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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Prudent Prepping: Size(ing) Matters

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping. 

I call on Big Box stores for my job covering hardware items: nut, bolts, screws and related products. Luckily for me I don't have to wear the uniforms of a store employee,  but I do have a corporate logo on my shirt which attracts customers like, well, several NSFW analogies. Let's just say that being on the aisle, not running from customers, and looking reasonably competent makes me popular!

There are two questions I hear multiple times a day. I wish I could get a quarter every time I hear them because I'd have lunch money forever:
  1. "Excuse me, do you work here?" 
  2. "Excuse me, do you know what size/length/thread bolt this is?"
Smartphones with decent cameras have helped shoppers find equipment and parts by being able to show a picture of what they need to someone who can help find it.

Most of the time. Pictures do not help with nuts, bolts and screws. This does.

Gage-It Hardware Gauge



From the Gage-It Home Depot page:
  • Provides more than 20 measurement capabilities in English and metric units for finding lumber sizes, making conversions, calculating angles and much more
  • Measures screw, bolt, nut and nail sizes with ease
  • Measures steel, brass and PVC pipe sizes by O.D.
  • Measures copper and CPVC tubing sizes by O.D.
  • Measures drill, rod, tube and wire sizes by O.D.
  • Measures copper and CPVC joint tube fittings and internally threaded pipe fittings by I.D.
  • PVC construction with 2-color printing on the front side for ease of use and a stylish appearance
  • All-purpose scales on the back side include 1/4 in. and 1/8 in. architectural scales and O.D. and I.D. in English and metric units for your convenience
  • Rules graduated in inches and centimeters, an electrical wire gauge and conversion formulas are provided for converting measurements to other scales with ease

Thread Gauge
Why might this be important in a prepping situation? Having a way to match sizes of screws and bolts easily will shortcut the hunt for a match, since without a lot of exposure to different sizes, a 3/8" nut is hard to tell from a 7/16" or a 1/4" from 5/16" nut. 

What is not so easy to measure with this handy little tool is thread pitch. There are metal gauges that have threaded holes in them, but for the average person the cost is not worth it. Your local hardware store has a tool similar to this (see photo, left) for matching threads.

This particular tool is almost 3' long and also has threaded studs for matching nuts as well as sockets you see for matching screws and bolts. If you look right at the bottom of the picture, you can see that metric sockets are also included on the display.


The Takeaway
  • Having a way to get 90% of a perfect match to that needed fastener before you get to the store is a good idea. 
  • Why wander around looking for an employee to help and then stand in line to check out when you can find it yourself?

The Recap
  • One Armour Technologies Gage-It tool: $1.98 from Home Depot.
  • There's a similar item on Amazon that isn't solid plastic like this. I'm not mentioning it by name; just trust me and save your money.

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License


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