• What are Lift the Dot fasteners and how to fit

    Lift the Dot


    Lift the dot fasteners were first invented to hold curtains back on horse drawn carriages. They then moved into the military industry used for keeping satchels bags closed and also gun holsters shut. Due to their strength and durability they elevated onto the marine and automotive market. Lift the dots are unique as they are locked on three sides and can only be opened by "lifting the dot" on one side. This is always marked with a dot on the socket. The prongs on the socket come in two lengths to accommodate different thickness of material. There are many types of studs also, again to entertain the thickness of material or the material they are being fixed too. Lift the dot fasteners are now used on a wide range of things including classic car hoods, military satchels, marine covers, boat canopies, vintage pram covers, narrowboat cratch cover, pram hoods and we even had a cattery purchase quite a few to be used for attaching cat hammocks to scratching posts. 


    Made from heavy gauge brass,Nickel plated, Phosphor bronze spring used in the socket, Simple snap on - pull off action, fastener locks on three sides and will only detach from the third trademarked side

    Types of lift the dot fasteners

    Full range of lift the dot fasteners


    Lift the dot socket and plateThe lift the dot socket and plate. The two parts that attach to your canopy. Make sure to fit the socket the correct way up as you can only pull the fastener off from the marked DOT end. I tend to only sell the genuine DOT brand lift the dots. They have been around for years and used by 99% of canopy designers today.  

    Lift the dot socket and plate with long prongsIf your canvas / awning is slightly thicker than normal you can opted for the lift the dot socket and plate with longer prongs. This allows for multiple layers of canvas. 

    The prongs push through the canvas and into the plate on the other side where the prongs are then folded against the plate to hold in place.  

    Lift the dot clinch stud and washer for canvas to canvasThe lift the dot 2 prong stud and clinch plate are used when you want to attach a piece of canvas to another piece of canvas. No hole is needed to be cut either , just two slits in the material so the two prongs can be inserted through the canvas and into the washer on the other side. A very useful little fastener type. 

    Lift the dot short thread stud self taping woodscrewI have quite a few types of studs with self taping threads, threaded studs and nuts and machine threaded studs. The self taping short and long thread studs would be the most common. Although they are called self tap, you still need to drill a pilot hole and if fitting to gel coat I would advise on countersinking the hole because the gel coat could crack when tightening the stud.Lift the dot self tap long thread stud woodscrew So why chose the short or long then?? Its simple, some boats and classic cars have thin walls, so if you dont want a sharp point coming through the inside then use the short thread. They are both rigid and the short thread has enough thread to make it a good firm base. 


    Lift the dot 2 hole base stud screw down fastenerNext we have the 2 hole base studs. It's really down to personal preference if you prefer to use this stud or the self taping. Sometimes these ones are more easily removed or you can also fit whatever screw, nut or bolt you prefer through the holes. 


    Lift the dot 2 hole base with longer head stud fastenerThe lift the dot 2 hole base fastener comes in different sizes. The most common is the one above but if you maybe need to fit a thicker canvas over the stud by using the long prong socket or need to fit more than 1 socket and plate to the stud then this is the one to go for. It also has a thicker base as it usually would end up taking more strain.

    Lift the dot double height self tap machine threaded studAnother way to have two sockets on the one stud is to use the machine threaded self taping stud. again it will require a pilot hole drilled. This stud is very robust and the thread is slightly thicker than the two self tap above. All my lift the dots are compatible with each other.


    Lift the dot threaded stud and nut m5 x 10mmThe last studs to introduce you to are the threaded studs and nuts. These are great if you have access to the other side of the boat wall/deck or for car body work and materials that may not hold a self tap stud. Simply drill out a hole and fasten these studs and nuts. 








     Lift the dot threaded stud and nut long threadIf you require a longer threaded we also have the correct stud for you. We stock M5 x 10mm and M5 x 15mm. 


    Lift the dot double height threaded stud and nutIf you require two sockets to be attached to the one point we also have the double height lift the dot stud with M5 thread and nut. 


    2ba lift the dot stud machine threaded



    Lastly the 2BA machine threaded lift the dot stud.

    Used a lot on classic cars and vintage boats as the majority have now turned to the M5 thread. 


    Lift the dot hole punch tool

    But just before you go, here we have the lift the dot hole punch tool. With the aid of a hammer and using a striking action you can pre cut the hole and four slits needed in your fabric to make fitting the socket a much easier job. 

    All the lift the dot fasteners above can be found in our shop which can be accessed by the links across the top of the page. 

    If you have read the different types of lift the dot fasteners in part 1 you will be aware of their many functions and sizes. 

    Here I am going to describe how the socket and plate are fitted to a section of canvas. 


    How to fit lift the dot fastenerI am just using a few pieces of canvas cuttings for these fitting guides. Makes it easier to see each process.  


    How to fit lift the dot fasteners with lift the dot toolSo here we have the lift the dot socket and plate. Also our lift the dot hole punch which will come in very handy.
    The first thing to point out is the positioning of the socket. As you can only unlock these fasteners by lifting the dot. So you want to have it sitting with the dot along the edge of the material. (I am using a small section of canvas so it wont matter)

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners with lift the dot toolUsually the studs will already be in place so you should pull the canvas over your stud and mark where you feel the stud should come through your canvas. This will be where you place the hole part of the cutter, but make sure you have the cutter the correct way around as the 4 prongs are not evenly spread. They have 2 closer to the DOT and the other 2 are further apart. 

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners with lift the dot toolNow place a soft piece of wood under the canvas and strike the tool with a hammer. You may have to hit several times under you get this four slits and a nice cut hole in your canvas.
    So in this instance the fasteners dot part will be at the bottom (I spun the tool 90 degrees from the picture above) 

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners with lift the dot toolNow you can insert the socket through the holes made by the hole punch and then place the washer over these four prongs

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners with lift the dot toolUsing the tool or the claw of the hammer you can now start to bend the four prongs down against the washer. Press them as far as they will go making it a nice tight fit. 

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners with lift the dot toolIt should now look like this. All four prongs press down against the washer 

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners with lift the dot toolThe lift the dot socket is now ready to be fixed to any of the lift the dot studs.

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners with lift the dot toolIf you are wanting to attach canvas to canvas by using lift the dot fasteners then you need to also purchase the clinch stud and washer.

    I will explain the fitting techique without the use off fancy tools.

    Simply press the fastener down against the canvas

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners canvas to canvasYou should have created to indents in your canvas and with a leather knife of sharp blade just cut open these two indents 2mm - 4mm wide.

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners canvas to canvasInsert the two prongs through the canvas and into the backing plate as shown  

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners canvas to canvasThen press the two prongs down against the plate so they are as flat as you can manage

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners canvas to canvasThe two fasteners are now ready to be fixed to one another. 

    Just remember the socket and plate can only be unlocked from one side where as the clinch stud can be fixed anyway round. 

    How to fit lift the dot fasteners canvas to canvasSo there you have it. All the studs are usually fitted be drilling a pilot hole and screwing them in. 





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