The sun rises, the sky is blue, dogs bark, and threading sheet metal sucks. Fortunately, there are lots of little shortcuts, but most of them require very soft materials, welding, or special installation tools. One type, the captive nut (also known as an insert nut) requires none of the above. An arbor press or a careful hammer blow will do just fine, and they can work with very thin materials.
While captive nuts are not exactly new, they’re surprisingly rare, but McMaster-Carr is an excellent source for these parts. They’re available in most small ANSI inch and ANSI metric thread pitches, and at around $5 for a pack of ten, it’s a small price to pay for not needing to worry about losing track of tiny parts.
Captive Nuts [McMaster-Carr]
GMP Tools manufactures pentagonal head bolts to secure manhole covers. That’s right, not square, not hex, but pentagonal — another case of security through obscurity. Of course, if you sell bolts with heads that have an odd number of sides you need to supply the corresponding tools to turn them, so they also sell two different sockets: one with a 7/16″ hex drive for impact tools, another with a 19mm hole which you can turn with a rod.
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A standard hose clamp doesn’t work very well for clamping a spiral hose such as that found in dust collection systems. It has to clamp over one of the coils which can make a less-than-airtight connection. To solve this problem you can use a bridge hose clamp which has an offset connector that crosses over the coil without crushing it.
Made for right-hand spiraling hoses, the Rockler version of this clamp goes as far as replacing the usually frustrating screw head with a thumb screw and extends the shaft to give your fingers more clearance while turning the screw.
A five pack of the Rockler style 2-1/2″ clamps will run you $8 and a five-pack of 4″ clamps will run you $10. Other retailers sell similar products for both right- and left-hand spiraling hoses, but it seems only Rockler sells bridge hose clamps with the thumbscrew.
Use TapeNIX temporary pulls anytime you haven’t put pulls on the cabinet or drawers, but still need to easily open and close them. Presumably they are so named because Anthony LaFemina created them to replace the blue tape he saw being used as temporary pulls.
Made in the USA, TapeNIX pulls slide over cabinets and drawer faces up to 3/4″ thick. Simply slide them off once you’ve installed the permanent pulls.
A bag of 10 TapeNIX pulls shipped from McFeely’s will run you $12, but you get a better price break at 100 pcs. — $33 shipped.
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