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Where to source miscellaneous small hardware?

trlvn

Active Member
#1
What is your go-to source for odd bits of hardware? Today I need a single #1 Woodruff key. Tomorrow it might be a specific size of tapered pin. After that, maybe a certain E-clip, or ...

Oh, and without spending a fortune. The local Brafasco has a minimum purchase; think it is $15. The Fastenal store has never seemed very helpful. The guys at Bolts Plus seem good but they don't have a Woodruff key that small.

Is there some other industrial supply place that will fill really small orders without a lot of snark?

Craig
I go to auctions from time to time. I try to keep an eye out for a parts cabinet stuffed with odd ball items like these. All I ever see are picture hanging supplies...
 

CalgaryPT

Super User
Vendor
Premium Member
#2
I source a lot of small parts for a product I manufacture. Some come from the online, but I learned to buy small first and check the specs. Even then I have been stung due to QA/QC issues. My best online hardware experience actually comes from reoccurring orders from Protex in England. Stuff gets here on time with no hassles. But I do order larger quantities (100+ units at a time).

Locally:
  • Calgary Fasteners has been great to me, but it took me years to find the right guy to talk to there. Sorry your experience sucked.
  • I have heard Richelieu has the best selection but I've had nothing but bad luck with them: they have a bizarre business model where they won't allow larger purchases unless you set up an account (even a cash account) but they won't set up the account without a (BIN) Business Identification Number issued by The City...this eliminates anyone working out of their garage unless you apply for a permit. A lot of the hardware on the shelves of the big box stores in Calgary is sourced from Richelieu.
  • Grainger is hit and miss as the staff don't understand how to order from the US store and the online inventories are suspect from both sites (although I recently had a very positive experience from the US online store).
  • Bolt Supply Warehouse is OK.
  • Princess Auto has lots of stuff at great prices.
  • For tiny electronics-related stuff like screws and grommets and standoffs, SolarBotics (previously Active Electronics) is good, but as of a few months ago they were still crammed into an upstairs temp location awaiting another move downstairs.
  • B&E is better than SolarBotics for the previous kind of stuff. They can be super grumpy though. B&E has some staff still that used to work at Cam Gard supply in the 1970s. These used to be the grumpy ones. I suspect they still have shag carpeting in their homes, which may be the root of their attitude issues.
  • For hydraulic and hose fittings Craigs is great.
  • Bearings Canada has a great selection of bearings of course, and great customer service.
  • Lee Valley for odd stuff like swivels.
  • For motors and pumps I've used James Electric -- they sell parts too.
For single Woodruffs you might try a bike shop that sells electric bikes, a medical scooter shop or a robotics supply store. They all sell small motors that use smaller keys.

- Peter
 
#3
Spaeneur or Bolts Plus for me

Spaenours paper catalogue is almost 4” thick. Want one bolt? Most times, they’ll sell your just the one bolt (grommet, woodruff, screw, etc)

Bolts Plus will sell you one as well, or as many as you like. Great customer service usually, and no minimum order price
 

trlvn

Active Member
#4
I got lucky on the Woodruff. Ted's Bearing in Oakville just gave me one! I was getting a belt and asked if they knew where I could find one locally. He routed around a little and found an old container with an assortment of sizes and said "help yourself"!

I'm going to have to make a field trip to Spaeneur one of these days. I wish their web site was a little easier to use.

BTW, Bolts Plus doesn't normally carry the #1 size Woodruff. Canadian Tire actually has a little blister pack of woodruff keys (for $6!) but it was sizes 2 to 9.

AcklandsGrainger has the part but they only offer packages of 100. That's a tad excessive.

https://www.acklandsgrainger.com/en/product/WOODRUFF-KEY,1-16X1-2-IN,SAE-1,PK100/p/WWG1AME2

I think I'm going to try to get a Woodruff key assortment through eBay. Probably, I'll never need another in my life, though. :rolleyes:

Craig
 

CalgaryPT

Super User
Vendor
Premium Member
#5
I think someone on this forum should keep a database of those of us with assorted packages of smaller parts we could all tap into: Wooddriff keys, fittings, o rings, cotter and split pins, zerks, etc.
 
Last edited:

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#6
Let us know how you get on with Spaenours. I get the impression they are good for 'box of 100' but not so great for smaller/cut quantities. You're rightthe website looks ancient. I remember I had to coax a spreadsheet out of them to even gat an idea of available sizes. I'm more of a 20 of each M3 capscrew progressive series from 5 to 30mm type guy. For stuff like that, Ebay has been the only solution. And I'm 99% sure that' where the stuff comes from to begin with. I'm talking mostly fasteners here, but other things like bearings & keys seem to have similar 'go-between' shops. I wish there was the equivalent of 1-stop McMaster Carr up here in the frozen hinterland we call home, but alas, not really.
 
#7
Let us know how you get on with Spaenours. I get the impression they are good for 'box of 100' but not so great for smaller/cut quantities. You're rightthe website looks ancient. I remember I had to coax a spreadsheet out of them to even gat an idea of available sizes. I'm more of a 20 of each M3 capscrew progressive series from 5 to 30mm type guy. For stuff like that, Ebay has been the only solution. And I'm 99% sure that' where the stuff comes from to begin with. I'm talking mostly fasteners here, but other things like bearings & keys seem to have similar 'go-between' shops. I wish there was the equivalent of 1-stop McMaster Carr up here in the frozen hinterland we call home, but alas, not really.
Would any of you guys want a paper catalogue from Spaenour? They are free, I don’t know what shipping might be

Spaenours book showed a quantity of either 50 or 100 of something I wanted 6 of. The counter lady said no problem, I’ll sell you 6
 

DPittman

Active Member
#8
I source a lot of small parts for a product I manufacture. Some come from the online, but I learned to buy small first and check the specs. Even then I have been stung due to QA/QC issues. My best online hardware experience actually comes from reoccurring orders from Protex in England. Stuff gets here on time with no hassles. But I do order larger quantities (100+ units at a time).

Locally:
  • Calgary Fasteners has been great to me, but it took me years to find the right guy to talk to there. Sorry your experience sucked.
  • I have heard Richelieu has the best selection but I've had nothing but bad luck with them: they have a bizarre business model where they won't allow larger purchases unless you set up an account (even a cash account) but they won't set up the account without a (BIN) Business Identification Number issued by The City...this eliminates anyone working out of their garage unless you apply for a permit. A lot of the hardware on the shelves of the big box stores in Calgary is sourced from Richelieu.
  • Grainger is hit and miss as the staff don't understand how to order from the US store and the online inventories are suspect from both sites (although I recently had a very positive experience from the US online store).
  • Bolt Supply Warehouse is OK.
  • Princess Auto has lots of stuff at great prices.
  • For tiny electronics-related stuff like screws and grommets and standoffs, SolarBotics (previously Active Electronics) is good, but as of a few months ago they were still crammed into an upstairs temp location awaiting another move downstairs.
  • B&E is better than SolarBotics for the previous kind of stuff. They can be super grumpy though. B&E has some staff still that used to work at Cam Gard supply in the 1970s. These used to be the grumpy ones. I suspect they still have shag carpeting in their homes, which may be the root of their attitude issues.
  • For hydraulic and hose fittings Craigs is great.
  • Bearings Canada has a great selection of bearings of course, and great customer service.
  • Lee Valley for odd stuff like swivels.
  • For motors and pumps I've used James Electric -- they sell parts too.
For single Woodruffs you might try a bike shop that sells electric bikes, a medical scooter shop or a robotics supply store. They all sell small motors that use smaller keys.

- Peter
An excellent reference of suppliers thank you for that and especially "I suspect they still have shag carpeting in their homes, which may be the root of their attitude issues.". I know people like that! Damn it I wouldn't care about the shag carpet but the attitude drives me nuts so get rid of the shag! LOL
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#10
I’d definitely be interested in a catalog. Maybe things have changed over the years. Portion orders were not in the cards when I spoke with them but that’s going back a ways.
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#12
Thanks for the nice offer. I'll inquire with them. You know I think I my have even had one a long time ago because I recall giving them a business name.... of sorts :)
 

trlvn

Active Member
#13
...I'm going to try to get a Woodruff key assortment through eBay.
No joy on eBay, either. First, a tonne of listings are for metric-sized Woodruff but they don't say that in the title. You have to open the listing to find out. Then, virtually all the Imperial-sized assortments exclude the Woodruff #1 (ANSI 204). I found one listing for a vintage assortment but the Buy It Now prices is USD $50 plus shipping. I don't want them that badly.

Sigh.

Craig
 
#14
No joy on eBay, either. First, a tonne of listings are for metric-sized Woodruff but they don't say that in the title. You have to open the listing to find out. Then, virtually all the Imperial-sized assortments exclude the Woodruff #1 (ANSI 204). I found one listing for a vintage assortment but the Buy It Now prices is USD $50 plus shipping. I don't want them that badly.

Sigh.

Craig
https://spaenaur.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Woodruff-Keys-E108-E109.pdf

Does that link work?

I looked at their assortment pack, they started with a WK-2 as the smallest size

I’m going out on a limb that it’s missing the #1 size you were after, also
 

RobinHood

Active Member
Premium Member
#15
No joy on eBay, either. First, a tonne of listings are for metric-sized Woodruff but they don't say that in the title. You have to open the listing to find out. Then, virtually all the Imperial-sized assortments exclude the Woodruff #1 (ANSI 204). I found one listing for a vintage assortment but the Buy It Now prices is USD $50 plus shipping. I don't want them that badly.

Sigh.

Craig
McMaster has them, pack of 100 for ~ USD 10.00
Here is the link: https://www.mcmaster.com/98481a080
You could always just make the one, the specs are included on the McMaster link. They are either 1018 or 1045 steel (plain hot/cold rolled mild steel)
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#16
Good lead but McMaster wont ship to common mortals in Kanuckistan unless you have a company or institutional account. They stopped that years ago citing excess customs paperwork.
 

trlvn

Active Member
#17
https://spaenaur.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Woodruff-Keys-E108-E109.pdf

Does that link work?

I looked at their assortment pack, they started with a WK-2 as the smallest size

I’m going out on a limb that it’s missing the #1 size you were after, also
Thanks but I did find that page. They don't show a price on anything and even the 25 quantity of the individual #1 size is overkill. As you said, they apparently will sell onesy-twosey at the counter.

I would like to find an assortment pack but it is not a critical need right now since I did get the one I needed. And some tapered pins and roll pins. And E-clips and C-clips. ...

MrPete222 sometimes casually mentions that he has over a million items in stock in his shop. That might be an exaggeration but...maybe not by much!

Craig
 

trlvn

Active Member
#19
The one on Amazon would be good if it just had the smaller sizes.

I had not seen the one from England. Note that they're charging 2.29 pound sterling for EACH key. Plus 4.00 pounds for shipping. If I was stuck, I might use that but I'm good for now.

Thanks for looking for me.

Craig
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#20
I cant recall if you had a mill or mill accessory for the lathe, but as Robinhood says, making a 1-off wouldn't be too onerous.
- turn the OD to reduced diameter using the spec dimensions
- mill a slot in the middle (maybe you can make 2 at the same time depending on the end mill diameter
- mill the small flat parallel while you have the setup (or leave this to do by hand)
- return to lathe & part off to thickness

The other option since its nominal stock like 1/16, 3/32, 1/8"... is lay it out on common thickness stock with protractor & ruler, cut & file. Its a bit fiddly because its small but I don't think they are super critical as long as they fit snug.
 

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