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How many do you have vs can find

by Monte Pittman
posted 10-25-2012 11:21 PM

50 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29401 posts in 2366 days

#1 posted 10-25-2012 11:22 PM

And pencils! I should have a drawer full of pencils. I can find Two.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2314 days

#2 posted 10-25-2012 11:22 PM

I find that if you break them in some way they seem to be easier to find especially if you have a new one.
I’ve had the same two all year. Get the fluorescent green color.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3460 days

#3 posted 10-25-2012 11:23 PM

I have 9scattered around the shop. I always lay one down and forget where it is and have to go looking for another. Often, I find them on the floor

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2314 days

#4 posted 10-25-2012 11:23 PM

Sharpen a box of pencils and keep them everywhere.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2314 days

#5 posted 10-25-2012 11:24 PM

I have a few strategically located around the shop. My wife has her own little tool bag with tape measure, screwdrivers, etc. that she and the kids can use. I don’t mind letting my family use my tools but they know they better be put back where they belong when finished. :)

-- John, BC, Canada

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3078 days

#6 posted 10-25-2012 11:36 PM

I currently have 4-tape measures. Numerous other measuring devices as well, not all of which are in the shop. I tend to keep one in my vehicle, one in the garage, and 2-in the shop.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 3966 days

#7 posted 10-25-2012 11:37 PM

I bought some mechanical pencils during the back to school sales this year and love them. I have about 6 floating around the shop. When I find a stray I bring it back to the main are of destruction.

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4119 days

#8 posted 10-25-2012 11:47 PM

I think I have 6 to 8 tape measures although I can never find them, especially when I need one.

Pencils, buy them by the box and strategically locate them to start, they seem to disappear as well.

-- Nicky

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3078 days

#9 posted 10-25-2012 11:49 PM

I’d agree. The pencils seem to grow legs and walk off!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2218 days

#10 posted 10-26-2012 12:05 AM

5 tape measures.i could only find one when i was out in the shop just now.i have bout a hundred pencils floating around the shop.just never were i can find them of course…...

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View TechRedneck's profile


768 posts in 2884 days

#11 posted 10-26-2012 12:35 AM

100’, 25’ and two 12’ tapes.

I finally broke down and started using a shop apron. All the stuff I need is in there. Tape measure, calipers, pencils, small square, DC remote, and a bunch of wood chips and saw dust.

Most of the time I put the tape measure back in the center pocket. (most of the time)

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2216 days

#12 posted 10-26-2012 12:38 AM

Wasting time looking for tools etc. is a time-honored tradition in my shop/life. I keep trying to be really good about putting things back where they belong but it never quite seems to work that way. I have quite a few tape measures but there are always 1 or 2 that have gone AWOL !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2863 days

#13 posted 10-26-2012 12:40 AM

4, although I may occasionally misplace one I do keep all 4 under my control. All of them are different so there is no mistaking them as whichever one I pick up to start a project is the only one I will use on that project.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3336 days

#14 posted 10-26-2012 12:48 AM

I can not find alll the tape measures I have laying around the shop…so I can not come up with an accurate count. I do have one in the house, one in my car, one in my van and one in my storage shed.
I have 2 folding 6 foot rules and a bunch of Woodpecker, and Incra precision T squares and flat rulers in various sizes.
Pencils…I quit using wood pencils and use only mechanical pencils. I have about 20 or so laying around in different areas of the shop…some are #5 (fine lead) and some are #9 (heavy lead equivalent to a #2 wood pencil). The mechanical pencils never need sharpening and most importantly maintain a line of uniform thickness…I alway try to keep one in my shirt pocket…

View JSB's profile


737 posts in 2106 days

#15 posted 10-26-2012 12:53 AM

Tape measures:
Yesterday I rounded up all the tape measures. I have a rack that holds 6. Before rounding them up I had one left on the rack. As I read this thread in the shop I had 5 on the rack and I have no clue where my favorite one is. They have legs, you know…

I believe I have this one under control. I have a 2×4 screwed to my sliding miter saw as a sacrificial fence. On the back side down the entire length I drilled pocket holes 1/2” apart. Put a red line on the top of the 2×4 to indicate where the holes are for easy loading. I keep around 10 pencils randomly located in these holes at all times. I hate not having a sharp pencil.

-- Jay -

View balidoug's profile


485 posts in 2506 days

#16 posted 10-26-2012 01:09 AM

Tape measures: I have two. But if I’m working in metric, I can only find the imperial, and if I’m working in imperial I can only find the metric.

Pencils: I showed this to my kids:

Told them if they ever took another one of my pencils I’d show them what it was for. So far it’s working.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View patron's profile


13608 posts in 3369 days

#17 posted 10-26-2012 01:12 AM

never can find the numerous tapes either
but like russ
i leave the current one
by the current project

pencils by the box

and i have soup cans mounted one over the other
around the shop
top is sharp
bottom is dull

i grab the dull ones when the top is low
and sharpen them all together
and back to the top
they go

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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1271 posts in 3781 days

#18 posted 10-26-2012 01:19 AM

I keep three in the Wood shop have room for a couple of more, plus a folding wooden rule (aka old school tape measure) I also keep 2 or 3 in the garage. With that said I try to put things up at the end of the work day, but it doesn’t always happen and you would think the shop apron with all of its pockets would be a great home but there have been many times I have just sat the darn thing down on the nearest surface and then covered it up…..

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2718 days

#19 posted 10-26-2012 02:45 AM

I keep my tape in my hip pocket so I always know where it is. I like those small 12” tapes as they are slim enough to drop in my pocket and fish out easily. I use mechanical pencils and have pencil storage holes drilled in my router fence, drill press table, etc so there is always one where I need it.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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2128 posts in 3951 days

#20 posted 10-26-2012 03:03 AM

I use a 24: steel ruler and spend 30 min a day looking for it so far I’m winning.

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3165 posts in 3136 days

#21 posted 10-26-2012 03:27 AM

Tape measures. I started buying them in fluorescent colors to aid in finding. I have at least 5, and sometimes it takes awhile to find ONE. This is not due to a mental defect. I have a wife and three sons, and they all seem to think that these measuring devices belong with them, though none of them do woodworking. I must have married a woman who was a pack rat in a previous life, and the boys inherited that trait.

Philips screwdrivers, now, I literally have to hide them so that they don’t disappear! If I keep them in their hiding places, I can always find them. Not like the wire cutters I found out in the back yard under the swing set, where my oldest son left them after he was doing something he shouldn’t, rusted solid. I have some really good hiding places for the screwdrivers, as I am down to two…that are always there when I need them.

My favorite story for screwdrivers is finding one long-lost set of minidrivers (I’d had to purchase another set) in one of my son’s rooms. Since they were small, and he was five at the time, he was sure they must be his.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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774 posts in 2395 days

#22 posted 10-26-2012 11:44 AM

i too find that my shop apron helps me keep up with those things…now where did i put my pencil?


View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2832 days

#23 posted 10-26-2012 12:25 PM

I’m really not sure. I can’t find half of em. Ask me how many post-it notes I have…. LOL There’s too many of them to actually count. I guarantee that one of em has the location of a tape measure and a pencil…. hehehe

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2285 days

#24 posted 10-26-2012 02:44 PM

I have 2 tape measures I use in the shop. One (25’) stays in the shop and I carry the other one (10’) in my pocket. I can always find it. Likewise, I use mechanical pencils and keep one in my shirt pocket. I can always find it. At the risk of sounding OCD, a place for everything and everything in its place. Of course, before my son went off to college, all bets were off.

-- Art

View LukieB's profile


966 posts in 2357 days

#25 posted 10-26-2012 02:55 PM

I’m like you, I have at least a dozen, I know where 2 are right now.

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3011 days

#26 posted 10-26-2012 02:58 PM

I play hide and seek all the time in the shop. Nine times out of ten they are usually hiding in plain sight. LOL

One day I spent 15 minutes looking for my safety glasses, after getting another pair off of the peg board I found my safety glasses, on top of my head.

Pencils are scattered about the shop. I can find the unsharpened pencils its the stubby ones that hide on me knowing that I’m trying to use them up before grabbing a new one.

More often than not I find my tape measure’s every where but in the shop.

Electrical tape I bet I have at least 10-15 rolls but can never find them when I need them, till I buy a new roll then they all come out of the woodwork.

Then there’s chuck keys that always get laid down and you spend 15-30 minutes looking for.

So where else can a guy play hide and seek and get away with it. LOL

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2103 days

#27 posted 10-26-2012 03:45 PM

I have four tape measures. The crappy cheap one with only 1/4” markings seems to be the easiest to find. I have a small one that stays in my purse, and two other ones that wander around the house and shop (see, I’m calling it my shop now, no longer the garage :) )

Since I’m the only one in the house who knows what the silver thing with the long tape in it is for, I can’t blame anyone but me. Our 8 yr old son is interested in how things work, and building things, so I’m fostering that as much as I can. If he pilfered on of the tape measures, I’d be so proud! Dear hubby is NOT handy. It took him years to admit it, but he’s been banned from touching my tools and he’s okay with that.

I bought a box of flat pencils from HD, sharpened them all and never seem to use the same one twice, but can always find one.

But if anyone has solved the mystery of my socks, I’d be glad to know!


-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2174 days

#28 posted 10-26-2012 06:26 PM

Put me in the OCD category as well. My one tape measure is on the shelf where it belongs, next to my one pencil. I’ve had that pencil since I got out of the Army over 17 years ago.


View DS's profile


2926 posts in 2448 days

#29 posted 10-26-2012 06:34 PM

I currently have just one tape measure and I keep pretty good track of it.

I just know that if I ever bought a second one, I would never find one when I needed it.

For me, it is the one size Allen wrench, or drill bit in a set, which I need, that is invariably missing from the index.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View MrRon's profile


4797 posts in 3271 days

#30 posted 10-26-2012 08:38 PM

With today’s technology, it’s possible to embed tracking sensors in tools or anything we want to keep track of. It would just be a matter of pressing a button, like on car security remotes to find the tool. Of course you would need another remote one to locate the first one. Sensors are used all the time in stores to prevent theft.

View MrRon's profile


4797 posts in 3271 days

#31 posted 10-26-2012 08:44 PM

You should use only one tape measure on a project. For that reason, that one tape is the only one I keep track of, even though I have several tapes.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3703 days

#32 posted 10-26-2012 09:44 PM

Just buy them by the bushel. When the basket is empty, there will always be one within reach ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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2584 posts in 2989 days

#33 posted 10-26-2012 10:26 PM

Gremlins are to blame for missing items.

View EEngineer's profile


1103 posts in 3641 days

#34 posted 10-27-2012 08:14 AM

Pencils – has anyone noticed just how hard it is to find decent pencils anymore? One of the first additions to my shop was a pencil sharpener but it is almost useless anymore! The cheap Chinese junk they sell now doesn’t have the lead centered well enough that the pencil sharpener does any good! I tend to sharpen them with a knife now to get a decent point.

I have about 6 tape measures in the shop and, like everyone else, I can’t find one when I need it! Ditto using the same tape measure all the time. I find that the biggest difference between tape measures is that damned slip joint on the hook end – they don’t all slip the same amount – adding up to about a 1/16” difference between tapes.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2229 days

#35 posted 10-27-2012 03:20 PM

Tapes, at least 15 around the shop… I built little wood baskets where the main machines have a place for a tape and pencil…. If I am doing serious work I only keep one tape in hand. Or use a Metal ruler. Love the Fast Cap ones….

Pencils, I have used the ones from LV and they are nice, but mainly get the Black Widow ones you can get at Wally World….

Pencil Sharpeners, I buy the Old School type off fleebay… Crank the handle type… My Girls love them too much cause they always sharpen them after the sharpen them and just a little more longer they will hit the eraser…..

Even with all these precautions in place when I do need one fast I can never find them and when I do they are usually all in the same area…. I guess some things are just not meant to be…...

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View MrRon's profile


4797 posts in 3271 days

#36 posted 10-27-2012 06:09 PM

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 3680 days

#37 posted 10-27-2012 06:28 PM

i am using a shop apron so ny taoe measure, pencil and square are always in that front pocket. i used to spend probably 30% of my shop time to look for these rather than woodworking..

-- Yves

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2892 days

#38 posted 11-20-2012 06:06 AM

Ha, a classic topic. I have at least 4 ….someplace. I really get upset when I misplace my claw-hammer. I have two of those ,at least, but haven’t been able to find the other one in quite sometime.

I am working on developing better habits but I don’t think there is a cure for short-term memory loss. :)

Have a tool belt but can’t find that either !

View eccentrictinkerer's profile


38 posts in 3056 days

#39 posted 11-20-2012 06:26 AM

I’m pretty sure that my lost measuring tapes are with my funnels!

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DeLayne Peck

545 posts in 2229 days

#40 posted 11-20-2012 06:44 AM

My signature line says it all:

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View oldnovice's profile


6901 posts in 3395 days

#41 posted 11-20-2012 08:16 AM

I have two of them, I know where both of them are, and my wife knows where they belong!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Biff's profile


126 posts in 2042 days

#42 posted 11-20-2012 03:10 PM

I used to do the multiple tape measure deal but then I discovered how much variance there was between tape calibration. Now I use one and just keep it on my belt.

As far as pencils, I don’t know where they go! I did buy a bunch of these sticky-back pencil holders at the dollar store one time. I stuck them on my saws and bench and most of the time there is a pencil on them.

-- Interested in Oregon property? Visit me at

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706 posts in 2053 days

#43 posted 11-20-2012 03:38 PM

all of the above. Ususally find the missing drill bit chucked up in one of the drills. must be a woodworker trick to hiding things in plain sight.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View Ted's profile


2873 posts in 2239 days

#44 posted 11-20-2012 03:45 PM

Having worked in the trades so many years, I have the habit of clipping them on my pants pocket, so I’m generally not looking for a tape measure. Pencils, on the other hand, tend to disappear. Like you, Monte, I should have a drawer full of them. It’s like they grew legs and walked away.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3259 days

#45 posted 11-20-2012 03:47 PM

I know exactly where all but one of my 6 tape measures are. I have a good idea where the one I am not certain of is. My wife used it 2 days ago, and I think it’s actually in the laundry room on the dryer, but I’m not certain…

I have clamshell cabinets in my shop, with pegboard doors, set up after the Wood Magazine design. On the outside of one of them I have an array of pegboard “baskets” that hold things like utility knives, sharpies, tape measures, bench dogs etc… My tapes are in there.

On the other hand. What the devil I did with all my pencils I haven’t the foggiest idea. Probably got sucked up into the DC and are in the dust bin for all I know… I mean I do HAVE the little peg board pencil holder bucket, but the pencils never seem to find their way back into it…

I think the Gnome that keeps stealing one sock out of a pair is stealing my pencils too!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2941 days

#46 posted 11-20-2012 04:08 PM

Two 12’
One 50’
One 50’

However, I find myself using my 3’, 4’ and 5’ aluminum yardsticks for all critical measurements that won’t fit in my digital calipers. I hate the end of “tape measures” because the “hook” wiggles and throws off the measurement by as much as 1/16”, just enough to be a PITA. My 2-cents…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2719 days

#47 posted 11-20-2012 05:04 PM

I am convinced I have a shop ghost who delights in hiding pencils, tape measures and whatever I happen to be looking for next.

I have three tape measures but generally can lay my hand on one without too much fuss. Pencils I gave up trying to keep up with. I just bought a big bag of #2’s and grab a fresh one when the shop ghost hides the last one.

Now if I could just find one of my pencil sharpeners. . .

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2542 days

#48 posted 11-20-2012 06:44 PM

I have about 12 tapes all over the shop, with three in my tool caddy. I usually take the free tape measure coupon when I go into HF. But I mainly use aluminum rules like Mike, or Starrett 6” rule with metric for really good measurements. The tapes are mostly for initial cuts off the plank.

Pencils? What pencils? I must have bought 100 pencils, including a POUND of them at the flea market, US made that when I do run across one of them, I really like it when I put it through my old style pencil sharpener. I seem to find the same three pencils all the time, which are getting shorter and shorter, since I have no idea where all the others are!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Pete35's profile


4 posts in 2048 days

#49 posted 11-20-2012 06:45 PM

I keep a bin next to the door and light switch to my shop, where I can empty my pockets of everything that should stay in the shop. Then on my way back in the next time I’ll put the tools/pencils back where they belong. A lot less stuff gets washed this way..


-- Pete, Raleigh,

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2100 days

#50 posted 11-20-2012 10:16 PM

I don’t buy them anymore, I have employee’s and I just take thiers. It teaches them to wear their aprons…..
Now I got to go find out where all this overtime is coming from.. :)

-- Who is John Galt?

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