Alas, that's normal. Unless you get 'shoulder bolts', the shank
diameter is not the controlled 3/8" you want, because the threads
weren't cut on a 3/8" blank, they were raised (rolled, it's called)
on a subsize blank. You can build up the shank with welding,
I suppose, or just roll a bit of sheet metal around
the shank. Or scrounge in decades-old assortments of
fasteners for an archaic example of what-you-expected.
Some high-strength fasteners will have the full shaft diameter,
because not all alloys are roll-able.
Shop with calipers.
If you decide to take them back (don't waste a trip on $1 worth of
parts), make sure the person handling the return knows your reason.
Then make a trip to the local Ace hardware and get what you really need.
If enough people complain, they'll go back to the old way of doing
"The potential difference between the top and bottom of a tree is the
reason why all trees have to be grounded..." -- Bored Borg on
We do have a small home-town Ace Hardware store that's about the same
distance as the new Home Depot. They open at 11:00 this morning and
I'll be waiting on their doorstep. I don't know why I only think of
going to them *after* I've been screwed by Home Depot, but one of these
days I'll learn...
"Even if your wife is happy but you're unhappy, you're still happier
than you'd be if you were happy and your wife was unhappy." - Red Green
Ace or Tru Value, both have good hardware bins, someone to help you
find something, help in designing a project on the spot, and you don't
have to walk 3 miles from one end of the store to the other. I always
try Ace first before making the dreaded trip to the Borg.
Since I can bike over to Goodman's in about 3 minutes, I often go there
first. Also, I like the owner and the workers, and it means supporting a
local Mom and Pop store. If they don't have what I want, I go for good
wood to Kuiken Brothers, for other stuff to the Home Depot across the
Passaic in the 3% sales tax zone of Paterson.
Keep in mind that HD (and Lowe's) didn't get to be a behemoth by
selling top-quality stuff. They got there by selling stuff cheap, and
that usually translates to selling cheap stuff.
When it comes to hardware, paint and the like, I prefer to start at
the local hardware store. Maybe a tad more expensive than the Borg,
but better quality stuff sold by knowlegeable and friendly people that
I like doing business with. And I like knowing that my money stays in
I use HD and the like as a last resort except for brand-name power
tools where I must admit they have a far better selection and better
Reply-to address is real
The problem here, is that the better quality companies are either going out
of business altogether, or getting with the program and selling stuff
manufactured in China with their name stamped on it so they can compete with
the prices of the big boy stores. Paint as much but things are getting
consolidated. Our choices are much fewer than they once were, even at the
mom and pops.
When it comes to brand names, they generally are cheaper. Sometimes
not, though. OTOH, I don't think there is a real lumber yard within
30 miles of here (just drove past that one and it didn't look like it
was open to the public).
No real hardware stores here either. As far as the money staying in
town, they don't make screws, or steel for that matter, here either.
If there were a decent hardware store in the area I'd go there. I
really don't like the BORG or the blue place all that much but they do
have some hardware.
When it comes to paint, I go to paint stores. It is a little more
expensive at SW, or BM stores but the paint is better and the
service/help is *much* better. For painting supplies the home centers
are still significantly cheaper.
Yep. HD has really been slipping here recently. I almost never go
there for tools anymore.
As far as the fastener industry is concerned it has all gone off shore
Rolled thread fasteners are the lowest cost to manufacture so that is
what you are going to find in mass merchandise outlets.
Want some thing else, go to a fastener house and buy spec grade.
Expect to pay a minimum order charge.
As far as paint is concerned, freight is a major cost item.
Paint, especially the architectural stuff, will come from
manufacturing facilities located as close to the end user as
As far as tools are concerned, the big box stores stock the bottom end
of the product line.
They play the 80/20 game.
80% of sales come from 20% of items.
Works for the week end warrior, but if you want quality, look
I don't mean this as a flame or anything but really - how did Home Depot
screw you? You presumably went in, looked around, found what you thought
you needed/wanted and bought it. Were the bolts mis-labelled? Were you
unable to inspect or see the bolts? I suspect that the fact the shoulder
was narrower than the thread was relatively apparent to anyone who cared to
look. Just 'cause they weren't what you thought they were doesn't mean HD
screwed you (you kinda screwed yourself).
I have found that, almost without exception, that the local ACE
Hardware will fill my hardware needs before HD or Lowe's. And usually
cheaper. The local owner has even ordered a piece of hardware, to fit
my needs, a time or two.
BTW, when I say "local"......we live in a town of 700 in SE Kansas.
The closest HD is 30 miles, closest Lowes is 60 miles. Thank goodness
there are two ACE Hardware stores within 15 miles. We also have three
lumber yards within the 15 to 20 mile range that will outclass and
often outprice the big box stores on a consistent basis. However they
are a little short on tools and such.
I must be living in the past or something, because I just got back from
my local Ace hardware and their selection was the same; just as you
describe. This boggles my mind because I have all kinds of old carriage
bolts around here (unfortunately, none of which fit my needs for this
project) and every one that doesn't have full length threads has the
"shoulder" shank that you describe. I rarely buy them and don't
remember where I got them, but it must have been during a different era...
I'm just going to invent one from a regular hex-head shoulder bolt that
I brought home from Ace hardware.
Aye. I also need to carry a little pocket-sized tape measure with me
(like my Dad does), but knowing me I'd probably forget the dang thing.
I usually have to wander over to the tools section and "borrow" one of
their new tape measures, then put it back when I'm done. :-)
"Our beer goes through thousands of quality Czechs every day."
(From a Shiner Bock billboard I saw in Austin some years ago)
I've developed the habit of carrying a little 6' tape in my watch pocket,
it's now part of the stuff I always have like my wallet, keys, money-clip
etc. Somebody mentioned carrying a cheap caliper in the car--what a great
idea, I have at least one of those Harbor Freight digital jobs that cost ten
bucks, so in the car it goes.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.