Quality Hardware

Recently I’ve been re-reading Nigel Calder’s “Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual.”  It’s pretty easy to see why tinned copper boat wire is better than regular old copper stranded wire but what has really struck me this time around was how much emphasis he puts on buying “marine” hardware and “marine” electronics.  A lot of the time seasoned boaters will avoid anything labeled “marine” because there is usually an identical product for half the price!  However there are certain areas where the “marine” distinction becomes important.  I’m sure once I start sharing the re-wiring of our boat more of the specifics will come up.

There is another set of considerations that is a bit harder to work out.  Often times a product with an identical label will be sold for very different prices by different websites or manufacturers.  In the worst case you may have an item that looks identical but one has a certain retailer brand name before it and for some reason it is of an inferior quality.  Some reason being that the brand name took the time to negotiate a better price from the manufacturer but in the process the manufacturer had to lower the quality in order for the sale to remain profitable.   In other cases the distinction is even less clear.  Take cleats for example.  Here are two cleat options online:

“Stainless Steel Cleats, 12″” and “Stainless Steel Cleats, 12″”

Seems pretty similar to me.  The first one cost $29.89 and the second one cost $89.95.  Woah! That is a big price jump for the “same” product.  Curious as I am, I purchased both from both websites because I wanted to see if I the cheaper one was worth the savings.  They are the same right? I could save a bunch of money here!

Here they are, side by side:

I can confirm they are both Stainless Steel and they are both 12 inches long.  However I think it’s quite clear why one cost so much more.  I will be trusting my boat to the $89.95 cleats from NewFoundMetals, its not worth the “savings” to risk your boat on the cheaper quality cleat with such a high stakes part.

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