After the ordeal of removing the rusty terminal screws from a $2 New Day I picked up at Hershey, it occurred to me that brass ones might be a better choice. I did a price check at the local Ace. They had no 10-32 x 1/4". Their 10-32 x 3/8" are 43¢ each! I figured I might as well get a lifetime supply of the right size at a much lower price, so I went shopping online. Here are the prices I found for a box of 100:
Bolt Depot.............. $10.68
Unfortunately Fastenal is still using UPS for small packages under a pound, so the shipping is almost $8. But that still makes the price per screw less than 12¢.
I also found quite a variation in the quality of websites. Some make it easy to find and buy what you want, and some make it a major hassle. The Fastenal site kept telling me my address, where I receive mail and packages all the time, is invalid. I had to get on the phone and leave a message for somebody to call me and take the order.
I keep using McMaster because their site & service is so good.
Our local Ace stores have a great selection of fasteners that the big stores like Home Depot have dropped. But they sure do gig you for individual pricing. I use them a lot for my business, as it is T&M and my time to go running around will make that 43¢ screw a $23 screw by the time I am back on the job and installing it !
By the same logic, I often pay what seems like a "high" price for something, because either my time is more important than the money, or (in this case) 43¢ or $21 just isn't a big enough number to get whooped up about.
I guess it's all relative, but I'd rather pay the small "larger" price to save time and hold off buying that new computer till Black Friday to save $400. But then again, my business model has always been "Buy high, sell low", so what do I know ? !
Steve, there is a Fastenal store about 15 min. from my place. I have found that if I order bits and pieces from their store, they pay the shipping and I pick up at their store... Your frugal mind may be ahead of me here... but what is the snail mail fee from Paso Robles to your house if some guy picks up and drives the parts to the Post office and packs them in a flat fee package for you?
There's a Fastenal store four miles from me, but the last time I bought a box of fasteners there (and I do mean last) they did NOT pay the shipping. A $6 box became $16.
When I placed the phone order for these machine screws I told the guy taking the order that USPS would probably be a lot cheaper for a small package weighing less than a pound. He said that Fastenal is considering using the postal service for small items, but hasn't made the change yet. So my screws are coming from the East via UPS.
Two things to think about besides PRICE:
1) Your usually get what you pay for.
2) Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.
You could have bought 4 at your local Ace for$1.72 and gone on down the road.
Sure, and I could have spent $8.40 to buy screws for five other timers. I could buy gas in town instead of driving five miles to fill up for $3 less. Why do I bother? Because I'm cheap.
Or you could have said something and someone would have sent some for free.
I keep those around for generator and starter brush leads. Mc-C sure went up. The last couple of boxes I ordered were in the $6-7 range. Looks like everything in the copper alloys has gone up. I use copper-chrome for spot welding tips.
No Steve,....you're "thrifty", remember?
"Mister Thrifty" sounds fine,.......however, "Mister Cheap" does not sound so good!
Or you could have walked over the electrical department, bought a pack of wire screws -- like the ones used for replacing the ones you lose when you are putting light switches, outlets, etc in. I think the last pack I bought was less than two bucks for 25 of them. They are brass and are also better quality, being made by Leviton in the US rather than some offshore gypo company. They are 8-32 x 1/4. The downside is the head is now the combo Phillips and straight blade head. So what I do is keep all the screws from any old switch or outlet I replace because they have the straight screw slot.
The 8-32 wire screws are the wrong thread for timers, but I save them too. I use them for stuff like this.
There are those who seem to make a religion of saving pennies. I used to be that way. I am no more. Its simply not worth my time or focus. As you get older, you select your battles.
I'm with you on this Richard. I'll shop if I'm looking for a major item, but I've learned that a few pennies one way or the other on routine/inexpensive items is just not worth the time or effort.
I imagine this attitude is the result of the fact that as I close in on the end of my 60's my time is much more valuable.
I wont pass up a penny on the ground without picking it up, but sounds like steve is so frugal that you couldnt drive a hat pin into his ass with a sledge hammer. imo thats a sickness
My dad used to save bent nails in jars. When he needed a nail he would pull one out and straighten it.
One time he needed a new hose, so he went to the hardware store. He came back with a five dollar hose, saying "I don't know why people would spend fifty dollars for a hose when you can get this one for five dollars.". He attached the nozzle, turned on the water, and his five dollar hose immediately split from the water pressure.
I guess parsimony is a family tradition. After the original house here burned down in 1917, my grandfather (1865-1941) built the present one. In making repairs I've been finding it was made with used lumber and parts of older buildings. Square nails in some boards show they came from buildings dating back to the eighties and nineties. One of the bedroom doors has a 7 on it because it came from the old 19th century Silverdale hotel. The staircase came from the 1874 first Ward School when it was taken down in 1926. Instead of felt paper under the shingles, he used plate molds he got free from the local newspaper.
An old nineteenth century farmer got by on the cheap because he had to. Money was scarce. His kids lived on the farm and were raised in thrift, then in their twenties and thirties they went through the Great Depression when money was even scarcer. A life like that had its effect. My aunts raised and canned a lot of their own food. They saved everything. They even washed and reused aluminum foil. With a background like that it's no surprise that I'm reluctant to part with a dollar. Compared with previous generations, I'm a big spender.
I do not believe it's a sickness - it's what we learned as a young person growing up....mowing lawns for $.25 an hour made us appreciate the value of a penny. Steve's family, mine, and many others endured difficult times and survived by being frugal. (Somewhat embarrassed to say - although I really shouldn't be - that I have a few cans of bent nails that can be straightened and re-purposed as the need arises). It really is a shame the old "country" hardware stores have disappeared - along with the "five & dime" stores, where you bought a product - not an almost impossible to open blister package that sometimes seems to cost more than an item....to combat pilferage.
No, I don't believe it to be a sickness - I believe it to be a trait learned from those that had to "make do" with very little....a very different age than our present day "throw away society".
Proof of the pudding will be 70-80 years from now when folks look around and see how many (if any) 1990-2010 used autos are still on the roads. I do believe that many of the T's of today are still around because of the frugality of the folks in the early to mid 1900's.
I learned straightening and reusing nails when I was still in grade school, and I still do it if they're good enough. In the case of galvanized nails, of course, the eighty-year-old ones will long outlast the new ones which turn to rust spots in a few years. That's one case where buying new is a major downgrade and you don't get what you pay for. VOE.
And then there's those foreign-made wood screws! I always look carefully at wood screws as so often, the screw threads are pretty poor and not really fully formed. My theory is that the tooling that forms or cuts the threads wears out, and sometimes, a lot of screws are processed with tooling that is long overdue for replacement! And by the way, most big-box and chain hardware stores do NOT sell American made screws anymore!
My dad's cousin Ted Bross was a Ford salesman.
I think dad really liked Ted. Ted would come out to the farm with a new ford car and leave it there for a while and say "Just drive it for a few days and see if you like it."
I think he did that with My Mom's '68 Ford Fairlane. Later on I wanted to buy my first vehicle, a pick up truck, and was wanting a Ford fwd in 1978. A buddy and I went shopping around and tried to get the best deal on two of them. We ended up going to Ted. He had a good deal and we tried go get a better one. I even reminded him we were related, which he already knew. (We were having fun then.) He said frugality must run in the family.
He told me about when his parents had passed away out at Flint Hill Missouri, he and the rest of his family cleaned out the house. Up in the attic they found a box marked "Pieces of string too short to keep"
I think I am related to the too.
I meant to say.
I think I am related to them too.
I don't know if it is true, but the say when you fly over the British Iles you can always tell when you are over Scotland, it is the only place where they have toilet paper hanging on the clothes line to dry..
I don't know if it is true, but the say when you fly over the British Isles you can always tell when you are over Scotland, it is the only place where they have toilet paper hanging on the clothes line to dry..
I grew up in a rural area and had a perverse attraction (as a kid) to oldtimers and their ultra frugal ways. My
friends thought I was nuts and wanted nothing to do with those old people and all their old junk. And while I
appreciated SOME new stuff, there was nothing better than the old barns, tools, cars, trucks, hardware, wiring,
(or anything else) or the stories these Depression survivors would share about what things were like when they
were young. I had no use for the oldtimers who were all up-to-date and modern, as they had the wrong attitude
about history. But guys like Mr. Scramlin and his 56 DeSoto, still puttering around the farm he built in the 20's,
sharing his stories of WW1, or crazy Mrs. Miller, talking about running off to London to live with her mother again
(Mrs. Miller was in her 90's) .... these people were a delight to sit with and soak up what they would impart about
what used to be where, who lived here, who built that. Mrs. Miller still had her C-cab TT farm truck in the shed,
ready to haul the next load of hay or apples when called to do so. Frugal people kept the cool old stuff (and ways)
and shunned the new and sparkly.
I will say that there is a subtle, yet huge difference between being frugal and just being cheap. One savors the
qualities of old, while the other just chases a low price.
It was always a no-brainer where I wanted to spend MY time. I hope to be the same "poison in the well" for the
few that might take notice of this weird old guy.
Burger in "Spokanestan" - Your writing style seems to "vary" somewhat from time to time, but what you just wrote is a really an exceptionally nice piece of work! Well put! Reminds me of a couple "ol' timers" in the neighborhood in suburban Chicago where I grew up. What I wouldn't give to be able to once again sit and listen to Mr. Hackett and old "Gramps" Didier! I really didn't appreciate them as much back then as I would now! World War One vets, both of them!
And as far as what you called "old timers and their ultra frugal ways", my parents, both born in the teens and grew up in the depression era, were prime examples of what you and others here are talking about:
My Dad was a railroad man, and of course always took a "lunch bucket" to work. Mom used to wrap his two sandwiches in "waxed paper", and Dad would always fold the paper up neatly and bring it back home in the otherwise empty "lunch bucket" and Mom would re-use it next time she packed his lunch. As a kid, I remember wondering why they did that, and how many times the same waxed paper would be re-used,...???
Did Dad straighten out bent nails for re-use? Absolutely! And after changing oil in the car in the garage, he'd carefully stack the empty oil cans in the corner and let them drain into a larger can, and this is what he'd fill his two squirt-type oil cans with! I remember him showing a couple of his grandsons (my boys) how to do this, and how polite they were in listening to "Grandpa", even tho' I'm sure those two young guys were thinking,......"really Grandpa?" "Is that really worth all that extra time and effort?" To this day, I think of Dad and feel guilty when I just unscrew the cap off of that plastic bottle and pour the oil in the crankcase and toss to empty plastic oil bottle in the trash. (....those "cheapo" plastic bottles don't balance upside down as good as the metal quart cans did that Dad opened with a "church key"!)
Yeah, I could go on and on about their "frugality" but I won't drag this reminiscing out any longer except to say that I probably respect my parents and grand parents and their "frugal ways" even more now than I did when they were still around. And some of those "ol' timers in the neighborhood too! ......harold
As a third grader I wasn't frugal enough to save the waxed paper from my sandwich. I would sit on it to go down the playground slide rally fast.
LOL, Steve, in grade school we saved our milk cartons after lunch and used them to catch crawdads in the creek next to the playground.
My "writing style" tends to hover in the humorous side, perhaps a bit sarcastic. But my heart is firmly set in Duty and Honor and doing
right by those around me. And that probably all started as a young kid, mesmerized by old cars, Victorian architecture and stained glass,
cast iron pump handles and other hardware with lots of embossing on it, weather wood, rusty metal ... it led me down a very different
path than most of the kids I grew up with, and led me to take the time to seek out crusty old codgers and have a TT or two.
Reminisce all you please. I can never hear enough of that. I too have a drip rack to set my emptied oil bottles in and get every last drop
out of them. And you can bet your biffy I picked that up from one of those oldtimers when I was a kid. Seems kind of pointless today, but
I do it as a matter of not wasting AND as an homage to those who taught me many good things.
This is a little off-topic, but when I started building my place (out of new lumber and decades worth of saved Victorian doors, windows,
and other bits), I strung 1910 vintage street lighting around the property to extend my working hours in the fall. No sooner did I light it
up and I had the City inspector out there telling me it was "illegal", dangerous, and I had to take it all down ! I respectfully suggested that
every street light up and down Grand Ave. was wired in the exact same way (with higher voltages) and that that we better get the City to
take that all down too, offering to walk him down the street for a closer look.
After some "inspection" and a tour through my shop of ancient "Frankenstein's Lab" equipment, he figured out I knew what I was doing
and we became good friends. Before I deployed, he came around from time to time to see how the project was going, but I think it was
more just to look at the ancient stuff I have collected. Another "poisoned" mind. Ain't it great ?
When this place is finished, one will be hard put to know it ISN'T 1920 and all those old codgers aren't living somewhere inside.
I hadn't thought about it, but I use liquid soap refill bottles, and I usually leave the donor bottle upside down on the dispenser bottle for a while to get ALL the soap out of it. Just habit! I also usually save the oil bottles and leave them upside down on an open oil can. Hmmmm.
Burger, speaking of old wiring & safety, the old family resort in Dunsmuir has it's own electrical distribution system, single wires on insulators from tree to tree and cabin to cabin. One spring a new young fireman was looking over the place for safety and was most concerned about "those bare wires"! I had to ask him what air was--an insulator! And the wires were one foot apart--where was the danger??? Same thing is true for knob & tube wiring, done properly--no rat is going to chew through the instillation and start a fire.
Was visiting the winery in Vina (north of Chico, CA. The building is one of the oldest in the county, built by General Bidwell, of brick, and has three-phase, 4-wire knob and tube. I was studying it--a real work of art & craftsmanship--when one of the employees came up, worried that I was an inspector or something. Couldn't believe I was just admiring the installation done a century or more ago.
Not the first time I've been identified as an inspector--happened once at the county fair when I was studying the rubber-tired rim drive on the Ferris wheel--first one I'd seen, all the previous ones I'd seen were cable drive. The rim drive is quite common now, less trouble than the cable, I suspect.
Curiosity may not have killed the cat, but it sure can get you in trouble sometimes! I need to wear a white hard hat & carry a clipboard; then I could go anywhere!!!
The more I read what you've written here, the more I like you.:-)
My dad straightened plenty of nails through the years. He set me to work straightening them as well. When I'm doing a project and I reach into my box of nails, I purposely seek out a bent one to straighten and use first.
My 94 year old Grandfather still occasionally tells the story about working for his cheap uncle back when he was a kid. They tore down a barn, and his job was to pull the nails from all the lumber they salvaged.
His "pay" was that he got to keep all the bent nails.
My aunt, who was known to be frugal, (which allowed the family to survive the Depression), used to give me burned out Christmas tree bulbs and used up camera flash cubes as little gifts. In all honesty, I liked the flash cubes as I would take them apart to see how they were made. As I recall, I was also the recipient of dead batteries. My lucky cousin got a stick of chewing gum so hard it would shatter your teeth. I really do miss those days and Aunt Mary Jane. RIP
BTW, who here is too young to know what a flash cube is/was?
Four years ago, our old red barn finally got blown down and I hired a Grand Nephew to come and work with me during that summer and his job was to remove all the nails in the old boards. The beams and rafters were toast courtesy of previous owners. A very elderly lady stopped by one day
with her granddaughter and the lady asked if she could have a board as a rememberance of the hard work her grandfather put into building that barn
more than 50 years ago.
I asked the lady if she would sit down and relax
and we would bring several boards for her to choose from. She made her choice and I gathered up all of the boards and took them to the grand daughter's car. When I asked her if she knew anyone who could build some bird houses for her grand mother, she looked surprised because she was already thinking ahead of me.
Two years later the grand daughter came by to let me know her grand mother had passed, and also to let me know how much her grand mother enjoyed the bird houses and the nice man who gave her the extra boards.
I never used flash cubes because by the time they came along I had quit using flash bulbs and switched to available light.
A little more having to do with old timers making do with what they had: patching holes with cans and can lids was common. I found this patch when working on the house the other day.
Sometimes I find a deal. The #8-32's x 3/4 were 5 lbs for $3.99 and some #5 x 5/8 slotted flat heads 1/2 lb for $1. I will never use them all but they sure come in handy and save me trips to the store. I did hold back and not but the second bag of #8's. No point in being ridiculous.
My grandmother has a set of Corelle plates she's been using for decades. The edges of just about every plate have chips and burn marks. I'm still not sure how the burn marks occurred, but they are there. My dad and uncle work for a local auctioneer, and a set of dishes identical to Grandma's were on a sale. They bought them so she could replace her "worn out" plates. Instead, she put them in a closet upstairs. She said she's saving them for the next one of her grandkids to get married. As I'm the oldest one still unmarried, it looks like I'm getting a set of dishes.
Grandma was born in 1932, Grandpa in 1933. They still live the Depression-era lifestyle as much as they can, because they've been doing it forever. I study them every chance I get, so I can learn all their little tricks. No reason to waste my money on necessities like food when I can save it for non-essentials like T parts. ;)