No matter whether you’re putting together a bookcase you bought at Ikea, rebuilding a 1957 Chevy or hand-crafting fine furniture; you’re almost certain to have dropped the one small metal bit that’s essential to the job. One of Murphy’s Laws is that the smaller the piece, (A) the harder it is to find and (B) the more likely it is to have rolled under the heaviest piece of furniture in the room.
The solution, of course, is a magnet: those tiny screws, nuts and washers are attracted to a magnet like moths to a flame. If you stock your workshop with a few magnetic devices, you may not stop dropping stuff but it’ll sure be easier to retrieve it – once you’ve found it…
Telescoping Magnetic Pick-Up
Since any lost item almost always finds an otherwise inaccessible spot to come to rest, you’re wise to keep a telescoping magnetic pick-up like this one on hand. Several of the smaller versions even come with a pocket clip (like a ballpoint pen) so you can slip it into a shirt pocket or pocket on your shop apron. Then when you need it, you extend the telescoping arm and pluck the lost metal bit out of a distant corner where it stopped running away. You can even buy a version, like this one, with a light at the end for those really, really lost items.
For larger items like tools and bigger pieces (pistons, sockets, carriage bolts and the like), you need a bigger reacher like this 30-inch magnetic pickup stick. The 3-inch magnet is strong enough to lift a three-pound hammer, or at least slide it along the floor to where you can reach it by hand. It’s a lot easier than crawling under the car or sticking your arm into the dusty space under the workbench where who knows what has been living on scraps of pizza crust and half-eaten burgers.
Especially if you do some deconstructing as part of your job, you may have left a few metal bits around to puncture the tires of the next car in the garage or whatever. This linear magnet on wheels is just the ticket for rolling around the floor to hunt for leftover nails and screws, or for picking up any other bits of metal after the job is complete. It’s strong enough to attract even 16-penny nails if you’ve been sloppy while framing.
Nothing’s more irritating than dropping a tiny screw or nut while you’re up on a ladder. Not only do you have no idea where it went, you have to climb down to hunt for it – and will probably drop it again as soon as you’ve climbed back up!. For small parts and even little tools, this magnetic wristband is just the ticket to keep you from having to fumble in a pocket or nail apron looking for that extra washer. Its embedded ceramic magnets are strong enough to hold a medium-sized socket, drill bits and a screwdriver bit.
Of course, not everything is attracted to magnets. For those non-metallic objects and non-ferrous metals, consider keeping one of these cute little grabbers on hand. Just press the plunger and the three “arms” at the other end pop open to grab small items that have lodged out of reach. The highly flexible shaft is available in a number of lengths, including this 36-inch version.