Hardware stock shortages – November 2020

Drill bits out of stock Home Depot
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The effects of the Covid Pandemic are taking a toll on hardware, plumbing and electrical supplies. Home Depot had lots of empty spaces on their pegboards for drills and blades. 

Drill Bits at Home Depot

As you can see from the picture below, about 33 out of 55 of the bits are out of stock. In other words, 60 percent of the bits are out of stock.

Minimizing the impact

  • Plan ahead – Make sure you have the parts and tools in advance of starting a project. This isn’t always possible in the case of emergency maintenance.
  • Substitute – In some cases, you can use an alternative. You can’t use a wood bit to drill through steel but you might be able to use a steel bit to drill through wood.
  • Sharpen – Prior to the Covid lockdowns I saw a video of a woman explaining how to sharpen blades for a cutting tool. The comments were filled with “LOL, that’s stupid when you can just buy blades”. In today’s environment sharpening cutting tool blades might be a necessity. In the case of drills, you can buy a sharpening kit.
  • Buy a set – If you need a 1/4 inch drill and it is out of stock, see if there is a set. This won’t be an option if you anticipate needing a significant quantity.
  • Don’t throw out your old tools. I beat the living heck out of two bimetal blades for my cutting tool today. Normally, they would go in the trash. I am going to keep them for now. If necessary, I can retool them or use what little remaining life is left in them.
  • Talk with the employees – They can often tell you when deliveries are expected. Keep in mind that there is a lag between the delivery and when the stock is available on the floor.

Summary

Hardware shortages are becoming more common. Plan ahead.

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