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Distinguished SOTW Columnist/Official SOTW Guru
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, if this happened to someone else I'd laugh myself silly, but it happened to me, so I thought I'd share it and let you guys have a laugh at my expense.

I have just finished stripping down a Jupiter Alto for servicing. Great student horns and bang for buck, better than the current Yamaha student models.

Anyway, if you've ever seen these, they have a little brace halfway up the E and F# rod to supposedly protect these rods from getting bent.

This is patent bull$#!% because both rods were bent anyway, just bent closer to the end.

But I digress. This brace is secured by a tiny little screw. About the size of those fiddly little screws that secure the flat springs on clarinet keys.

So I remove the screw, bump the bench and the screw goes....??????

I say "Oh F****" and go through all the useless "you watch too much C.S.I" type scenario where you try to recreate your movements and predict the trajectory and final location of the screw.

Total waste of time but I know I ain't the only one to do it. :mrgreen:

So I get down on the floor with an LED torch. Sometimes, the screw will catch the light just so and you get lucky.

No deal. Starting to get really frustrated.

Grab strongest magnet I have and start doing a grid sweep of floor, workbench, etc.

No luck.

Pray to the God of the Spare Parts and Junker draw, hoping I have a screw of similar size.

No luck.

Run through every curse word I know in every language I know as I grab the vacuum cleaner.

Tip every tray, box of this and that, etc, etc, etc, onto work bench and proceed to vacuum the room from top to bottom. The bench, the chairs. the shelves, behind this, under that, and so on.

Finally finish.

Empty dust collector into bucket of water. Dust floats on top for a short while and heavy stuff falls to bottom. Fish around in bottom with magnet.

FOUND IT!!!!

Phone rings. My son calling to say "Hi Dad, how's your day going?"

Run through every curse word I know in every language I know once again. :evil:
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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I've had this happen to me before; I always cursed the shop for having carpet beneath the benches for this very reason, I couldn't hear where it went. Usually a sweep or two of a magnet took care of things.

- Saxaholic
 

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Replay this scenario -except with tractors and large amounts of real estate - and I've been there more than I care to think about.

I forget what I was working on when this last happened, but I found a perfect replacement screw on my old digital camera.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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Yep been there done that. Ive learnt if I cant find it in the first five minutes then its gone to screw heaven, make another one, its quicker
 

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:sign5: (((HUG)))

I do this at least once with every clarinet I do. Danged little screws at the ends of the long rods.
Once I found the elusive screw under the shoe lace near the toe of my trainer.
The dirty little bugger landed on my foot and of course I couldn't feel it hit.

If you don't mind sharing, I could use a few new curse words for the next time I have a clarinet on my table. :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Replay this scenario -except with tractors and large amounts of real estate - and I've been there more than I care to think about.

I forget what I was working on when this last happened, but I found a perfect replacement screw on my old digital camera.
Anyone who grew up on a farm will have experienced losing stuff out in the paddock miles from anywhere. Usually, you don't realize you've lost whatever it is until you get back to the house.

Guaranteed though, you will find it the next time you're running the slasher over that paddock. You'll hear a "thunk, kerching, clatter," and the slasher will stuff itself. When you check the problem, instead of finding a stray strand of wire, there's the (car keys, fencing pliers, shifting spanner, etc,etc) you lost 12 months ago.
 

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Only the other day I tipped up my rack of drawers so the majority of 6mm, 6.2mm, 6.5mm up to 11.5mm (in 0.5mm increments) cork pads plus a whole load of point screws, adjusting screws, wood screws, mechanism pinning and flat spring screws all got scattered over my bench, myself and the floor so it meant upturning everything to find them all and sweep them up.

Then spent several hours sorting through the lot to put them back in their respective drawers and drawer compartments. Problem with some stainless steel screws is they're not magnetic, so using magnets wasn't an option to locate strays.

Just as well I didn't have any other instruments apart as it would've meant sifting through absolutely everything to find the one important point screw - kinda like that bit in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where the diamond gets lost on the floor among all the ice cubes.

It is amazing where dropped screws can end up - although you hear them when they land, they scuttle off somewhere unexpected.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015
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Phone rings. My son calling to say "Hi Dad, how's your day going?"

Run through every curse word I know in every language I know once again. :evil:
Glad to hear you are educating your son.:twisted:

Seriously, I know a tech that searched his shop high and low for a missing screw that had flung itself out into space. He found it trapped on the wall. So..... you could still be looking.
 

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Forum Contributor 2010-2016
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Like DP says with his farm analogy, this scenario is played out in lots of different ways. I had given my daughter (then 16) a new and rather expensive phone. She came home from horse riding looking crestfallen because it had somehow got lost in a 16 acre paddock. Her chums had spent sometime ringing and looking for it to no avail. She had a pretty quiet custom ring tone.

We went back after dark hoping that we might see it light up. I started a classic grid search pattern. After about 20 minutes I could hear it ringing very faintly but couldn't tell the direction so I called Mollie to me. I stayed where I was and she spiralled outward and found it in about a minute. Of course, it was face down so the light wasn't visible.

I had so wanted to use the cursing approach but was under extreme pressure to be the practical, level headed Dad. This was an unusual happy ending.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I never used to swear in front of my son, except when driving in city traffic (His Mum and I agreed that it's impossible to drive in Sydney without swearing so I got a free pass).

As he got older, I realized that he knew more swear words than I do.

Now he's almost 18, we have a set of rules.

1. Never use the C word.

2. Never swear in front of women.

3. Never swear in front of children.

4. Never swear in front of grown ups.

5. If you value your life, never swear in front of Grandma.

Which basically means, he's free to swear in front of his friends and his Dad.

Guess what? He hardly swears now, except when we're watching sport on TV.
 

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Anyone who grew up on a farm .
Good to see we have something in common, knew there was a reason I liked you, I was slashing paddocks at the age of 12, I thought it was great driving this monster beast round and round, my dad thought it was great becuase he had some num scull willing to do the work for him
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Haha. We had friends lived out past Dubbo. Wheat, sheep and cattle, on a property so big you measure it in how many days to get from one side to the other.

They had the biggest "tractor" I've ever seen in my life. Way bigger than our little tractor.

Our friend's dad says "How'd you young fellas like to go for a ride in that?"

Of course we said "You bet!!!"

The next morning, way before sun up, we were in the tractor. That evening, way after sun down, (the big tractors have lights that wouldn't be out of place at a footy stadium) he comes up in the ute and picks us up for dinner.

Most boring day of my life.

If anyone ever asks you if you'd like to drive the big shiny tractor, remember to ask them how big a paddock you'll be slashing.
 

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Taree for me. Did some roo / pig shooting out the back of Moree (now I sound like a real *******) as well as fruit picking as a young lad, sheering sheep etc, I do not miss those days at all, as I sit here in the centre of a city where I can not see the sky through the haze of suburbia and modern living. Actually reminiscing now, I have not seen a night sky like that as viewed in the country in a long long time,
 

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A possible preventive solution to the lost screw problem:

There is a watch maker/repairer that works near my shop. If you think musical instrument stuff is small take a look at the parts in a mechanical watch! So, while watching him work on one of my old pocket watches ( FYI I keep my mouth shut and pay him what he wants, a strategically placed complement usually will get a question or two answered), I noticed he has a drawer in his work bench that slides out about stomach high as he is sitting. The front of the drawer is concave and wraps around the front of him. The bottom of the drawer is cloth. It is fit loosely enough so that when something is dropped it doesn't bounce and just rolls to the center. Gotta make me one of those. Hopefully before the next screw is missing.
 

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the other day I found (after two years after it had gone missing!) a rubber palm riser. At the time I had a look everywhere on the floor of my attic (admittedly, not the easiest place to look......). I have a theory that objects which fall are attracted into some alternative space. Sometimes they stay there sometimes they return from it. ;) :)
 

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Personally I've come to believe there is a small black hole under my work bench that swallows up every important screw or part that I drop!!! I've actually put a jewelers shelf on my woodwind bench. It's a shelf that is mounted under the bench on slider tracks. The front end of the bench is contoured to the front of your body. When I sit down to work on any woodwind I pull the shelf out till it locks in place. Then lean forward into it. Any screws that fall get caught on the shelf and don't go all the way to the floor.
 

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I've been thinking, how about covering the bench with a sheet of magnetic material like the stuff they use to attach non-permanet stickers to cars, make flexible fridge magnets etc. so the screws and other small parts would not bounce or roll off it?
For me, there is just no other place more comfortable to put my most used screwdrivers and pliers than the table itself. Stands or drawers are not comfortable/fast enough, only used for slightly less used ones. So it would be annoying to pick up those tools from the magnet I guess. Same for many other steel tools you work with and put on the table while working, don't want to move back to their stands every second. So for me, wouldn't be good, maybe ok for others.
 
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