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I walked into my shop today and there was a guy waiting for some parts to be modified. I asked what he was having done and he handed me what looked like a 1/2" stainless bolt that was being modified to have a round rather than hex head. It looked just like a threaded terminal for heavy boat rigging and he confirmed that it was. He named two big well known quality boat manufacturers he was doing the work for.
I looked at the bolt threads and although it had been polished, they were seriously pitted. After he left, I looked in thebox he left for more to be done and noticed 6 of them in a bag from McMaster Carr and they were all equally bad. They almost look as if they were cast in a poor quality mold rather than turned on a screw machine.
When the parts get sent out I intend to suggest they find a supplier of better quality stainless. This looks like cheap chinese stuff that I would not allow on my boat. I may even call the boat company and suggest they inspect the parts.
Any ideas on what I should do?
 

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A few months back I looked into quality bolt manufactures. The one that seemed good has the letters THE in raised print on the head of the bolt. Get the THE bolt in 316 SS. THE is a Tawain bolt manufacturing company that looks to make quality bolts and nuts- they look to be the largest in the world.

I would question rounding off the head of a bolt. The bolt head might be forge and rounding would severly lower the bolts strength. Also, the bolt now needs to be polished and passivated.

http://www.the.com.tw/E/body.php




Tong Hwei has grown to be the leading Stainless Steel Fasteners manufacturer in the world. We not only specialize in standard products to the international specifications but also are skillful in the engineered products to blue prints. Our logo " THE" is recognized as the best brand of Stainless Steel Fasteners. Our mission is to offer a high level support and service to customers through a wide product range along with efficient correspondence, superior quality, reliable delivery performance and competitive pricing.








1978 TONG HWEI was founded at Gang Shan, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, producing Steel Bolts & Nuts.
1985 TONG HWEI massively installed new machines and concentrated on developing Stainless Steel Bolts & Nuts business.

1986 TONG HWEI massively installed new machines and concentrated on developing Stainless Steel Bolts & Nuts business.

1994 TONG HWEI acquired certificate of ISO 9001 Quality Management System.

1995 TONG HWEI invested to establish MIN HWEI located at Ping-Nan Industrial District, Ping Tung, Taiwan, specialized in producing Stainless Steel Self Tapping Screws, Machine Screws, Chipboard Screws and Wires. MIN HWEI acquired certificate of ISO 9001 Quality Management System.
TONG HWEI installed the first Automatic Warehousing system with 9,048 locations.
1998 TONG HWEI acquired certificate of ISO 17025 Chinese National Laboratory Accreditation.
2005 MIN HWEI enlarged land size to be 42,000 square meters and triplicated production capacity.
2006 MIN HWEI built up the Automatic Warehousing system with 24,000 locations.
TONG HWEI relocated at Gang Shan, Kaohsiung, Taiwan with land size at 100,000 square meters and massively installed new heavily installed new machines to triplicate production capacity.
A new automatic warehousing system with 50,000 locations was built up.
2007 TONG HWEI added Stainless Steel Threaded Rods to production line.
2010 TONG HWEI and Min Hwei invested Ming Hwei Energy Co., Ltd. (www.mhe.com.tw) at Douliu City, Yunlin County, Taiwan for producing Solar Cells & Modules with annual production capacity of 60MW.










Land area: 100,000M2 (1,076,000 square feet = 25 acres)
Numbers of employees: 220
Quality System: ISO9001 / ISO 17025
Main Products: Stainless Steel Bolts, Screws and Threaded Rods
Production capacity: 6,000 MT/month
Automatic Warehouse system: 50,000 locations
Main Production Process: Wire Drawing, Forming, Threading, Passivating, Packing and Warehousing
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The bolts from McMaster-Carr are NOT labelled THC but there is a bag of bolts that is so labelled. They look somewhat better but still have smaller pitting.
 

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The bolts from McMaster-Carr are NOT labelled THC but there is a bag of bolts that is so labelled. They look somewhat better but still have smaller pitting.
THC or THE? I have never seen new bolts pitted. Pitting is usually caused by crevice corrosion in stainless and the bolt would need to be subjected to salt water to get pitted.
 

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THC or THE? I have never seen new bolts pitted. Pitting is usually caused by crevice corrosion in stainless and the bolt would need to be subjected to salt water to get pitted.
Any water without the presence of oxygen will cause crevice corrosion. Most corroded chainplates corrode from rainwater entering the deck and surrounding core. Salt is not required, acidic rain water can cause it as well.
 

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I had a rigger over for dinner today.
I just asked about the bolts.
He said the THE bolts are the better brand.
THC are different and not as good.

Of course from his point of view you should pull the bolts and check them every few years anyway so if that is done either will probably work fine.
 

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I'd be very surprised if McMasterCarr supplied bolts of inferior quality, as everything I've ever had from them has been top notch.
 

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I'd be very surprised if McMasterCarr supplied bolts of inferior quality, as everything I've ever had from them has been top notch.
They might not even be aware of a ( nock off ) or a substitution The also buy from a source. Many times I have been on a job100 ft up bolting a ss flange needing 12 bolts 11 may be quality and one somehow gets in the unopened sealed bag and is a different manufacture. Sometimes they meet the engineering specification but You need 12 of the same. It is now a habit to check each one before the climb.
I also recommend a good quality nickel anti seize.
Good Day, Lou
 

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The bolts from McMaster-Carr are NOT labelled THC but there is a bag of bolts that is so labelled. They look somewhat better but still have smaller pitting.
Might have had better luck smoking them! :laugher:laugher:laugher

I'd be very surprised if McMasterCarr supplied bolts of inferior quality, as everything I've ever had from them has been top notch.

Well they don't make anything, just send out specs and go with the cheapest supplier they think they can get away with. I would not be surprised at all. They likely were sent a good batch as a sample and then got cheaper ones in following deliveries. They would have to sample every delivery, and I don't see that happening. There seems to be a real lowering of quality from the Chinese stainless steel. Seems everyone is trying to save a buck.
 

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They might not even be aware of a ( nock off ) or a substitution The also buy from a source. Many times I have been on a job100 ft up bolting a ss flange needing 12 bolts 11 may be quality and one somehow gets in the unopened sealed bag and is a different manufacture. Sometimes they meet the engineering specification but You need 12 of the same. It is now a habit to check each one before the climb.
I also recommend a good quality nickel anti seize.
Good Day, Lou
One thing I do not understand about structural bolts, there does not seem to be any quality control or agnecy that controls to bolt quality. Say you go to West Marine, they have open bins of bolts, who made the bolt, what is the makers quality control program, what are you really buying? Seems no one really knows.

Do a seach "Chinese Stainless Steel Bolt Manufacturers"- the results are shocking when you realize the market is flooded with these bolts of unknown quality.

Maybe the answer is to buy US MIL grade bolts.
 

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I wouldn't expect to purchase bolts for any critical attachment like chainplates at West Marine. McMaster Carr seems to have bolts in any category.
McMaster-Carr
 

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I wouldn't expect to purchase bolts for any critical attachment like chainplates at West Marine. McMaster Carr seems to have bolts in any category.
McMaster-Carr
Why would you think McMaster Carr has a better quality control program than West Marine. Do you have a written quality control program from McMaster Carr? Do you know they even have one?
 

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Why would you think McMaster Carr has a better quality control program than West Marine. Do you have a written quality control program from McMaster Carr? Do you know they even have one?
Looking at the link I posted I think they do. West Marine just has bolts and machine screws, not graded according to strength rating like McMaster Carr.

I have not purchased from McMaster Carr but from industrial suppliers local to me.
 

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Looking at the link I posted I think they do. West Marine just has bolts and machine screws, not graded according to strength rating like McMaster Carr.

I have not purchased from McMaster Carr but from industrial suppliers local to me.
Do you know that Stainless Steels are not graded like carbon steel? Carbon steel bolts have marks on them indicating the strength (count the number of hash marks to find coresponding strength). The strength of a carbon steel bolt is changed primarily by heat treating- the stronger the bolt, the more brittle.

Stainless on the other hand is a specific type of stainless like 304 or 316. A stainless bolt has no hash marks as it is not heat treated. The strength of the bolt is determined by type stainless only.

I have bought from McMater- for both work and personal use- they are a great company, but not sure what their bolt quality control program is.
 

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I just sent McMaster an e-mail with the question- will post result.

Just curious how you can recommend a company when you do not know their quality controls.
If you re-read my post I did not recommend McMaster Carr. I only said that they SEEM to have bolts in every category.

West Marine just bulk purchases bolts, nuts, lags and screws as we do at the marine store (Trotac in Victoria) I am employed at. While I have not seen damaged threads on any they are not graded for strength/use. Most are type 304.
 

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If you re-read my post I did not recommend McMaster Carr. I only said that they SEEM to have bolts in every category.

West Marine just bulk purchases bolts, nuts, lags and screws as we do at the marine store (Trotac in Victoria) I am employed at. While I have not seen damaged threads on any they are not graded for strength/use. Most are type 304.
This is what you posted:
"I wouldn't expect to purchase bolts for any critical attachment like chainplates at West Marine. McMaster Carr seems to have bolts in any category.
McMaster-Carr "


Why would you not purchase the West Marine bolts, but purchase McMaster Carr bolts? 316 Stainless "should" be the same no matter who you buy from. Like I posted, stainless bolts do not have a strength grade- only a material grade. Stainless is not heated treated.

Second qustion: Why do marine stores even carry 304 stainless? All nautical experts I know of recommend 316 stainless only for any boat in salt water. I am sure there are many sailors who unknowingly installed 304 on ocean going boats.
 

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This is what you posted:
"I wouldn't expect to purchase bolts for any critical attachment like chainplates at West Marine. McMaster Carr seems to have bolts in any category.
McMaster-Carr "


Why would you not purchase the West Marine bolts, but purchase McMaster Carr bolts? 316 Stainless "should" be the same no matter who you buy from. Like I posted, stainless bolts do not have a strength grade- only a material grade. Stainless is not heated treated.

Second qustion: Why do marine stores even carry 304 stainless? All nautical experts I know of recommend 316 stainless only for any boat in salt water. I am sure there are many sailors who unknowingly installed 304 on ocean going boats.
I did not say I would purchase from McMaster Carr. Only that they seem to have a good selection of bolts in many different grades. It makes sense to check with any supplier before buying.

The main reason I would not purchase bolts - or anything else - from West Marine is because I work at a much better store that is their competition.:)
In Victoria West Marine plays a poor second fiddle to the store I work at. We are the major suppliers to the commercial fishing fleet as well as supplying Coast Guard, Coast Pilots, Police, local ferry companies and local shipyards for both commercial and recreational boats and local municipalities with gear - and the Canadian Navy. We have an in house rigging dept staffed by a qualified rigger. We have in house splicing of any size line, some of which is up to 2" for commercial use and moorings.

To quote Steve D'Antonio in the latest issue of Professional Boatbuilder " Most stainless steel available to the marine industry and retail purchasers is 304. Stronger than 316, it is the least corrosion-resistant commonly available grade of marine approved stainless steel. While its corrosion resistance is considerably higher than that of ordinary steel, it is far from corrosion proof. The popularity of 304 in the marine trades is a function of cost and availability. It's less expensive than 316 and does a reasonably good job when not called upon to do something it was not designed for. As for availability, a 316 hex-head cap screw, say, is rarely stocked by common chandleries and must be special ordered from hardware suppliers. Most builders just go with the 304 cap screw on the shelf."

Most boats have 304 fastened hardware, 316 is rarely in production boats. For submerged fasteners bronze is a better choice. Or I suppose titanium could be used but it will be more expensive than 316.
 

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I did not say I would purchase from McMaster Carr. Only that they seem to have a good selection of bolts in many different grades. It makes sense to check with any supplier before buying.

The main reason I would not purchase bolts - or anything else - from West Marine is because I work at a much better store that is their competition.:)
In Victoria West Marine plays a poor second fiddle to the store I work at. We are the major suppliers to the commercial fishing fleet as well as supplying Coast Guard, Coast Pilots, Police, local ferry companies and local shipyards for both commercial and recreational boats and local municipalities with gear - and the Canadian Navy. We have an in house rigging dept staffed by a qualified rigger. We have in house splicing of any size line, some of which is up to 2" for commercial use and moorings.

To quote Steve D'Antonio in the latest issue of Professional Boatbuilder " Most stainless steel available to the marine industry and retail purchasers is 304. Stronger than 316, it is the least corrosion-resistant commonly available grade of marine approved stainless steel. While its corrosion resistance is considerably higher than that of ordinary steel, it is far from corrosion proof. The popularity of 304 in the marine trades is a function of cost and availability. It's less expensive than 316 and does a reasonably good job when not called upon to do something it was not designed for. As for availability, a 316 hex-head cap screw, say, is rarely stocked by common chandleries and must be special ordered from hardware suppliers. Most builders just go with the 304 cap screw on the shelf."

Most boats have 304 fastened hardware, 316 is rarely in production boats. For submerged fasteners bronze is a better choice. Or I suppose titanium could be used but it will be more expensive than 316.
That is the first recommendation for using 304 over 316 stainless from a professional I have ever heard- times must be changing... I guess I am lucky my 35 year old boat builder used 316 stainless to build and bolt everything on her. Now give me your source for a recommendation to use 304 standing rigging over 316. Sounds to me like we are just getting lazy as boaters by not demanding the use of 316 where it should be used.

Now you bring up bronze fasteners. Those now are almost entirely made overseas by unknown manufacturers with no quality control. When you say bronze, what type of bronze are you refering? Probably just as well to use a 304 stainless bolt that will rust away in a few years.
 
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