Hardware is not implicitly “a guy thing”

So what the hell does a #14 x 2 1/2 sized self-starting metal lag screw describe? What significance does the length (2″ or 2 1/2″?) of the screw have? Should it be an embarrassment that a lady Home Depot employee would be the one to help me figure out precisely what I needed?

I bought a full motion TV wall mount for the new 37″ LCD I’m going to put up in the bedroom. Because the house is steel framing, the lag screws included with the mount is probably not adequate since it is meant for mounting to wooden studs. Okay, that much I do know. I also have a rudimentary understanding of screw/drill bit size in the form of fractional sizes to depict bit or screw diameter (size of the intended hole). Based on the included lag screws, I know needed to buy 1/4 x 2 1/2 metal screws. So I go to Home Depot and the sizes I found all had a two digit number fore size instead of the fractional size….. #12 x 3/4, #8 x 2, etc.. Hmmm, what the heck is this?? I don’t have #12 and #8 sized drill bits???

I got a female store employee to tell me I needed #14 x 2 1/2 self starting metal screws, but she didn’t have any in 2-4 ea plastic bags, and only had them in $10.00 5-lb boxes. I went next door to Ace Hardware and they didn’t have any either, but they did have #14 x 2″ ones which the guy said would do even though they’re a half inch shorter than the original, but since I’m mounting into metal sheet (hollow stud) and not solid wood, the length isn’t as critical. That part was logical.

Still… why the hell is sizing so damned complicated? The lady at Home Depot explained that #14 meant 1/4″… okay, so they label it like that because they don’t like the fractional slash in 1/4, so just made it 14? What about the size #8? Does that stand for 0/8″ which we all know equals zero??? Screw this, I’d rather scrap the size system in these things and give them all goddamned IP addresses!!!! I’ll mount the TV using 4 screws that are size with a depth of less than 28 milliseconds of delay…. makes much more sense now!

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