It happens, sooner or later, to every do-it-yourself boat owner: Some vital deck fitting or rig component needs a size of bolt or pin that simply can't be found, costs a small fortune, or is only sold by the gross when a mere two will do. Having fabricated most of the fittings for my Cape George 31-foot cutter, Ganymede, out of bronze plate stock, I needed lots of specialty length and diameter bolts. There's a pretty good selection of smaller bronze screws, nuts, and washers available from West Marine, Jamestown Distributors, and Hamilton Marine, but for bolts larger than 1/4-inch, the selection gets pretty slim, not to mention expensive. Certain specialty bolt retailers, such as McMaster-Carr and Midwest Fasteners, fill this void a little, but it seems that there isn't enough demand for 7-inch bronze bolts with 1/2-inch diameters to make it worth the while to carry them in stock—if anyone even makes them. The obvious solution is threaded rod, sometimes known as all thread, which the retailers listed above sell in various lengths and diameters. You saw off a piece of the proper length, put a nut and washer on each end, and your custom-length bolt is ready to go.