NIRN low-consumer-demand ironmongery - was thumbscrews
I can give the list an example from the UK, where I work in the Construction Industry in one of the Islands.
. When I started making replica woodwork to "pass the 3ft Rule" for our late-15th century "Company of the Duke'sLeopards" in old Jersey, back in 2003, - I needed to get hold of a selection of rosehead cut nails in various sizes. After a long search in the UK [ because none of the local Builders' Merchants had ever4 HEARD of "rosehead cuts nails" - I eventually discoeverd that I had only 3 options - get the use of a forge and make them myself; order them from a "specialist" blacksmith in the UK; or buy them in "commercial" 50kilo packs in each size I needed, from "Glasgow Steel Nail", the only UK-based hardware Manufacturer still offering them, - but in the "specialist" section of their Catalogue. And as for trying to obtain replica medieval hinges, corner straps, hasps & staples, and handles - forget it. If an item can't be sold to the DIY- household nrigade, then the local ironmongery Dewpts. won't stocki it, and more-over, aren't very interested in getting any quickly - even if the customer DOES know of a Manufacturer, but would rather give the business to a supposedly "locallly-owned" Firm.!
"Old" Jersey no longer has a "real" Ironmongery Dept. in any of it's Builders' Merchants. Everything on the shelves is shrink-wrapped for maximum Trade Customer inconvenience, - and if one needs something that's NOT on the shelves, then it will be 10-14 days before any of the local Builders' Merchants will be able to procure it - "on Special Order" - which tends to add a 10-15% premium to the item, plus you - the Customer - pay for "special Carraige".
--- On Tue, 25/11/08, Arthur Slaughter <finnmacart@...> wrote:
From: Arthur Slaughter <finnmacart@...>
Subject: RE: [MedievalSawdust] thumbscrews
Date: Tuesday, 25 November, 2008, 9:15 AM
I too am a blacksmith and end up making the things that the big box stores don't carry. The nearest REAL hardware store is in Minneapolis. That's a three hour run . So my projects get fancy hand forged fasteners more out of the need to make them than the desire to. Well OK ! I love making them!
To: medievalsawdust@ yahoogroups. com
From: conradh@efn. org
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 00:15:31 -0800
Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] thumbscrewsOn Sun, November 23, 2008 5:07 am, Rebekah d'Avignon wrote:
> Neither one seems to know what a thumbscrew is....
> I REALLY hate the big box hardware stores....
> They drove everyone else out of business and now if it is not something
> that EVERYONE wants EVERYDAY they do not stock it.....
Milady, they _haven't_ driven everyone else out of business. I make my
living, such as it is, blacksmithing, and I suspect my car can find its
own way to the hardware store. But I haven't bought anything at Home
Despot or Lowe's in years, for exactly the reason you complain about.
First of all, we have a _local_ big box independent building supply mart,
with two outlets. They consistently beat the chains on price, and when it
comes to diversity of product, they're far ahead.
Second, if you aren't that lucky, look for _real_ hardware stores. Large
cities have several each; a town like mine (Eugene, Oregon, metro area
about 1/4 million) has one. You can tell a real hardware store because
they never sell toasters, they never have muzak even at Christmas time,
and 100% of their clientele get dirt under their nails doing what they do.
A real hardware store sells small parts like your thumbscrews out of bulk
bins or small boxes left open on the shelves, not shrinkwrapped in
adult-proof packaging onto little cards for your inconvenience. Every one
I've ever seen has been locally owned. Their prices are better than the
suburban big-boxes, and the variety of choices are stunning. If you go in
wanting 1/4x20 NC hexhead bolts, they'll ask you "class 1, class 6, class
They don't always have names that stick out. The one I use locally calls
itself "Eugene Fastener" though it sells hand tools, chain by the foot,
threaded cast-iron knobs you can screw on a shaft end--as well as a
complete series of number drill bits.
Then there are the real specialists. The Tool House here has
lefthand-thread taps and dies _in stock_. (Wanna make your own
handscrews? It's fun) These may list themselves as machinist supplies or
Eugene isn't really a major manufacturing center. If you try this search
in a city that is one, the results can be amazing. Seven Corners
Hardware, in downtown St. Paul, was one of the finest I've ever seen.
Dunno if they're still there, but they had everything a home machine shop
could ask for, in cases alongside the light bulbs and Roach Motels.
Online, one of the best dealers I know for obscure fasteners is R.J. Leahy
& Co. in San Francisco. Every size of old-fashioned solid rivet, with
every head type. Copper roves for lap-strake boat builders. I can order
online or by phone and have the box day after tomorrow. Try them for your
thumbscrews- -my guess is they'll ask you what thread size/diameter you
need, and would you like them in steel, brass, stainless or monel?
Back east, Jamestown Fasteners in Rhode Island has a good reputation,
though I haven't dealt with them personally. Tremont Nail, also in New
England, sells old-time cut nails with heads that look hand-forged; I use
a lot of them in replica work because I can't handmake nails for the three
bucks a pound they charge me!
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- On Tue, November 25, 2008 1:15 am, Arthur Slaughter wrote:
>Me too--though I find nails to be one of those PITA projects. But I do my
> I too am a blacksmith and end up making the things that the big box
> stores don't carry. The nearest REAL hardware store is in Minneapolis.
> That's a three hour run . So my projects get fancy hand forged fasteners
> more out of the need to make them than the desire to. Well OK ! I love
> making them! Finnr
own hinges, handles, binding irons and often locks. Which often look
better than my joinery; I'm trying to learn more woodworking skills to
restore the balance!