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  • Getting Screws or Getting Screwed.

    Have you noticed the high cost of hardware? The price of fasteners are ridiculous! You might as well drill a 1/4” hole in a quarter, which would be cheaper than buying a standard zinc washer the same size.
    So today, I'm wiring some plugs and for a furnace for my shop. First stop was a electrical/plumbing supply house; picked up 4ea. 2 gang boxes, 1ea. 2 gang plug cover, 2ea. 20amp plugs, 1ea. 2gang blank cover and 2ea. 1/2” conduit connectors. My cost was $12.29, (as shown in the top of the pic) Since the supply house was out a few items, I had to make a second stop at our local hardware store (items shown at the bottom of the pic) and they are 4ea. 1/2” conduit connectors, and 1ea. 2 gang plug cover, the cost of these 5 items were $8.69!! Almost 75% of the supply house invoice!

    Since we use so many hardware items it increases the cost of whatever we build and makes it impossible to build something cheaper than store bought. The hardware stores are capitalizing on the DIY market. Ace hardware I find is double (if not more) than Home Depot or Lowes. Then they complain about Amazon and the inter-net. This reminds me of the 70’s when the American car makers were complaining about people buying Japanese car.

    I now am buying nuts and bolts at garage sales to restock my hoard.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • #2
    I picked up plastic organizers at estate and yard sales. Then I went to Tractor Supply, grabbed a handful of each length of common sizes, paid by the pound, and loaded up the organizers.
    I did the same for 6,8, and 10 screws with an order from bolt depot.

    It's wonderful to be in the middle of a project and just walk over and pick up the fastener you need. I put the number and sizes of the fasteners I use into my phone, and the next time I'm passing by Tractor Supply, I stop in and fill a bag to replenish the organizer.

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    • #3
      Buying onesie twosie from the bins at the big box stores will bankrupt you. Farm& Fleet here in the Midwest sells nuts, bolts, & washers by the pound. For sizes not available at F&F I use McMaster Carr. I used to go to Fastenal but they decided to sell business to business only.

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      • #4
        Instead of drilling a hole in a quarter for a washer, hang on to the slugs from those knock outs. You've got yourself a pile of free washers right there! :P

        You won't catch me buying hardware at Lowes, Ace Hardware, or the like. You can buy a box of 100 from McMaster (which is definitely not the cheapest place around for hardware) for the same cost as a bag of 2 at a place like Lowes... Plus I know if I order grade 5 or grade 8 at McMaster, that's what I'm getting. I'm pretty sure everything at Lowes is grade 2, even if it's stamped as grade 8

        Okay. I may be exaggerating slightly. But yeah, most "hardware" stores are not the best place to buy actual hardware.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wheels17 View Post
          I picked up plastic organizers at estate and yard sales. Then I went to Tractor Supply, grabbed a handful of each length of common sizes, paid by the pound, and loaded up the organizers.
          I did the same for 6,8, and 10 screws with an order from bolt depot.

          It's wonderful to be in the middle of a project and just walk over and pick up the fastener you need. I put the number and sizes of the fasteners I use into my phone, and the next time I'm passing by Tractor Supply, I stop in and fill a bag to replenish the organizer.
          +1 for Tractor Supply. Last I bought, the grade 8 cap screws nuts and washers were about $4/#. They do not carry the 10.9 equivalent of grade 8 in metric fasteners. Only the 8.8 metrics.

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          • #6
            There has got to be a decent fastener store near you somewhere. I am very lucky in that Fastenal (which I dislike) and Copperstate Bolt are both within a few miles of my shop with few lights or stop signs in between. BONUS! Copperstate is closer! Anyway I go out of my way NOT to buy that sort of hardware at most hardware stores. Often I can get 100 of something at Copperstate for the price of a handful at Lowes, Ace, or Home Depot. They'll sell just one (usually give it to me) or give me a small discount on 100ct boxes. Usually anything I need more than 3 of I buy atleast 100ct box of. I'll use it eventually for something.

            Example. Home Depot had a bolt I needed over the weekend. (3/8-16 1-1/4 stainless button head) $2.73 per bag. I needed 12 of them. How many were in a bag you might ask? ONE! I decided I'd wait until Monday. $27 and change (my price) for 100ct box. Cost me less money and I have enough extra to do the same job 7 more times. LOL.

            That being said, Home Depot does have 100ct boxes almost reasonably priced on things like plane old zinc plated washers. Just buy a box and you will have spares for next time.
            *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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            • #7
              Most hardware stores are specialized convenience stores. You pay for the convenience.

              Ed
              For just a little more, you can do it yourself!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ed_h View Post
                Most hardware stores are specialized convenience stores. You pay for the convenience.

                Ed
                What convenience?? Every time I go there they never have what I need.

                If you want slightly better prices you have to go to an industrial hard ware supply store, and even their prices are high.

                I bought some stainless hard ware a few days ago. 3 bolts 1/2"-13 x 1 3/4", SHCS, 5/16" x 1/2", 3/4" & 1", a dozen of each.

                24 1/4" AN washers and 24 5/16" AN washers and that cost me a little over $11.

                JL............

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Wheels17 View Post
                  I picked up plastic organizers at estate and yard sales. Then I went to Tractor Supply, grabbed a handful of each length of common sizes, paid by the pound, and loaded up the organizers.
                  I did the same for 6,8, and 10 screws with an order from bolt depot.

                  It's wonderful to be in the middle of a project and just walk over and pick up the fastener you need. I put the number and sizes of the fasteners I use into my phone, and the next time I'm passing by Tractor Supply, I stop in and fill a bag to replenish the organizer.
                  I did the same about 6-7 years ago. Whenever I notice I'm getting low of something I take a picture of all the organizers and head to TSC and restock up on the ones that are low by looking at the pics. Toss them all in a bag and bring them home for the kids to sort out . I've only got a couple more years before they realize it's not a fun game.

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                  • #10
                    Seems like around here,(southern Indiana) that supply houses, plumbing or electrical, seem to gouge an individual or small timer as bad as hardware stores. it is true that our local farm supply, Rural King sells bolt and nuts by the pound at reasonable rates. From Grainger on down, if you are not a well known contractor, look out.

                    Sarge41

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tungsten dipper View Post
                      You might as well drill a 1/4” hole in a quarter, which would be cheaper than buying a standard zinc washer the same size.
                      I would use a nickel instead. It is more appropriately sized and would only be one cent more expensive than I can buy them for here. You really need to stop buying these things from convenience stores.

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                      • #12
                        Most of the Ag Dealers Case,New Holland,John Deere,Agco,Fendt and so on usually sell by the # price can vary with Dealers being located side by side.

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                        • #13
                          I've been selling hardware besides doing everything else at work for nearly 30 years.Some things to consider-

                          25 years ago we inquired about a complete Midwest Fasteners stock not long after we started selling to the general public.At the time,the cost,wholesale,for the bins,displays and inventory (1/4-1" NC&NF) plus about 40 specialty hardware pull out trays IIRC was north of $25,000.Worse now with inflation.

                          Much of that inventory will sit on the shelf for years before it sells,if ever.Some states and locales charge inventory tax at years end on remaining inventory.

                          Inventorying fasteners,even with barcode readers and the like is PITA.

                          Even with barcode readers,someone must still stab the merchandise on the shelves/pegs and verify physical stock.

                          YOU guys know what you are looking for and given the opportunity will self-serve and find your own product.Most of the general public doesn't know what they want or need and requires service.

                          Typically we lose money on any bolt/fastener sale less than $15

                          Ever see a gallon of milk in the pet food section or a slab of Bacon in the magazine stand at the local grocery?You know how they got there right?Imagine 200 1/4 NF nuts,plunked back into the 1/4-20 NC bin...ya,it happens and we have to sort it out.

                          Pre-packaged anything costs more than bulk,always.

                          When you factor in all the various types,sizes,lengths,materials and grades of just common fasteners.You end up with about 40,000 unique items in inventory and that is before any of the specialty stuff.

                          Basically,small hardware sales to the general public is a net loss,that is why you see the high prices for ones and twos.

                          Why do we do it then?Because it gets people into the store and often times they buy other things while they are there.And if you have the inventory,in quantity,at a reasonable price and are knowledgeable,you will get plenty of business including the commercial bulk sales that will make you a profit.
                          I just need one more tool,just one!

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                          • #14
                            Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and almost any other local store is going to be expensive and they will have only limited stock. Ace seems to be the best as far as stock is concerned here in Beaumont, TX but their prices are expensive.

                            The farm supply stores (Orschelin, Tractor Supply) have bulk bolts, nuts, and washers priced by the pound. Just scoop out what you want and they weigh it. Different prices for different grades of bolt, but that's it. I get bags full there. But they are FARM supply places and that stock starts at 1/4" and goes up to 3/4" or so. Nothing smaller or larger.

                            For some time I have been using a policy that I developed over a few years of fighting these prices. At first I started to buy larger quantities of sizes that I needed and figured would need again. So if I needed a half dozen 6-32 x 1/2", I would buy a box of 100. The rest of the box would not go to waste. And I started a good system for stocking them so I could find them when I needed that size again. If you can't find it, you don't really have it. I learned that when I found myself and others buying the same electronic parts (often expensive OEM parts) over and over again at my places of employment. And time was often a very important factor there so finding a needed part already in house was a very important thing.

                            After doing that for a bit, I decided that there were just too many lengths of some screws. I mean, a #6 could be anywhere from 1/8" to several inches long, with over 15 different lengths in that range. Just too many sizes to buy boxes of 100. And then there were different heads: countersunk, round, pan, socket head cap screws, etc. Just too many varieties. So I found ways to cut them to the needed length and started to buy one or two lengths of each variety. So if I needed a 6-32 x 5/8" I grabbed the box of 100 one inch ones with the proper head and cut them down to 5/8". I always had the proper size. Well, almost always. Some types I bought two lengths so for the 6-32s I have 1" and 2" lengths.

                            Cutting 20 or 50 screws can be a bit of a chore, so I still buy full boxes of a specific size when I anticipate a need for larger numbers. But up to about 10 or 12 screws I cut to size.

                            I have purchased and developed tools for cutting them. The crimping tools for electrical terminals often have a series of cutting holes for shearing screws to whatever length you need while preserving the threads. I have made an accessory for my Dremel tool that cuts even more sizes, including fine threads. And I have developed a 3D printed fixture for holding larger bolts (1/4" and above) in my band saw for cutting them to length. I also have created special pliers to hold the small sizes for filing or grinding the burrs off the cut ends. That is a great way to save pain and injury to my fingers. This collection of tools makes the job of cutting them to the needed length a lot easier.

                            Places like McMaster and fastener supply houses will have prices that are a lot better when you buy in bulk. And, of course, there is the internet.
                            Paul A.

                            Make it fit.
                            You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tungsten dipper View Post
                              Have you noticed the high cost of hardware? The price of fasteners are ridiculous! You might as well drill a 1/4” hole in a quarter, which would be cheaper than buying a standard zinc washer the same size.
                              So today, I'm wiring some plugs and for a furnace for my shop. First stop was a electrical/plumbing supply house; picked up 4ea. 2 gang boxes, 1ea. 2 gang plug cover, 2ea. 20amp plugs, 1ea. 2gang blank cover and 2ea. 1/2” conduit connectors. My cost was $12.29, (as shown in the top of the pic)
                              I don't see what are you complaining, electrical hardware is dirt cheap in US compared to here.
                              https://www.taloon.com/jussi-pistora...penGroup=10490

                              Fasteners I buy in bulk from tractor supply/harbor freight equivalent. 3-4 usd/lbs is the normal price, if buying more(like hundred lbs at once) or bothering to order online from Germany! you get them to less than 2usd/lbs.

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