My problem is which golden bucket of crap? I grew up on a farm, which meant
a long trip if we needed something that wasn't at hand and a STRONG
propensity to improvise and make do.
But I have come to realize that for me today, sorting through the
miscellaneous crap is just not worth it. If I have some extra parts that are
standardize sizes, I through them into the appropriate bin. But it is a few
left over pieces parts, I keep them for a few days just to make sure I
didn't forget something and then discard.
Yep, that's why we had one. I'm guessing it had bolts from the 1920's
and '30s as well. Problem was, by the time you found something that sort
of worked, you could have made the trip to town and back with the right
thing. OTOH, growing up being raised by depression-era parents made a
definite impression on me. It just feels *wrong* to throw anything out.
The only exception I've found for that was, after discovering McFeeley's
screws, throwing away the big-box store screws (brand new) that would break
even when being driven into a pilot hole and/or cam-out so bad you couldn't
use them. I've never been more happy throwing something away.
Same here. One of the redeeming graces to throwing that stuff away is
that it is usually such cheap, poorly made crap, I wouldn't trust it for
any kind of mission critical application other that it's original intended
use (and sometimes that's questionable)
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
Farm kid, depression parent, casket/furniture maker and once pro-
mechanic, my grandfather's, junk storage was as orderly as his new
materials storage. Bins, boxes, jars of everything neatly stored and
kept in separate places. The rest of his life was chaos but blind drunk
he could find what he wanted in the shop and turn out little wonders and
marvellous jerry rig improvs.
Anything unusable got tossed in a drum and was eventually carted off to
At 7 miles one way to the hardware store and a vehicle that gets about
15 MPG it amounts to one gallon of gas to run to the HW store. Add
that price to the two screws that are all I need and they end up
costing about 2 buck each. I'm pretty brutal about tossing any
fastener that looks even slightly corroded or otherwise munged, but my
random collection of total crap has frequently saved a trip and often
saved a project because I'm working on it at 11:00 PM and the store
doesn't open for another 7 hours.
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and
bring something to kill"
I must admit I've been living off my inventory for a while. so I'm
probably not up to date; however, if you invest in $10 worth of
fasteners for a project, it still gets lost in the wash compared to
the other costs (wood, hardware, finishing materials, etc) involved in
I'd put them in a scrap box. Then the crew can take them home.
It keeps some handy for them who can sort it in their time.
One of the electricians here does that - old this and that goes into
a trunk. From time to time he goes in and finds an antique whatnot
that saves a customer in a tight. A certain part of his life is
Lew Hodgett wrote:
...and the quality. I have about a gallon each of assorted
aircraft-grade bolts, nuts, and washers in the shop that my neighbors
occasionally pick through. :)
I generally buy fasteners in 500 or 1000 quantities and dump the boxes
(and the box label) into big rectangular plastic jars (Parmesan cheese
containers from Sams) and carry the whole container to where I'm
working. If I take out a handful they go into the jar lid, and leftovers
get dumped back when I finish.
Screws I didn't buy go into the trash can.
After fighting the Allen wrench battle for too many years, I bought
T-handled wrench sets with bright yellow handles (marked with the size),
which seems to help.
Yup. Ditto on the screws. and ditto on the t-handled allen keys, Both
metric and SAE.
A few that I used often are duplicated in other places. A couple are
extra long with ball ends.
I used to put together dumbells for commercial gyms many years ago. The
allen wrench provided for the dumbells were chap junk that twisted and died
in short order. Iused to buy the most expensive allen wrenches I could find
at an industrial tool supply house.
I then had a handle welded onto them and had them hardened at a blacksmith.
That with some locktite did the trick. Modern dumbell design has moved
beyound the allen head screw.
Why didn't I think of that?? <head slap> I knew some machinists too.
I guess I just got so dependent on a good blacksmith. He could do anything.
He made a square drive wrench for somebody that had a four foot handle. It
must of been some big iron to require that tool!
Your comment on the quality of some tools is spot on. For my purposes,
they were useless.
A couple of questions about them. Of what use are the ball ends? Seems to me
a ball end would be less grab of the screw. Are some of the hex slot bottoms
not flat necessitating ball ends? Or perhaps, a ball end enables use of a
allen key on an angle in tight places?
A number of the allen keys I've used twist and sometimes strip. Maybe the
ones I've bought are cheap. I've been considering some of the t-handled
allen keys which are longer and in the event of a strip, I could just cut
that part off and have a new fresh tip.
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