Fastener prices are out-of-sight

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 06-18-2014 12:11 AM 1344 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4758 posts in 3237 days

06-18-2014 12:11 AM

I had to buy some wood screws for a fix job and went to my local big box store. The cost of the screws I needed were way out of reason, but I had to have them. When I got home, I looked at on-line fastener outlets and found that the screws I bought, I could have gotten for 1/4 the price I paid. I’m going to make a list of fasteners I use a lot of and buy them in bulk from a place like McMaster-Carr or Fastenall. McFeely’s has a great selection of fasteners, but they are expensive.

11 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1797 posts in 2310 days

#1 posted 06-18-2014 12:38 AM

McMaster and Custom Service Hardware supply all the screws in our shop.

-- See my work at and

View Loren's profile (online now)


10373 posts in 3641 days

#2 posted 06-18-2014 02:11 AM

If you can find a cabinet hardware dealer that serves the
trade in your area, prices tend to be pretty reasonable.

View jonah's profile


1695 posts in 3292 days

#3 posted 06-18-2014 02:36 AM

Not only are big box screws overpriced, but they’re horrible screws. They snap, strip, or plain fail at the drop of a hat. I’m never buying screws there again.

View JAAune's profile


1797 posts in 2310 days

#4 posted 06-18-2014 03:18 AM

Now that Loren mentions cabinet hardware dealers, I saved a bundle of money getting the latest batch of hardware through Baer Supply. Didn’t get any screws but they probably sell those too. That company will only sell to businesses though unless I’m mistaken.

-- See my work at and

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Steve Peterson

375 posts in 3076 days

#5 posted 06-18-2014 03:19 AM

The only screws worse than the big box screws are the ones that come with hinges or drawer slides. They seem like they are made out of aluminum. Good advice on McMaster-Carr. They gave good prices and good shipping prices.

-- Steve

View Loren's profile (online now)


10373 posts in 3641 days

#6 posted 06-18-2014 03:50 AM

Oh, they don’t care really. Just say you’re a cabinetmaker
with a small shop and they’ll let you buy without an
account. Some only take checks or cash. They are not
in the refusing to sell to customers business. They know
big accounts have small beginnings.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4119 posts in 2303 days

#7 posted 06-18-2014 04:06 AM

I’m thinking you new that before you went there.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Loren's profile (online now)


10373 posts in 3641 days

#8 posted 06-18-2014 04:20 AM

Nobody taught me. I just called places and talked to
the desk person. I might say “how do I go about buying
small quantities from you?” or usually what I say is
“Can I talk to a salesperson?” and the salesperson
is almost always totally cool. They talk to industrial
buyers all day. It’s fun for them to talk to a person
who’s asking questions. I say things like “what are
the cabinet shop guys buying?” if I want to know what’s
a good sheet board. They’ll say “we’ve got this nice
stuff A/C shop ply we sell a lot of”... etc.

It’s really not that tricky. I do think it’s a good idea
to think through your questions beforehand so you
don’t waste their time by hemming and hawing on
your end.

Try it.

I’m an introvert, by the way. I like people fine but I’m
really into solitude. When sourcing materials however, if
I’m looking to buy and my money’s green I don’t
see any reason to not inquire.

I started doing this stuff before the internet. I was
inventing things an learning about wood, metal, plastic,
and I would just call and walk into places. Often I
would get a free consultation with a bored owner
or a super-knowledgeable front desk person. I’d walk
out with sales literature, free samples here and there.

I buy dowels and stuff on ebay too. Very competitive
price environment.

View Tenfingers58's profile


96 posts in 2671 days

#9 posted 06-18-2014 05:32 AM

I’ve been driven to the internet by big box stores. The bean counters there only let them stock what they sell a lot of, so I end up going elsewhere for what I need. I figure If I’m forced there by Mr. Big Box then I may as well stay there.

I don’t trust the advice I get at the big box since I overheard a salesman in the electrical department try to sell a customer 10ga. wire for an electric range install because it “looked heavy enough”. Mybe he didn’t know any better, or maybe he knew the store didn’t stock the 6ga. the customer needed.

Now about the only time I’m at the Big Box is when I need it TODAY. most times it can wait a couple of days for USPS. They need the business anyway. At least there it’s American workers.

They haven’t figured out outsourcing mail delivery YET. However I was at a fast? food? drive through last year that was forewarded across town to a “order center”. No real reason it couldn’t go overseas via the ‘net. The employee that told me about it said he wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t replace him in the next ten years with a robot. I just hope the robot pays enough taxes to support the people it put out of work.

View jussi's profile


105 posts in 2958 days

#10 posted 06-18-2014 05:45 AM

Try the torx screws at Home Depot. I believe they carry spax brands. They’re a little more than if you buy in bulk but not a whole lot. Plus they don’t strip like philips screws.

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

565 posts in 1463 days

#11 posted 06-18-2014 07:17 AM

I’ve almost completely switched over to square drive (aka Robertson drive) screws. And of the screws I use regularly, they are almost all bugle-head, pan-hex (typically sold as sheet metal screws), or modified truss head (unfortunately, only commonly available in phillips). Square drive bugle head screws can pull almost anything tight and usually don’t require much in the way of a countersink except in really hard woods. My 18v impact driver can power a square drive screw all the way through a 2×4 if I wanted it to. Good luck doing that with a phillips :)

I love Torx screws for anything mechanical, or hex socket if torx isn’t available, but for wood screws, Torx is just too expensive. I think part of the reason is that it’s a trademarked and/or patented drive head, so manufacturer’s are likely paying some type of licensing fee to the owner of the trademark.

Mcmaster definitely has the best selection of fasteners I’ve ever seen, although I have a local True Value store that is quite a bit larger than the normal and they have a enormous selection there as well, typically carrying a lot of metric stuff in-stock that nowhere else does, which is handy for machinery repair since so many foreign-made stuff uses metric fasteners…

Since True Value Hardware is a franchised brand, there may be similar “extra-large” stores in other metro areas.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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