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Where do you buy your shop supplies?

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  • Where do you buy your shop supplies?

    I need to replenish a bunch of different grinding/sanding disc's/belts, dust masks, ear plugs, etc. Do you guys usually buy this kind of stuff locally or online?

    A couple guys have said to go to HF to get this kind of stuff as they do have good prices. However, I've found that my local HF almost never has this kind of stuff in stock. Not to mention the last box of 24 grit 4" grinding disc's I got from there sure didn't seam to last very long.

    How about ordering online, is there any savings? I'm in Washington state, if I order online will I have to pay sales tax at:

    1. MSC?
    2. Mcmaster?
    3. Enco?
    4. Insert favorite online supplier here?

    Other local options for me:
    1. Home depot - don't have the greatest selection.
    2. Grainger - Seems expensive.
    3. Local independent hardware store - is very expensive.


  • #2
    My usual list of suspects: for oddball stuff for other oddball stuff

    Unless a distributor has a facility located in your state, I don't think you'll have to pay sales tax.
    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
    Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


    • #3
      I am also in Washington State, and I live 20 minutes from the nearest town, an hour easy round trip by the time you buy something.
      So I tend to buy a fair amount online- its not the cheapest, but it sure is convenient.

      I get all my abrasives from Klingspor- I have been buying from them for almost 20 years now, never had a product disappoint me. I am in business, so I have a business account with them, get wholesale prices. I am not sure, but I think the minimum order is $50 or $75.
      I get the BEST sanding discs, belts, flap discs for the grinders, discs for the da and random orbit sanders- its much cheaper than good stuff at the hardware store.

      I tend to buy a lot from MSC- mostly for the convenience, and the selection. My local hardware store, Hardware Sales in Bellingham, is one of the best in the country- I even bought my forklift there- but they dont have machinist supplies, or more industrial stuff.
      There used to be industrial suppliers all over the south end of Seattle, but there are almost none left, and MSC always has it.

      I save Grainger for motors, electrical, and big heavy things- I can pickup at the Bellingham store, and not pay freight, for things like metal cabinets, low bay lights, or other stuff that is too big to ship UPS from MSC.
      Plus, the Bellingham Grainger has free pop for walk-in customers- such a deal!


      • #4
        I just bought some sanding discs off ebay from seller barbkat, they seem to be reasonable. ...Bob

        Bob Wright
        Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill
        Bob Wright
        Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill


        • #5
          Wayne: Got a Fastenal or a Taacoma Screw Products nearby? I don't blame you for lowballing abrasive disks and belts for more things. Most anything woks on bare wood so long as its sharp.

          It's my experience that the pricier abrasive product is money well spent for metal finishing. You can get much better prices if you buy in package quantities although the price for ten 6 x 48 belts or fifty 4" disks might make you swallow hard.


          • #6
            I'll second Klingspor, Jantz, and Brownells for the stuff they carry. I usually buy local, or phone/mail orders. I am still not "comfortable" with online sales.

            Two locals, to the east is the "barn" and to the west is the "chicken coop". Between the two old guys that run these "stores", I can get just about anything, if I want to wait a little time. They are cigar smoke and whisky tradesmen, when you buy from them a few times, they will look for what you want and keep it in the back until they call you. Sort of like a tools and machinery pawn shops. One is more WW and welding, the other is more metalworking, but they over lap.

            Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."
            Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."


            • #7
              I bought some 6" 80grit PSA's from HF once. They were supposed to be made in Canada by a usually good source for abrasives. They were crap. The glue was gummy, probably from age, and they wore in about 1/10 the time of my others. You couldn't pull the disk off without the abrasive layer separating from the glue layer. (cheap paper)

              Being in auto paint, I get most of my stuff at the auto paint supplier in the big city. They carry everything you listed except maybe the sanding belts. If I don't need it that day, I order it online from these folks:


              Just about all the tool suppliers carry abrasives. Do your shopping and get the best price on Name Brand stock. It's not worth the savings to buy cheap abrasives (sand papers) because they wear out faster and you use more.


              • #8
                I get nearly all of my abrasives supplies from my wife. She manages a local company that sells a full line and I do the ocassional job for her. The other day I had to open the hole on an expensive diamond wheel from 1.25" to 32mm. The salesman made a mistake. Another time a customer screwed up and special ordered a $600 borazon wheel with the wrong spindle hole. I fixed that one too.

                Both these customers have machinists on staff but in both cases they didn't want to even touch the wheels. I get them to within a couple of tenths, +.0003 -0.0.

                In return I get some pretty neat goodies like small borazon wheels and a large assortment of AO and other wheels as well as diamond dressers and grits and other stuff. I can also make use of her lathe and mill although I haven't to date. I would rather use my own equipment. However, former owner of the business did give me my big Strands drill press as a Christmas present a couple of years ago.

                Incidentally, all the products my wife sells are made in North America, either Canada or the USA, no exceptions. That includes machine tools like planer knife grinders, special purpose mills and things like babbit pots.

                For general tooling I often buy from a local job shop as they carry only the highest quality brands like Dormer. They are expensive but not that bad compared to busting a tap in a high value part.

                Other supplies I buy mostly by mail order from all over North America. I have been mail ordering stuff since I was a kid and have never had a problem with it except for the occasional problem with Canadian customs.

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                • #9
                  Wholesale Tool is just twenty minutes away from me. I am there once a week on average. Other sources are Tractor Supply and the local Ace Hardware store.


                  • #10
                    Hey Evan, any chance teh company your better half works for sells online? Would also like to know if they have a Canadian branch?!?


                    • #11

                      You have mail.
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                      • #12
                        You may give J&L Industiral Supply a try. I have had good luck when I have used them.


                        They have a good selection of tools and expendables. As with anything else, shop your price and make decisions accordingly.
                        Why buy it for $2 when you can make it for $20


                        • #13
                          aa, you're right about barbcat. Always good products.



                          • #14

                            over the years, I have bought products out of Canada... never a problem.. but I don't think that folks have really considered the potential.. No sales tax if out of Canada. Seems a great potential for a mail order full-filment company... :> aka Amazon or etc...

                            any insight?



                            • #15
                              "Seems a great potential for a mail order full-filment company... "

                              Well, the prescription drug sales from Canada are booming in the USA. Right now and in the forseeable future the strong Canadian dollar vs the US dollar is going to reduce the advantage to buying from Canada. It's great for those who sell imported goods in Canada like myself and my wife.
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