Where do Fasteners get used? – Matt

As stated in my previous article I’m new to the fastener world. I couldn’t even imagine all the different uses fasteners have. I used to think, very naively, that nuts and bolts weren’t used that frequently. Now, I understand nuts and bolts are everywhere. Thinking back about my previous job, I’ve realized how many nuts and bolts we used to use without even thinking about it, and that was working in retail. So, if you’re interested in the weird and wonderful areas our fasteners get used you’ve come to the right place.


Right let’s get the obvious out of the way. Fasteners are used in construction. Here at Thomas Smith Fasteners in Hindley Green our outside wall is lined with steel attached by Fasteners. It’s taken me three weeks to notice it but once you start seeing Fasteners you see them everywhere. It’s the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, once you see or hear something for the first time you see it everywhere. Now when I’m out and about I feel like all I see is fasteners. Walking down the street and see a road sign, how’s it secured? With a fastener, above it there’s a team working on scaffolding, how’s it held together? Fasteners. I’ve started to realize how much work our products do and it’s amazing.

Classic Cars

Okay, we’ve spoken about construction now lets have some fun. Be it a Bentley or Beamer, a Rolls Royce or a Rover, they’re absolutely filled to the brim with Fasteners. All the fancy upholstery is held together with fasteners, the engine is held together by fasteners, fly wheel bolts without them you’re in trouble and yet again they’re made with fasteners. Using fasteners from Thomas Smith Fasteners, our director Tim restored a Classic Ferrari 365-GTC4 and plenty of other Classic Car enthusiasts continue do the same. To illustrate this point I have linked a YouTube video below by Powernation whereby they built a car with a drill, pop rivets and black spray paint. Fasteners helping Lewis Hamilton to 7 formula one titles and helping me to pass my MOT.

Powernation – Drill, Pop Rivets and Paint
Ferrari Restoration

Heritage Rail

So as a child my favourite toys were part of my train set, probably until being around 4 years old. I was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine as a little kid and Thomas used to fly round those tracks but how did he do it?

You guessed it, Fasteners. Fasteners are a key component in Heritage Rail keeping our steam engines going in the modern day. Each summer a massive tourist attraction for the family can be found on Britain’s railways. And here at Thomas Smith Fasteners we provide the specials that keep those trains going. Whether their used to reattach a buffer or a smokebox, fasteners hold them together. Thomas gets his restoration from Thomas Smith Fasteners, I suppose that’s how he looks younger in 2023 than he did in the 80’s.

Thomas’s New Look


Do you feel the need, the need for speed? Well your going to need plenty of fasteners if you want to beat Goose in a race. Yes, fasteners yet again help get your aircrafts into the sky. Next time you get a flight have a look down the wing of the plane it’s fasteners galore. They basically hold the entire aircraft together, from doors to wings, without your fasteners your flight to Alicante won’t be going very far. Without the fasteners holding everything together it’d all just be parts, like a guitar without strings. You’ve got your bolts, nuts, screws and rivets that are responsible for your safety and also to make sure you can enjoy your holidays. What’s the alternative take a boat?

Highway to the Fastener Zone


You think you don’t need fasteners on a boat, think again. Boats are held together by Fasteners as well. From the port to the starboard, your fasteners keep you afloat as you sail the seven seas. You tend to find a lot of stainless steel fasteners are use in the Maritime industry due to their corrosion resistance. As seen previously on our blog we recently helped to renovate the anti-aircraft mount on the HMS Belfast, using 1/2 BSW x 3/4 Slot Raised. Now permanently docked on the Thames as part of the Imperial War Museum, our fasteners have given the HMS Belfast a new lease of life, and stopped it’s anti-aircraft mount from falling off. This also only scratches the surface of the fasteners that can be found on all 9 floors of the HMS Belfast.

HMS Belfast Restoration


So what have we learned today? Well, fasteners are absolutely everywhere and I’ve not even scratched the surface here. We’ve covered almost every mode of transport aside from Shanks’s pony and found they all use fasteners in some way, shape or form. And the best bit of all, here at Thomas Smith Fasteners we have the capability to make specials meaning if you’re struggling to find an imperial bolt we’ve more chance of finding it than most high-street options. So if you’re looking to give your classic car a new lease of life or going away on a long-haul flight, you can thank your fasteners and shop at Thomas Smith Fasteners.

Thanks for reading,


Meet The Thomas Smith Fasteners Squad – Matt

TSF staff at counter

I’ve arrived into the world of fasteners this year with a gleam in my eye and a spring in my step. I’ve got a lot to learn, but as I had been told before taking this role, my team is incredibly experienced and will get me up to speed. They’re doing a great job so far, they’ve helped me to learn at a fast-pace and I think it’s about time for you to get to know them.


First of all we have Gary, our Sales Manager. Gary has spent the last 30 years here at Thomas Smith Fasteners starting at the age of 16, as part of our progressing department. As described by Gary he, “left school on the Friday, and started working on the Monday”. Starting off in our progressing department chasing orders, then becoming part of our export sales team. Gary then progressed on to Assistant Manager before then becoming Manager a position he has held since 2004.

Gary stated that, “Watching the business grow from being a local supplier to becoming a UK and global supplier is what I’m most proud of”.

Outside of work Gary is a keen athlete being a member of a running club and runs on his lunch breaks at work (possibly to get away from me and Sue) no matter what the weather, true commitment. He also enjoys his time socializing with friends and family. Gary also loves travelling, visiting various cities around the world such as Las Vegas which included a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Canelo Álvarez fight Daniel Jacobs at the T-Mobile Arena. Gary is also an avid football fan, supporting Manchester United.

Given that I adore media I’ve asked this question to everyone, Gary’s favourite film came down to two options, his standout Frank Darabont and Steven King’s masterful, “The Shawshank Redemption” starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. When asked why, Gary stated “The characters are excellent and the story of an innocent man being sent to prison to then his eventual escape is excellent”. His alternative pick was Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas”, due to it’s cast of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta.


Suzanne, the one who’s always laughing. She has worked for the business since she turned 16, so she’s been here for 10 years (you better appreciate that line Suzanne). Nicknamed either Tinny or Trouble by other members of the team Suzanne is proficient in the workplace.

Suzanne said, “My favourite moment in my time at Thomas Smith was moving from the old workplace in Atherton to the new state of the art factory in Hindley Green”. Now when asked whether this was due to it being 20 minutes closer to Hindley Green or the increase in what the business could manufacture, declining to comment.

Suzanne’s main hobbies include socializing with friends whether that be for food or for drinks around her local Hindley Green residences. She’s also a fan of travelling to anywhere with a bit of sun with her summer holiday already booked for this year.

Suzanne’s favourite film is Tony Scott’s “Crimson Tide” starring Gene Hackman and the legendary Denzel Washington. When asked why this is her favourite film, she stated “It (Crimson Tide) has always resonated with me and I think the performances are superb”.


John, has been with Thomas Smith Fasteners for 38 and a half years and currently holds the title of warehouse manager. He keeps the team organized and makes sure our orders are completed and dispatched on time. John also runs the trade counter here at Thomas Smith Fasteners. He is the first point of contact for customers who are looking to identify a product that they need.

His proudest moment since arriving at Thomas Smith Fasteners is marrying his wife, Sandra (good choice John).

Outside of work John spent years competing in various events, including running, triathlons as well as completing the Iron Man race. Consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride and finished with a 26.22 mile run. Basically if John tells it’s Tuesday, no matter what day it is, it’s Tuesday. He also enjoys relaxing with his wife who supported him through all his athletic accomplishments.

Finally, John’s favourite film is an 80’s classic, the Tom Cruise epic that is “Top Gun”. Filled to the brim with action and drama, it’s John’s favourite film. He stated, “I can watch it anytime and never get bored, I must’ve seen it over 50 times”.

Little Rammy

Little Rammy, has been with Thomas Smith Fasteners for almost 20 years and within that time has worked in virtually every department. Whether that be in the manufacturing team where he used to work in the cutting department and has now joined us in our warehouse team.

Rami ranks joining the warehouse as his best moment of working here. He finds it to be his favourite place he works within the business, and there’s been a lot.

Outside of work, Rammy is devoted to his football team, League One Playoff contenders (at time of writing) Bolton Wanderers. If there’s one thing I wouldn’t want to do on the weekend after a hard week at work it’s watch Bolton, but someone’s got to support them I suppose. Through the good times and the mostly bad times Little Rammy keeps supporting The Trotters, well after many would’ve thrown in the towel. (In case you’re wondering I support Wigan and have been given free agency to write about Bolton Wanderers. that’s an open goal even Stuart Holden couldn’t miss, and he missed half his career through injury). Rammy also enjoys getting his head down after a shift and going for a sleep, me too Rammy, me too.

Rammy’s favourite film is the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence buddy cop film “Bad Boys 2”. His reason being he loves the action and the comedy, stating “it’s a great film and I can re-watch it without getting bored”. And who can blame him, the “You wanna date my daughter?” scene is hilarious.


So I thought I’d leave myself until last as I don’t like to talk about myself (I’m lying). But also as I’m the newest addition to the team starting January 2023. I spent 3 years studying English Language at Edge Hill University and whilst there began working in retail for O2. Whereby I progressed from part-time sales to Manager over the course of 7 years departing on New Years Eve 2022. Starting at Thomas Smith Fasteners at the beginning of 2023.

Outside of work, my hobbies are playing football and going to the gym but my biggest passion is music. Since 2019 I’ve been writing and performing music in Rivver, a particular highlight being playing Wigan Athletics’ Party in the Park 2022 to a crowd of around 2000 people and being on stage with the League One trophy. (Take that one Rammy).

My favourite film is a tough one as I love both film and TV. For myself I’m bending the rules and I’m picking a TV show. Phoenix Nights is by far the best TV show ever to air. If you don’t find it funny you’re only lying to yourself. Endlessly quotable and with the entire cast all on top form throughout for me it’s the best hangover cure. “Hey toilet-mouth! There’s a child’s bike outside!”, to me, Phoenix Nights will never not be funny.

How it’s done – How I went from Blank to Part-Thread on Bolt Making Knowledge by Matt

To begin this post, I would first like to state that I’m new to the Fastener world, but being located at Thomas Smith Fasteners I am learning a lot in a very short space of time. One of the main benefits of being situated at Thomas Smith Fasteners is our manufacturer Smith Bullough being located on site. This has allowed me to understand very quickly what we sell here at Thomas Smith and how it’s manufactured. So to avoid basic copyright infringement, we’re showing ‘How it’s Made’, but calling it ‘How it’s Done’.

Hexagon Head Bolt Zinc Plated

How much work goes into making a bolt?

Now, I’ll openly admit that less than two weeks ago, I didn’t have a clue where to start with making fasteners, in fact I said as much in my interview. My point being I just never really thought about it. It was a question I didn’t to know the answer to, like ‘why does a pizza come in a square box?’ (If anyone has the answer send me a DM).

I was going in blind. So I decided to do what anyone in a new job does, ask the bosses a million questions and hope they don’t get sick of answering them.

These questions, led to a tour of the factory, at which point I could see how our fasteners begin to take shape. I entered the factory at Smith Bullough, with the finished product in hand to watch ‘How it’s done’ (Discovery+ aren’t catching on, I hope).

Stage One – A Really Big Saw

We need to cut down our steel rod to size for manufacturing, given that we make both metric and imperial sizes, these can range massively. The team ensure that we have the right length to and then cut down to the right size with the Addison CB250A. When I say it’s a big saw, that kind of undersells it, it cuts through steel like a knife through butter, seriously impressive. I stood back about fifteen yards just in case.

Addison CB250A (The Big Saw)

Stage Two – Fire and Brimstone

Through the fire and flames (kind of). This is where we enter the forge, our pins are heated using an induction heater. They can range anywhere between 1,500 and 2000 degrees, and then are pulled out smoking like Pat Butcher on an EastEnders Christmas Special. The pin is then forged into a hexagon blank by being bit by the forge hammer. It’s at this point everything begins to look as you’d expect as the bolt is trimmed and set aside to cool down. I stood back around 20 yards for this one, and that felt like the Costa del Sol.

The Smoking Bolt (Pat Butcher)

Stage Three – Big Wheels Keep On Turning

Onto my favourite part. We have our blank and we now need to add the thread. But first we need to chamfer our budding bolt to be. Adding a smooth edge to end of our bolt by applying a lubricant and then filing away the rough edges using a spinning wheel. Following the chamfer process, we enter the area of hypnosis, cut threads. I’ll be honest, I could watch this process all day and not get bored, if Netflix were to come down and film thread cutting for a 20 episode series, they could double my monthly subscription and I’d happily pay just to watch ‘Wednesday’, ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Cut Threads’. Again using a lubricant and put through a spinning wheel the thread is cut into the bolt. Hypnotic.

Stage Four – The Final Bells and Whistles

Finally now our threads been cut we’re onto the final countdown our piece of steel’s been burnt, battered and cut and is now going to get cleaned up before we send it out into the big leagues. The first stage of this comes from thread rolling smoothening up those edges before we hit the CNC machine to get its final bit of pampering. We get a machine shank, and then a bit more chamfering to make it neat and tidy before one final bit of form threading then bang, you’ve got a bolt.

Now it’s done

So our bolt’s now made and ready to be used, well aside from quality control but we’ll chat about them another time. And as much as it’s probably took about 5 minutes to read this in that time our team have probably made 15 more bolts to go with the one you’ve just read about. Whether is be metric or imperial our teams have got it covered. For any enquiries contact Thomas Smith Fasteners.

And if Netflix want my ‘Thread Cut Hypnosis’ TV idea they can drop me an email, thanks for reading.

Large Diameter Fasteners for Subsea Installation

A grateful customer of our Glasgow branch kindly provided us with these recent photographs,  showing a subsea project incorporating our bolts being prepared and then submerged for installation into the seabed.

We supply a huge range of standard fasteners and can manufacture specials to your exact specification in most materials – steel, stainless steel, super duplex, non-ferrous and exotics.

Contact us with any requirements and we’ll be happy to assist. Telephone our Glasgow branch on 01698 826464 or Wigan on 01942 520260.


Another Satisfied Customer! Large Diameter Socket Caps and Allthread – Scotland

Our Glasgow branch recently received a call from a design solution engineering consultant who specialises in subsea and riser engineering.

m36 socket cap screws glasgow scotland

Our customer urgently required M36 Socket Caps and M39 High Tensile Allthread.

m39 allthread glasgow scotland

We were happy to help out and these large diameter fasteners were delivered on-time to our grateful customer!

Whether you require standard or special fasteners, large or small sizes – we can cater for every aspect of your fastener requirements. Call our Glasgow branch on 01698 826464 or Wigan on 01942 520260, and we’ll be happy to assist. Alternatively, you can contact us via this website.

A4-100 Special Fasteners for Manchester Chamber of Commerce

chamber of commerce bolts from thomas smith fasteners

Thomas Smith Fasteners were recently approached by Chris Fletcher, the Marketing and Policy Director of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce about providing samples of manufactured special fasteners, for one of his displays promoting UK manufacturers to foreign visitors.

We were delighted to help Chris and supplied him with some A4-100 bolts and nuts which were manufacted in our works at Wigan.

Chris came to collect the samples and enjoyed a factory tour. He commented “Your company is exactly the type of business we are looking out for and I hope we can feature more stories in the future”.

TSF Sponsors Local ‘Gin Pit 5’ Trail Race

Thomas Smith Fasteners were very proud to sponsor a local running race which attracted 250 runners from all over the North West.


The Gin Pit 5, hosted by Astley & Tyldesley Road Runners, is an annual 5 mile trail race where local clubs race each other to gain points in the Central Lancs Grand Prix.
The race was won by local runner Neil Pendlebury.

All finishers were given hi-viz t-shirts which are ideal for training on dark winter nights.


A visit to Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway

Manager Gary Stevens recently visited Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway whilst on holiday in Wales. Thomas Smith Fasteners supply many vintage and heritage railways with imperial bolts, including the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway.

welsh highland railway fasteners

They operate two unique narrow gauge railways with completely different personalities.

Together, they offer the chance to explore the beauty of Snowdonia from over 40 miles of narrow-gauge railway.

beddgelert railway heritage

Gary chose to take his family on the Caernarfon line but got off at the lovely village of Beddgelert. His daughter Annabel got her picture taken on the footplate of the train.

ffestiniog heritage railway

A great day out for all the family which is highly recommended.

For more information, visit the Ffestiniog railway website: http://www.festrail.co.uk/

McCains win Thomas Smith Fasteners sponsored Race

Abbie McCain, 15, won the Thomas Smith Fasteners sponsored pony race at Knutsford Races on Sunday 17th May, riding Little Bull. Abbie’s sister Ella finished 2nd, making it a great afternoon for family McCain.


Abbie is a good rider, whose future career as a jockey is keenly anticipated. The picture above shows Abbie and her father Donald McCain, a leading racehorse trainer.


Gary Stevens, manager of Thomas Smith Fasteners (pictured above with daughter Annabel), was on hand to present the prizes for all three pony races.