Experienced a "rude awakening" at a large local hardware store yesterday! I didn't try Home Depot or Lowes, but I'm pretty sure that a purchase of various size nails would be about the same there.
I guess I'm showing my age here, but as a kid, growing up in the Chicago area in the '40's & '50's, hardware stores stocked various size and types of nails, in separate bins, or in a revolving and multi-tiered affair with a scoop with which you "scooped" the nails out of the bins and into a scale which enabled you to buy nails "by-the-pound". WELL! NOT SO ANYMORE! I guess I really knew that nails have not been sold that way for a long time, but as little carpentry work as I do, I just simply have not purchased any nails in a long, long time!
When I went to the hardware store yesterday, I "assumed" that I'd be in for a "rude awakening" and be forced to buy nails in very small but expensive quantities, in little "blister packs" like so many other hardware items are now sold. Well, in reality, it was much worse than that! Nowadays, it seems that you have to buy a whole box of nails, or nothing! And the smallest boxes cost about $5.00 each!
For many, many years, I've been very slowly using up whatever oddball nails I had laying around my shop/workbench, etc. In fact, lately, as my "nail supply" has dwindled, I've actually resorted to, now and then, straightening used and bent nails for some of the little incidental jobs I've had that just required half a dozen (or less) nails.
Right now, I have undertaken quite an unusually extensive carpentry project for me, that of building very compact "living quarters" in the vee-nose front section of my new enclosed car hauler trailer. (Bunk bed(s), shelves, small workbench, etc.) For this project, I finally made up my mind to "acquire" a pretty extensive supply of several sizes of finishing nails and common nails. Well, here comes the "shocker! The smallest quantity of five sizes of each, for a total of ten little boxes of nails cost me just over $50.00 fifty bucks!
My wife asked me what I bought for $50.00 at the hardware store, and I replied,...."I needed some nails for the interior modifications I'm making to my new trailer. Her reply was something like,....Oh yeah, some nails! Right! Sure you did!
"No really"! All I bought was nails!
I think she also was remembering how we used to buy a couple little bags of nails at the hardware store for a couple bucks, max! Yup! Times they are a-chang'n!!
With the advent of the battery powered driver and any type of screw and bit it's hard to think nails are still sold.
Good point Ken. However, there is also the advent of the pneumatic nail gun, and there are sure a lot of "bands" of nails made and sold for nail guns! Hardwood floor installers and roofers would be "lost" without their nail guns. In fact, now that you've got me to thinking about it Ken, I see "do-it-yourself" shows on TV where nail guns are used! Of course, nobody'd buy a small quantity of nails for a nail gun either!
This is one of the reasons I haunt farm and estate auctions. A related pet gripe of mine is being expected to buy a blister pack of two items to get the one I want. A lot of times I'm just contrary enough to pass on the whole deal. Then there's the $5 faucet part that's sold only as part of a $20 "kit". I'd be glad to suggest a place where they can put their kit.
I was thinking after i posted i wish i had not because i started thinking but too late!!I have two nail guns but i have not used either in years.I remember the bulk nail bins you spoke of but long long ago.Once when i bought and moved two standing corn cribs i bought 50's and 60's but it was long ago! Sorry for screwing up while you nailed it!!
I feel your pain Harold. So many things have gone that way. Slotted head wood screws, rivets and stove bolts are either nonexistent or in tiny packages that cost a small fortune. The upholstery shop behind me is saving their nails for me as they take them out of old furniture. I call them tacks.
How unfortunate we were to have been born when all was right in the world. ;0(
(Message edited by rich eagle on September 17, 2017)
We are lucky enough to have a harware that still sells nails like that. The floor creaks when you walk on it. You cant buy flat head screws or square head bolts. I am lucky to have packrats for family and friends. They have supplied most fasteners for my latest project. Steve is right , unless you have lots of coin the rusty buckets and wood boxes of nuts and bolts and coffee cans full of nails are real gold.
Harold, In this day and age the only thing that goes down in sales price inversely to what you put into it is a Model T!
The local hardware store here still has paper bags, the scale, scoop for both nails and drywall and deck screws. They also have the boxes too. The other day I needed some drywall screws for a small patch job, picked out a 1/4 lb of them in a small paper bag.
sometimes living in the sticks is worthwhile!
Up until a few years ago I could by rivets to do my T frame from Collier's hardware over in Chico, been there over a hundred years now! Might still be able to get the rivets if I can find where they're stashed!
Here in our part of Arkansas, I guess we are still a backwards state. Two of our hardware stores still have the revolving bins of nails in all sizes. They are by the pound in paper bags. You can get a 50 lb box if you need that many, and they also carry the small boxes and blister packs. One of the store also sell all their nuts bolts and washers by the pound. Just put all the bolts in one bag (any size) the nuts in another (any size) and the washers in another bag (any size). Simple life still exists in a few parts of the world, but times are a changing ... I just hope our part of the world holds out a little longer ...
Our local ACE still has the revolving rack and claw scoop with all common sizes of nails. They have the right size nails for building yard fences or good neighbor fences where as the building supply stores like Home Deep pot doesn't. Their nails are too long, the go completely through the fence.
But...... all the stores, even ACE, has stopped selling grade 5 fine thread bolts. I have to special order them. Or buy grade eight.
Harold, the McClendon's in Tacoma has nail kegs with nails. Maybe the other stores do also.
Paul in Tacoma
Paul - Well! I'll be darned! The hardware store I was talking about was McClendon's in Sumner! I think they only have five stores in the Seattle/Tacoma area and apparently, they don't all stock the same, huh? Might be because McClendon's gradually grew from their one first store, many years ago, to the present five. Dunno,.... but thanks for the info,..... harold
As a long time builder and cabinet maker I have seen the drift from old way to new way.
After selling most of my nail and staple guns in retirement living at the coast with salt air and late cars with metric and inch fasteners has become a challenge with the right tools, nails, and staples to use.
My rotating nail bin is now used for bolts nuts and washers setting in the corner of the shop it takes little room with about five hundred pounds in it. and every thing from grade five to eight to metric. T bolts are the top bin.
A tall five drawer file is loaded with nails staples both stainless electric plate. Part containers of hot dip nails are stored in another file cabinet. They are hard to find.
99 percent of nails and fasteners are free or a few dollars at garage sales.
I often spend an hour putting away the days find in marked file drawers.
The last good hardware store here in Rochester stated replacing their hardware stock with poorly made Phillips head machine and wood screws. Very frustrating. Hate to have to go to yard sales and flea markets to by boxes of hardware when sometimes I just need a couple of matching fasteners for a project.
Our local hardware store (the only one for the past decade) still sells nails and the various screws in bins. Unfortunatly they were just sold and we are all hoping that the bins do not go away. What is impossible to find are steel screws, nuts washers, etc. Everything is either stainless or galvanized. This is in Key Largo, FL
The local Tractor Supply and the Case IH dealer still sell bolts nuts and washers by the pound.The drywall screws can be had by bulk but then you get phillips head which are in mho junk! People who build use nail guns and drag a air hose,but i say screw it.Over the years i'm sure many have seen sun and lumber shrink pull/loosen nales,but screws?
Pressure treated lumber is done with salt now as I understand. All joist hangers and fasteners have to be salt resistant. Hot dip works well with its rough exterior but guns generally will not shoot them. To me sun wood is a joke, composites generally are harder to install and cost more but do last in our wet salt air. Its the framing where the fasteners puncture the outer PT treated area that rot.
Try to find a cheap surface-mount doorbell button, the kind that was around for a hundred years. Good luck with that.
Harold, Your findings are quite true. Nails of any sort are becoming extinct. I have been a finish carpenter for many years and have had to change my thinking. This has not always been bad though. I now use nail guns (finish/framing) vs hand nails. This has saved my arthritic hands from further damage and they are easier to use, like having a third hand. I also use screws in place of nails and find them beneficial because you can back them out to further adjust your work piece. Like in the case of your constructing shelves and cabinets in your trailer, screws would be the way to go. I still use specialty nails for siding as they are a screw type and small head that don't show too much and won't back out. Just my 02c and not worth much more.
Try Stewart's Hardware at 1761 Rainier in Seattle: been there in the same building since at least the 1920s, still write out a sales receipt too!
Oh, and they have Lumber too. Very helpful folks!
RSC - I appreciate your advice and rest assured, most of what I'm doing inside my new trailer involve the appropriate screws. There are however, quite a few small incidentals for which small finishing nails and glue are appropriate, and such details are the reason I wanted a good supply of uniform and appropriate sized nails,....mostly finishing nails. And even tho' I had to spend over $50.00 for 10 boxes of graduated sized nails, it is nice to have on hand, easy to find whenever needed, a nice selection of any sized nail(s) I need, instead of "scrounging around" wasting time looking here and there thru' all my junk, for a few various sized nails that will work,....like I've been doing for years! Thanks again,..... harold
Hey Steve,.....that "cheap surface-mount doorbell button" you mentioned reminds me of the now extinct (unfortunately) simple to use and simple to understand thermostat to easily control your furnace! The one in this house we moved into 15 years ago has a wonderful ecological piece of space-age engineering" that requires an electrical and heating & cooling engineer to "program" the darn thing. Of course, the previous owner of the house did not bother to same the "owners manual" that came with such a wonderfully complicated piece of "space-age engineering"! .......harold (:^) (:^)
Harold, agree with the thermostat post I have to use my heat gun to find the real temperature where it mounts. The IMPROVED ones were started to save energy. The old ones with a drop of mercury were discontinued as far as I know for EPA reasons.
Paul - RIGHT! I'm not sure if they even make the old type us old folks are used to anymore, but I certainly know that absolutely nobody sells them!
Oops! Also meant to say that the last time we had a heating man over to service our furnace, he said that it's actually "illegal" to install anything but the new ecologicaly, environmentally friendly, etc, etc, type of "programable" thermostat! (....of course, he is selling thermostats, right?)