Have you ever had an epiphany? You know, one of those “Aha!” moments when you discover something that you can’t believe you’ve gone your entire life without knowing? I had one last month while walking around Menards, a hardware store chain in the upper Midwest that is similar to Home Depot and Lowe’s. I was looking to purchase a couple of boxes of screws and nuts for a home project and there it was, hanging on a hook. If you’ve already read the title of this article, then I’ve already given it away. If you’ve never seen one of these before you’re likely to say “Aha!” too.

In my lifetime I’ve had countless projects requiring that I knew what kind of screw or nut I was using. Either I lost one or the other or I needed another one. So, I’m sure that I did exactly what you would do: Remove the one you need to match from whatever it was installed in and take it to the hardware store. There have been times where I then lost or misplaced the one I had removed for the match. Well, Bucky, we don’t have to do that anymore!

This little device is available in three versions. Version 1 is inches, version 2 is metric, and version 3 is mixed. I purchased version 1. It only cost me $17, which, as you know, is free in airplane dollars.

You can see in the pictures how it works. I took a box of 8/32 nuts and another of bolts and put each one on the thread identifier and lo and behold — it works! This is a very cool tool that I’m glad is in my toolbox. You may want one, too!

How to Find Replacement Bolts