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The more time we spend in the shop, the more I find that it’s not always just what you know or how flashy your tools are — it’s what you have laying around the shop that counts.  Don’t get me wrong — know how and tools are very important — but all the know how in the world won’t help you if the project requires a 1/4-28 x 2 socket head cap bolt and you don’t have one.  The solution: keep a bunch of fasteners in the shop before you need them and save yourself a trip to go fetch one. 

Go to any home center or big box and stroll down the hardware aisle.  You’ll find quite a few hardware “starter kits” that contain popular sizes of fasteners.  Don’t be put off by knowing which one to get; that’s the beauty of having a load of hardware on hand.  It’s all the right kind.  Get them all!  Go nuts (pun intended) and get whatever suits your budget and catches your eye at the time.  Most sets are priced from $9, up to the larger sets that contain around 600 pieces priced at around $35. 

It doesn’t matter if you think you’ll never need that oddball bolt or washer now.  Give it time.  You’ll find a use for it somewhere down the line.

Street Pricing [Froogle]


3 Responses to Finds: Hardware Starter Kits

  1. Myself says:

    Chances are, the really interesting stuff won’t be in the kits either. Even the aisle-of-hardware at my local Ace only had a pretty-close match for the screws I wanted last week. (All they had was straightblade stainless bare, and I need philips black-oxide with captive washers, to be an exact replacement.)

    The aisle of hardware is done by Hillman, so I checked out their site. Unfortunately they don’t sell by the piece, they’re set up to supply hardware stores with “retail feet” of display. McMaster-Carr was my next stop, but their metric selection is anemic, particularly in small (M2, M2.5) diameters.

    If there were a hardware starter kit for laptop disassemblers, I’d have one by now. 🙂

  2. Nick Carter says:

    I find yard sales and estate sales are great for augmenting the hardware collection, and I have really scored at industrial auctions – sometimes you can get a whole steel drawer unit full of bolts, screws, what have you for much less than buying new. The great advantage is that my carport is in no danger of blowing away in a windstorm due to the tons of fasteners holding down the floor.

  3. jm says:

    McMaster’s NJ location is a one day UPS ground shipment away from my shop, so that’s where I turn. A box of screws is expensed to a project and the leftovers go into my own “Home Depot” wall of drawers. The design firm I was at had 20 years’ worth of this accumulation, their Home Depot was a walk-in closet in the shop. Still we were always ordering new stuff… one or two pieces is easy (with a little trimming to length) but you might not find 60 of the right size & finish, etc.

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