Date: 16 May 2016. Storing Nuts, Bolts and Screws.
Aboard Seaweed I have a system for
sorting and organizing my screws, nuts and bolts. It works and is
easy to maintain. This is what I do, along with a couple of
suggestions on how my method could be better. Best of all, it's
totally free using stuff you already own.
For the smallest screws I have used empty aspirin bottles. The
labels come off leaving a sticky residue.
Low Odor Paint Thinner made by Daler Rowney
removes the glue without damaging the plastic aspirin bottle.
The thinner is about $6 for a small container at
Wal-Mart. It works well.
Because I paint seashells I have this item in my ship's
Yes, that tooth pick with
a single hair is the paint brush. I have other larger brushes. For fine detail I make my own paintbrushes.
But I digress... or as Kidlet says I run down bunny trails.
(That means I go off topic.)
Little aspirin bottles are a good
size for short screws, lock washers and such. The problem with them
is that you have to line up the arrows to open the doggone bottle. I
do not want to hunt down my glasses to see the arrows so the first
thing I do is take out my red nail polish [see
Kindle versus Fire (nail polish too)
article] and paint the arrows red.
If it is a set of the same thing
I will glue one on top of the lid. Sometimes they come off so I fairly
regularly glue a second time. Of course if I used something better
(hot glue or silicone) that would not happen. It is a small enough
thing to replace that I have not yet bothered to do a more permanent
solution. For other screws and such I
write what is inside on the top.
The tiny nails shown above on the
left are brass and will not rust.
I regularly replace screws that could rust with better quality
First of all, know I am totally a stainless girl. I do not keep
things that cannot be used aboard the boat. Having a supply of nuts,
bolts and screws is for convenience not necessity. I would not buy
in advance unless I came across a real bargain.
Confession time: I do have and
enjoy beautiful things that simply bring me pleasure. Boating isn't
all about working on the boat and having a huge spare parts
If you are like me, when I
discover something I need for Seaweed I buy one plus a spare. I went
from almost no spares eight years ago to a fairly substantial
collection though not overnight. I've purchased as needed and that
has worked well for my budget.
You do not need to
have Everything at the onset. Buying as you go is Good Enough.
Here in the United States most parts can be obtained ASAP using
overnight delivery. Thus, having spare parts out the kazoo is less
necessary than if you were heading out to remote locations.
I already have lots of hardware.
It was leftover from our previous boat supplies. Having the nuts,
bolts and such stored in accessible places is for my convenience.
And too, it is nice to be able to share with folks. I generally have
what is required.
On our 40'er we used to have a collection of spice bottles. Those
were filled with screws in various sizes. I kept them when we sold
that boat. During the galley switcheroo [see
Securing a Refrigerator (fans too)
article] the collection that formerly resided where the *reefer now
is was moved into a milk crate in the bilge.
*Reefer: boat talk for a
It was a mess. I do not do chaos
and disorder so this was not my favorite:
Side Note: You might notice that I have hose clamps attached to the
bulkhead on the left side of the above photo. They are sorted into
Small (up to about an inch
diameter, for small hoses and such)
Medium (about 1 1/2" to 3")
Large (above four inches)
I have them on small loops of line
so that I can easily retrieve one or more. It is convenient to have
spares and by sorting them in advance I can get just the right size
without a hassle. There are three brass cup hook holders the hose
clamp collections hang on.
For me having items
accessible and stored properly is a big advantage.
Folks are always amazed when I have so much and can find it quickly.
Still, there is room for improvement. You might see the varied sizes
of bottles in the collection. My favorites without a doubt are the
old pill bottles. Those without the childproof safety caps are the
best. Next, spice jars are wonderful. You can see through them and
they store a quantity of screws.
Were I to build a hardware
collection again, from the get-go I would use spice bottles. There
are a myriad of spice shelves available from both retail stores and
thrift shops. It would be wonderful to have a locker with a big
collection of bottles all lined up on a neat rack where I could see
I also have one super-sized
mayonnaise jar with hinges 4" and smaller stashed aside.
The matching ones are tied together. If I require a
pair of hinges I can easily find them in this collection.
A local guy preparing to cruise had too many screws to fit into
small bottles such as I have aboard Seaweed. For his collection
empty instant coffee jars were utilized. The jars are plastic with
plastic lids that will not rust. They fit a lot.
Someday he can sort them down into
better organized, more size specific groups. For now this is the way
they are sorted:
Small bolts such as you would use
in an electrical panel (short stubby ones)
Screws less than one inch long
Screws more than an inch long up
to about 2" long
Larger diameter and longer screws
Washers, lock washers, finish
washers and nuts
Bolts that are not BIG
The largest bolts, wing nuts,
washers, nuts, locking nuts (those 5/16" and above)
The above groupings seem to work well as a starter
point. To do it all as precisely as mine are (sorted by size, thread
count) would be an overwhelming task. Sometimes Good Enough is
indeed good enough. This is such a case.
This screw set was a gift from Baby. I have refilled it numerous times. It is
a convenient kit to bring along when I am helping out a friend.
Yours do not have to be perfect. For now, simply
remove the ones that would rust and Call it Good. There is boating to
be done, and sorting screws is one of those things you can do at
With a gentle breeze and some music
playing on the radio, well, sorting screws is almost fun!
Yachts at anchor including Lady Catherine. Isn't she
a beauty? Photo by Island Time.
To you and yours, I wish lots of wonderful days and nights at
anchor. And may all your screws be just right for the job at hand.
What sorting system do you have for screws and bolts?
Do you use those plastic boxes with the dividers or something else
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