who uses Grade 2/unmarked hardware?


Hi all,
as you may know I've recently moved into a new house and I've been scouting the local hardware stores trying to find the good places to buy stuff. Being a car guy i'm in the habit of always using Grade 5 hardware, since that's generally the minimum grade used in an automotive application (and yes, I do use Grade 8 or 12.9 whenever that is what was originally used.) I always used to buy hardware at a local auto parts store that would just sell me full boxes of pik-a-nut stuff and thought no more of it. If they didn't have what I needed I'd go to a "marine fasteners" store whose standard hardware was stainless or Grade 8.
Now I find in my new location that when I go to the store the stuff in the general bins is always Grade 2; the Grade 5, if they have it, is in the little slide out drawers. Is the use of Grade 2 hardware really common? From my perspective, I never see it used.
Sidebar question - do any of the chain hardware stores keep fully stocked pik-a-nut racks, or do I need to find a new independent to get friendly with? In my area I have Advance, Autozone, Pep Boys, and a local chain called "Fairfax Auto Parts" (the best of the lot, comparable to NAPA but my local store is a small one.)
nate
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Most home applications never see the same stresses than an automobile will see. Grade 2 is fine for 99% of what you do.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

99% of what I do is working on cars :) The home thing, well, that's because I have to...
nate
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Here in Canada I have used Brafasco, a contraction of Brampton Fastener Company, it sells all kinds of commercial/industrial/safety hardware along with all types of nuts, bolts and screws in all grades.
I don't know if they have the same service and quality as the last time I visited them as they have been bought out by HD Supply, a division of Home Depot.
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The chain stores have decent odds and ends for bolts and nuts and whatnot. Originally that's why I started going to Eagle Hardware (now known as Lowe's of course). Lowe's still has decent stuff, although it did take a pretty big hit when Eagle got bought out.
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Eigenvector wrote:

My local (misnomer, it's 20 miles away) Lowes doesn't have a great selection of Grade 5. It's all in those little bagged 3-packs and stock is not good. Home Depot is closer but the same situation. I meant to say chain auto parts stores in my original post...
nate
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On the rare occasions I need grade 5 or 8 or higher, I have the best luck at the local Tractor Supply or similar stores. Farmers hate fixing things twice, I guess, and farm machinery is hard on bolts.
aem sends...
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Nate Nagel wrote:

...
That's because they're a general building and home repair kinda' place as are virtually all general-merchandise hardware stores even if locally owned and certainly all the chains like Ace, etc., are. Thus, the Grade 5 and higher is the "specialty" stuff for them.
OTOH, as you've noted, for automotive applications, Grade 5 or higher is the norm, so that's what they carry. I've never found the general automotive supply stores, however (even NAPA) as good places for general hardware as far as anything other than they will probably have a reasonable range of stock, but again, their business is parts and the ancillary hardware is usually a sideline (and a pretty pricey one at that). As you seem to have found, wouldn't be that unusual for an individual store to stock stuff in larger quantities, but certainly isn't the general rule anywhere I've ever seen.
You don't really say what your aim is nor any clue as to where you are. Here, small town, mostly agricultural and oil/gas production, the two places to go for general high-grade stuff is either the ag-equipment dealers or the oilfield supply houses. If you want smaller stuff, 1" or so and down, ag-equipment is the place while if you need big stuff, the oilfield guys are the ones who will have it. For automotive use, that would almost always be the farm equipment, or course! :)
If, otoh, you're looking for stuff for general use around the house, Grade 2 is plenty good enough for almost anything you'll run into. But, around here, again, the general farm supply (as somebody else noted) is the place for common stuff in bulk.
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dpb wrote:

I guess I will have to make the trek west to a Fleet Farm or similar at some point to stock the garage - or else just go back to my old FLAPS (it's about 50 miles away, so not outside the realm of doability.) I live in Falls Church, VA which is "inside the beltway" and therefore there's not a whole lot of farm-oriented stores. I just like to have an assortment of the most common stuff on hand - a handful each of 1/4" through 1/2" bolts both UNC and UNF in lengths from 1/2" to maybe 1-1/2" also nuts, flat washers, and lock washers. I don't like buying Grade 2 because most of the work I do is on old cars; if I end up having to use an "overkill" fastener to bolt together some shelves, say, so be it. Most common use of "in stock" hardware is to replace some badly rusted fastener that I've just removed from an old car to do some maintenance; I hate having to make a trip to the store every time I decide to fix something, so when I *do* buy hardware I almost always buy 2x what I need unless it's something esoteric.
I roundly cursed the idiot that bolted the water pump manifold onto my Studebaker with Grade 2 bolts... had to pull the radiator to drill them out when they snapped off (as I tried to tighten them to stop a weeping gasket.)
My dream would be to find an auto parts store that's going out of business and just buy their whole pik-a-nut rack for a couple hundred bucks, but I have a feeling that that is just that, a dream.
nate
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<snip>

I *hate* those damed 3-packs. I usually need four or eight of something. Heck, I'd just as soon buy a box of 50 for what they are actually worth - wWhat these packs amount to is buying a bottle of whiskey 1 shot at a time.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

My background is mechanical engineering / aerospace & of course we used nearly exclusively Mil-Std fasteners
when I made the switch to structural research I tended to use Grade 8 nearly exclusively for tooling & fixturing.......I was rather surprised when I learned that in the civil engineering world (timber construction, esp ) typically Grade 2 fasteners were used.
So the way I look at it is....there is a spectrum of fastener strengths.....ME applications tend to be up in the Grade 5 & Grade 8 range.
CE applications (esp timber construction) tend to be mostly in the Grade 2 range ....sometimes Grade 5
Since in timber you're dealing with a material much softer & weaker than steel there is really no reason to use higher strength fasteners; typically the wood is the weak link.
Plus (esp in timber construction) the QC is usually pretty poor so by spec'ing bottom of the barrel fasteners it's hard to get field installed ones that are weaker than one expects.
Additionally the CE's like their connections to be ductile & grade 2 fasteners are much more ductile than Grade 5 or 8.
In defense of the CE world, they have much greater variability in their applied loads & often have to design systems to still "work" when greatly over stressed.
ME's kinda have it a little easier in that we tend to have a much better idea of the actual loads that a system will see.
www.mcmaster.com has great online catalog & a great selection of Grade 2, 5 & 8....unfortunately most of the time you have to by a whole box.
hope this helped
cheers Bob
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Both the chain hardware stores in our area have excellent coverage of nuts and bolts in several grades. Ace Hardware at the moment seems to a bit better than True Value. The automotive selection at Carquest Auto Parts has good depth, and decent variety. HTH
Joe
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Someone mentioned Tractor Supply. Website here: http://www.tractorsupply.com/ Another is Orschelns. http://tinyurl.com/y35ehs I don't think they sell online. There have been some Fastenal Stores popping up in my area: http://tinyurl.com/hxcws No idea if they sell retail.
Dean
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I don't know how close one might be, but an industrial supply or fastener supply is your best bet for quantity and quality hardware. "Fastenal" is one chain that is really good here.
Don Young
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