In Tricks of the Trade

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Specialty hardware can be really annoying. Take the T-bolt—it’s essential for attaching anything to a T-track, but where can you buy one at a moment’s notice? Hardware stores don’t carry T-bolts, but I’ve found that they always have a good substitute in stock: closet bolts.

Closet bolts are used to fasten a toilet to the floor. (The prissy name must come from describing a bathroom as a “water closet.” I call them toilet bolts.) Closet bolts are slightly cheaper than T-bolts, but don’t expect to save a bundle. You may have to file their heads a bit narrower to fit in the track, but this is no big deal.

Why not just use hex-head bolts, you may ask? Fine and good— if your T-track accepts them. Many types don’t. But even if yours does, I recommend using closet bolts. Their heads are rounded and thinner in cross-section, so it’s easy to insert them into the end of the T-track. They’ll slide better, too. Closet bolts come in either 1/4″ or 5/16″ diameters, and lengths from 2 1/4″ to 3″. — Jon Nowlin

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