The McMaster-Carr Catalog
Okay, this gold and green beauty has a cult (with a capital “C”) following, among boaters as well as other obsessives. Quite frankly, if you can’t find whatever you’re looking for in this giant tome of marine and industrial supplies—dare I exaggerate and say it weighs about 50 pounds?—it simply does not exist on this multifaceted planet. Over the years, when no other source could be found, I have periodically and personally ordered everything from UV-resistant plastic hinge material (for my boat’s central windshield panel) to wing-nut-type machine screws (for the face plate on my diesel’s raw-water pump) from the always courteous phone reps at McMaster-Carr. How easy is it to get an old-fashioned print catalog? Try calling 404-346-7000, but beware—actually getting one is never a sure thing. “We sometimes send them out per request,” a rep told me mysteriously, “but sometimes we don’t.” The online version works pretty well if you discover you’re in the sometimes-we-don’t group.