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Be careful where you buy your screws

So my wife wanted to replace the handles on the pantry doors. She went to Lowe’s, picked out some handles, and brought them home.

The screws that came with them were too short. So I went to Home Depot (it’s two minutes away and open late on Sundays) and bought replacements. I learned something.I needed 8-32 machine screws. I started out in the cabinet aisle, mainly because I found it first, but the 8-32s they had there were either too short or too long. The length I needed was sold out.

So I went a couple of aisles down to the general hardware, located the machine screws, and found what I needed. I also noted the price. A package of four 8-32s cost $1 from the hardware aisle. A package of two of them cost $2 in the cabinet aisle. Same screws, just slightly different wording on the packaging. I had no idea.

It’s cheaper still to buy them by the box, if you need a lot of them, but I only needed two. I paid my dollar, took the package of four home, and mounted the handles on the doors. The leftover parts are in my stash of screws and other hardware that I’m saving for a rainy day.

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2 thoughts on “Be careful where you buy your screws”

  1. Hi Dave –
    an invaluable resource is (or can be) one of those thousand-piece assortments. Wait until spring/Father’s Day sales, and watch for one that’s a thousand pieces of hardware for $10 – it will have screws, washers, bolts, nails, picture hangers, pins, you name it. The invaluable part comes next – if you get a decent set, they’ll include labels, and have each bag of components individually labeled. I sort them out, put them in drawers with labels, and then can find what I need – and buy larger bulk quantities of those things that I’m going to need more of.

    One odd job I was able to do with my set was to build a tripod. My son needed to take a picture of his science project at a fixed point each time (it was a pendulum experiment), so rather than spend $70 or even $20 on a tripod, I took a bolt, drilled a hole in a 2-liter soda bottle cap, and hot-glued the bolt into it. Filled with water, the bottle became a solid base for me to mount the digital camera so he could take pictures.

    I’m also a labeler – When I find something (like a cabinet door), I’ll print up a label with my label printer and put it on the inside next to the bolt in question. Next time I’ll know what I need.

    1. A tripod made from a 2-liter bottle and a bolt. Sweet. THAT is my kind of trick.

      And I really like that label trick. I’ll definitely have to start doing that.

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