I have been noticing that steel slotted flathead and roundhead wood screws are getting harder to find? Especially in hardware stores? I'm getting real close to start going to farm auctions to buy old hardware. What is to be done?
Yes, everyone is making Phillips style screws
You can find them on the webernet, unfortunately, they are all plated unless you go with brass.
Yes, that's right. Slotted wood screws and machine screws are being replaced by other types, mostly Phillips and modified Phillips. You're on the right track with the auction idea. I'm up to my hips in castle nuts, rivets, and hot dip galvanized roofing nails bought dirt cheap at estate sales and farm auctions. It's a good way to get fasteners that are now unavailable at the local hardware store, and get them cheap.
Here is a place that might be worth checking into, if they supply a good product, then we should support them so they stay in business.
For some years now I have been haunting every small town hardware shop we pass through in our travels looking for slot head screws and square nuts for carriage bolts. I find I have to ask if they have any old stock stored out the back somewhere. When they know what it's for, most don't mind pointing me in the right direction. When those blasted hardware chains moved in and clogged the shelves with their pre-packed phillips head screws, the old stock was removed, often discarded, or if you are lucky, tucked away out in the store room out the back.
Hope this helps.
allan from down under.
I don't have a problem, although I'm aware of it. There are two hardware stores I go to in So.Cal. that have them. Don't forget McMaster Carr. Last week I needed some #5X5/8 brass oval head slotted wood screws for some common sense fasteners, and my hardware store had them. A few months ago, I need some #9X7/8 rh brass wood screws for the horn, and they had them too. I bought the whole box on that one!
My dad and I buy old fashioned hardware at estate sales - especially brass wood screws.
We're in the city so we typically don't go to farm auctions.
I had to get Fastenal to order mine when I needed them. They don't even bring them into Canada anymore, except by special request, due to the anti-dumping laws.
I order them through
Can't find them anywhere around here in Mass.
Gone are the days when you could go downtown to Shank's or Dooley's or Bryant's (Yes, we have it!) and buy what you needed off a shelf or out of a bin. Here in Podunk I recently found two choices. One was the local Ace "hardware store" where I could buy a single 3/8-24 brass hex nut for $1.29 + tax. The other was the local Fastenal store where I could order it for 61¢ and have it three days later. So I ordered a dozen from Fastenal. When I went to the store on the appointed day the nuts were not there and the guy on duty could find no record of the order, so he placed another order. When I go to town today they may be there, or there may be a dozen screws or finishing nails mislabeled as brass nuts, or there may be nothing and no record of the second order. Voice of experience. The other option, of course, is to buy online and pay double the price because of the shipping. All things being equal, you lose.
In my olde mission town of 100,000 souls, we have one really old fashioned hardware store left. It's like stepping back in time: wooden shelves and boxes from the floor to the ceiling. I find literally everything there, whatever it may be. Yes, it's a bit more expensive than shopping at Lowe's or Home Depot, but I feel we all need to support our local businesses or we have no right to be upset when they have to close their doors and we can't find what we need at the corporate outlet.
Sadly, all the "real" hardware stores around here have closed down. We have a store called "The Hardware Store," but their stock resembles Lowe's and Home Depot more and more all the time. We also have a couple of Fastenall stores -- ditto on those.
Fortunately, there are two old bolt & screw supply stores within 5 or 10 miles. They still have what I need most of the time. When I asked for brass slotted screws at one of them, they had quit stocking them so I'm down to one store for those. Last time I bought some, the guy said I'm about the only one who asks for them, so I guess it's just a matter of time until they don't have them either. If I had bunches of money, I'd buy all they have.
Roach hardware on 21 st has them still in stainless....
Just got back from town, where I found that the Fastenal price of 61¢ per nut is bogus. They added a shipping & handling charge that made the real price $1.14. That's still 15¢ less than the Ace price, but I don't appreciate the bait and switch.
Boat Building suppliers often stock them
Mainly in brass and stainless but some times tungsten (expensive but polishes up like nickel)
The Bolt Depot for me too. Every style of bolt, screw, fastener, steel, brass see the link under David S post.
Last time I delt with Fastenal they quoted a price per bolt. I ask for 6 bolts and when I went to pick them up they handed me a box of 100 and said I had to buy them by the 100's. I told the salesmen that they did not tell me that when I ordered them. I don't know if he had to go to the doctor have the box removed or not but I didn't get my 6 bolts.
There is a True Value Hardware not far from me and I try to buy stuff from them because they are an old time hardware.
Unfortunately farm sales and boat building suppliers do not exist anymore. Boat builders laughed at me last time.
Has anyone used the square drive screws and bolts so widely used in Canada? They are just beginning to become available here - mostly as deck screws.
The story I heard is that the Canadian inventor tried to sell them to Henry Ford and he almost threw them out of his office. They went on to become the major type of woodscrew in Canada and also used for many machine screws.
If you've never used them, they're wonderful. Almost impossible to strip, easy to insert the drive tool and since you don't need to put much pressure on them to ensure good engagement, screws back out easier.
I joke that my Hack is a Canadian
John Stolz uses the square drive head screws when he builds his Hacks
Henry Ford refused to pay patent royalties on anything, by any means necessary, and got away with it.
I had to find a couple of missing screws for an 1890's Fairest Wheel. (like a small roulette wheel). Did find slotted screws at Ace. The head size on new ones are smaller.
Stripped the plating and misted it with salt, vinegar and a hydrogen peroxide mix. Instant rust.
Well off to fire the T up for the parade.