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Old 07-22-2011, 09:53 AM   #1
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nuts, bolts, screws, etc collection

I'm sick of having to run out to the hardware store every time I need a screw or bolt of particular type or size. Does anybody have suggestions on how to put together a collection of various sizes? Where can these be purchased cheaply? Home depot can be really pricey.

If I do put a collection together, what do you recommend I purchase that would cover most home repair situations?


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Old 07-22-2011, 01:25 PM   #2
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Try one of these?

Do note, however, these are not real high quality. They work just fine for most home fixes, but I wouldn't, say, assemble a bunk bed with this stuff.

I have a similar set that has served me well over the years. Just think about whether safety is an issue.


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Old 07-22-2011, 02:42 PM   #3
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several other suppliers via a Google search.

Home Depot has boxes with several of a perticular size - I buy those when I am there after a few pieces for a perticular task - cheaper and over the years, have assembled a pretty good on-hand stock.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:42 PM   #4
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The one thing you really need, is never going to be in the standard assortment so I think those assortments they sell are more or less a waste. Big Lots, a liquidator, sometimes has assortments of hardened fasteners that seem almost tempting and they toss in the thing to hold them.

You also have a better idea of what you use then those who put standard assortments together. For example, I used do a lot of fine art hanging for galleries and their clients and have never found the standard assortment of framing hooks to be at all useful. Friends that hang drapes and blinds no better than to even try the screws shipped with things and stock up on what they need in terms of screws and anchors.

HD and all do get expensive and the quality of fasteners is not so great. And for some reason, if you need six, the box stores never have but five and cannot tell you when or if they will get more of "What was that hardware you were asking about?" And you will have to buy five when they do come in whether you need them or not.

I still love my local guys with bins of individual screws, nuts, bolts, washers, sleeves and so forth. At least you don't have to buy more than you need. And if you ask one of my store people they actually know what you are asking for most of the time. I also buy a lot from real fastener stores.
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:28 PM   #5
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A few thoughts:

Yes, it's frustrating to have to remember to stop by the hardware store for a bolt that you maybe should already have, but from someone who has a fairly large assortment of nuts, bolts, sheet metal screws, wood screws, lag bolts, "standard" nails, pneumatic nails, staples, etc., 90% or more of which are sorted, take your time, and figure out what is practical for YOU, because you'll most likely never reach the point that you still don't have something that you really need; at least I never have. I have to assume that you are a D.I.Y. guy, so you will spend more than enough on simple hardware over your lifetime, so don't waste it. And, just trying to think of an example of what I mean by "practical for you", I happen to like old tractors, and for whatever reason, 7/16 bolts and nuts are fairly common on them, so while I have many of them, you may never run into a need for a single one.

Consider the space that you have now, how you will sort them, and, since it sounds like you want to make some manner of "bulk purchase" to get yourself started, how you will store them. Some of the assortments come with neat bin boxes, that can be very useful, but are they what you have in mind? If not, an assortment that comes in bags may be better, and you can save your money to buy some lumber to build custom boxes.


If you want to keep it more compact, the big boxes sell stackable divided units that set in a plastic 5 gallon bucket. I don't find them handy for use in my shop, but I have them, nevertheless, stocked with nails screws, etc. that I can quickly set in the truck to take on the road.

TSC and other places still sell bolts, nuts, etc. by the pound. Quality wise, I wouldn't use them to bolt in a clutch or exhaust manifold, but they are great for many things.

While you at it, and if applicable to the things that you do, don't forget to allow space for miscellaneous items such as snap rings, cotter pins, springs, spacers, wood dowels, biscuits, etc. As an example, I have a couple of places, depending on size, where I even keep scrap pieces of leather, copper, nylon, and other things that I might use at some point. It's easy to get carried away, but if you maintain a perspective on what the odds are of needing a particular item, you can have a great D.I.Y. inventory, without having the wife wanting to kick you out the door!

Last edited by DexterII; 07-22-2011 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:45 PM   #6
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I've always bought a couple more of nuts, bolts, screws, etc. than I needed for one job. That way I would keep the extra's for future use. As to what to store them in, there must be a thousand ways to do this. This may depend on how much room you have to store these and what you choose to put them in. Many years ago it was "baby food jars" with the lids mounted to a board so you could just unscrew the glass jar that you could see through. Not any more, those plastic things with the "one time" lids just won't work.
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:45 PM   #7
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I wouldn't go out of my way to create a personal hardware store - much better to just buy extra when you figure out what you actually need. Personally I just buy a box of 100 whenever I need more than a few of any common item. I leave them in the original boxes if possible and just stack them on a shelf. Once the boxes start to get low, I combine similar items to save some space. I've found that I never have enough room (or discipline) to keep everything well organized, so I just sort all the loose items by type (nuts in one jar, bolts in another, flat washers in another, etc). I like to use clear plastic quart or gallons size snack containers so I can see what's inside. When I need something, I just dump the whole container on the workbench and dig through it.
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:51 PM   #8
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I can tell you just about every job that I ever used a fastener (not finish nails or drywall screws) that I already owned. I have them all organized. I just never seem to have quite the right one... Or I just 'pick up' what I know will work rather than trying to make something in my tidy little drawers work.

If I could only remember to THINK about what I was doing before I did it.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:51 PM   #9
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Yeah, what everyone else said. If you figure out ahead of time what you are going to need next week, please, just e-mail me some lottery numbers.

That said, if you like to hang around yard sales or estate auctions, you can often find "box lots" of hardware dirt cheap. Our nearby Habitat for Humanity Restore has the inevitable peanut butter jars of assorted nuts and bolts for a buck or two. You might get lucky and find something useful in there. Just make sure they're in decent condition - not rusty or oily.
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Old 07-25-2011, 01:47 AM   #10
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Bolts should have 3 marks on the head. that means the bolt is grade 5. Grade 3 is crap and has no markings.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:03 PM   #11
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Various nuts, bolt, screws etc...

Originally Posted by vandrem View Post
I'm sick of having to run out to the hardware store every time I need a screw or bolt of particular type or size. Does anybody have suggestions on how to put together a collection of various sizes? Where can these be purchased cheaply? Home depot can be really pricey.

If I do put a collection together, what do you recommend I purchase that would cover most home repair situations?
Hi. What I've always done was recycle my collection of hardware. I like scrapping so when I find electronics or basically anything that can be taken apart, I remove all the nut n bolts, grounding wires, lock washers n so on. I now have as much as my local hardware. Now if I could just organize them : )
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by fireguy View Post
Bolts should have 3 marks on the head. that means the bolt is grade 5. Grade 3 is crap and has no markings.
I've never heard of grade 3, i think you mean grade 2.

Grade 5 is a lot stronger then grade 2 in both tension and shear ( nearly 80% stronger).

Grade 8 has six radial lines on the head and is stronger than grade 5 ( about 25% stronger)

I have more bolts, nuts and washers in my garage ( basement, and shed) then i care to admit to, and i still end up running to the hardware store on a regular basis


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