the thread is tighter for the heavy loads they sustain (relative to the length of thread)?

I used a turnbuckle and replaced one of the hooks with a threaded rod (bent in a hook shape). All parts have 3/8" thread.

It seems to do the job well enough.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ For readers from Canada: I found the turnbuckle with standard thread at Home Hardware. $\endgroup$
    – User1974
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ You forgot to point out why this works. As explained by @SolarMike the top hook has a reverse thread on it. It's visible in the photo. $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 20:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.