Lost and found tools

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
I have lost/forgotten a bunch of tools on jobs over the few years, including expensive battery tools. I'm reminded of this every time I look for my 1000v straight screwdriver that I lost and keep forgetting to order a replacement. I'm sure everybody has lost tools so here's the more interesting question: Have you ever found a tool you lost when you returned to do more work at a job? I once lost some lineman pliers and I searched the attic high and low. No sign of them. I returned to do another job in the same attic a year later and found them sitting on an air conditioning vent.
 
Left some allen wrenches on top of an outdoor meter-main, found them a year later when I went to add a breaker.

Does packing a tool away in a box count? I "lost" a t-pro+ in a box of gear I don't use much so bought another one; 6 months later got out that box-of-gear and there it was. Having two t-pro's is not the worst thing in my world.
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
One of the many curses for a septuagenarian.
Forget cheap battery screwdrivers and polarity/GFCI testers way too often.
Murphy's law, it's normally on a job that requires a 15 mile return trip... not worth the time.
Never have had one returned .. on rare occassion I'll return when I'm back in the area and retrieve.
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Once I lost a Case Barlow knife at a work site, it was engraved with my name and phone number...I got a call years later from a person walking there who found it, he called me and said, I cleaned up your knife and would you like it back? I said no you can keep it!
But when I misplace a tool its like loosing a loved one...I have left a bell hangers bit in a attic, its probably still there.
And when I used to do traffic signals and warning flashers, I have found a lot of tools along the road, probably fell out from the engine compartment!
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Left some allen wrenches on top of an outdoor meter-main, found them a year later when I went to add a breaker.

Does packing a tool away in a box count? I "lost" a t-pro+ in a box of gear I don't use much so bought another one; 6 months later got out that box-of-gear and there it was. Having two t-pro's is not the worst thing in my world.
Yes a T+ Pro is my go to meter. Not sure how it does phase rotation with two leads!
 

McLintock

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician
My dad lost a hammer, 16 years later he found it on top of the ceiling on a office remodel.

I seem to misplace tools all the time, I always find them in my bosses tool bucket


“ shoot low boys their riding shetland ponies”
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I lost a work jacket out of the back of my pickup. Blew out and didn’t notice it. A week or so later we had a package on our front porch. There was the jacket. Dry cleaned.

Amprobe still clamped around the wire where I last used it a year earlier.

Burndy crimp tool and all the dies when I left the side utility box door open. Retraced the route, saw where the box had hit the gravel road and tracked the skid marks. Found everything but one set of dies in the grass and gravel along the ditch.
 

__dan

Senior Member
Lost a nice Lennox Hackmaster hacksaw, left it above a drop ceiling in Pennsylvania (two states away) doing travelling network power and data cabling.

Went back to the same ceiling 2 or so years later and popped the same ceiling tile for another job. There was my Lennox Hackmaster. Not sure if I knew which site had my saw in the ceiling. I do know that when I went back to the site I was not expecting to get my saw back.

*********

Lost a nice SK 3/8 ratchet that was part of the green box SK 3/8" drive set. Paid $47 for the entire green box SK 3/8 set when it was imprinted on the box 75th anniversary (let me tell you I beat the crap out of them including regular impact driving duty and they are great sockets). They sell the same set today imprinted on the box as 100th anniversary set for like $180.

Two years later I was back at the brick plant nosing around their boneyard again for parts to build something, everything is covered in 1 1/2" moon dust clay like talcum powder, spotting for more build materials in an inaccessible spot, and there was my SK 3/8 ratchet with long extension and a socket on it. It had fallen out of the Carhartt B01 leg pocket. Still have the complete set with no replacements and it is still the daily driver.

********

Lost my first Fluke 87 when it was still pretty new and because of the routine at the time, doing 30 hrs weekly just on the highways, I had no idea where it could be, just that it was gone. Before I gave up on it I started cleaning the truck. It had to be there I could not afford to replace it. At first I just started taking stuff out of the truck but as I dug deeper stuff was flying out of the truck landing 20 or 30 ft away. Just heaving everything to get my eyes back on the Fluke 87. Something left the truck that way and flew 25 ft right through a window on the house.

Eventually I had to come to the conclusion it was not in the truck and was gone. I was resigned to the loss.

Three days later I get a call out of the blue. Maintenance man calls from a school I had wired the boilers for, low winning bid job, half way across the state. He says I got your meter and I say you got it and he says I got it.

Then he tells me the story, he climbed up on his new boilers to look around and finds this nice looking meter. He is playing around with it thinking it is his now and that's that. But as he is playing around with his new toy Fluke 87 he sees it is magic marked with (my name) and phone number. He hesitates but eventually calls the numbe hoping no one will answer and it will be truly his. I did answer the call and talking to him, I got the vibe he was disappointed that he could not keep the meter. He was like 'are you sure you're going to drive all the way back here for it' (OMG pal, never stand between a contractor and his dinner).

I got that Fluke back and still have it.

**********

One more comes to mind which I have told here before. Short version was I put the word out that if I got my father's Hilti TE (big one drives a six inch hole saw), nothing more would ever be said about it and I would not (). I got that drill and bits set back but the guy making the exchange started to speak. I stopped him right there and told him 'I get the drill back and nothing would be said, take that deal'.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
Always forgetting flash lights up in hung ceilings. Years later I go back and they are still there, batteries dead. I have to say though that I've probably found more tools than I lost. One time a customer gave me a Fieldpiece clamp-on current/capacitance/temperature/VOM that a HVAC guy left in his attic. Customer had no idea what it was. Maybe you can use it.(y)

-Hal
 

PaulMmn

Senior Member
Location
Union, KY, USA
Someone once said that if you lose a tool, don't worry about it. If the tool is so important, just buy another one. And if (when) you find the original, you'll now be twice as able to work! (;
 

norcal

Senior Member
Misplaced my OBD II code reader & could not find the bloody thing anywhere, was not even searching for it yesterday when looked in a box & there it was. Truck needs to go to the shop to clear a code related to the turbocharger in order to get a smog certificate since registration is due for it this month
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Once I lost a Case Barlow knife at a work site, it was engraved with my name and phone number...I got a call years later from a person walking there who found it, he called me and said, I cleaned up your knife and would you like it back? I said no you can keep it!
But when I misplace a tool its like loosing a loved one...I have left a bell hangers bit in a attic, its probably still there.
And when I used to do traffic signals and warning flashers, I have found a lot of tools along the road, probably fell out from the engine compartment!
This post reminded me of one. When I graduated apprenticeship school the union gave me a Case pocketknife engraved with "IBEW Local 915". As a newly minted JW I traveled to Orlando FL and spent a few months renovating a huge indoor ride at Disney World. The entire indoor space was painted black and there were very few work lights so everybody was wearing headlamps. There was probably 300 men on the job from all over the country.

I lost that pocketknife and two days later a traveler I didn't know approached me holding the knife to return it. He tracked me down by my local number. I was amazed. Unfortunately a couple of years back I lost it again. No one has tried to return it.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Burndy crimp tool and all the dies when I left the side utility box door open. Retraced the route, saw where the box had hit the gravel road and tracked the skid marks. Found everything but one set of dies in the grass and gravel along the ditch.
This post also reminded me of one. I was going home from a job when I noticed the side door on the utility topper was open. I pulled over to close it and noticed six or seven Dewalt battery tools were missing. I retraced my path and found them all on the side of the road on a very sharp curve where they flew out.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
This post also reminded me of one. I was going home from a job when I noticed the side door on the utility topper was open. I pulled over to close it and noticed six or seven Dewalt battery tools were missing. I retraced my path and found them all on the side of the road on a very sharp curve where they flew out.
I had something similar happen, brand new utility truck, as usual the upfitters did a poor job adjusting the latches after they painted it, did a hard right turn on the way to work, tool bag pushes open the door, flys out into the grass. Door shut right back, so I didn’t notice it until I got to the job site. About an hour later someone calls saying they found it on the side of the road at that turn. Luckily, I keep my business cards in it, and they were able to track me down. When we switched the fleet to all utility trucks, I would go with the crews to pick them up. The upfitter always hated to see me, because I would check every truck to make sure everything was correct before I would sign off on them. The other bosses didn’t give a @#$&, and would sign off no matter what. No keys to the bins, ladder racks hanging crooked (not just a little, rear was two holes higher than the front).
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
I worked for a factory that was located in Florida, and I knew all of the guys in the Test area, which was always the last stop before shipping. When doing a startup at a job site here in California, I opened a cabinet and found a clamp-on meter and sack lunch, probably 2 months or more old because the site wasn’t ready when it shipped. I knew who it belonged to so I had it shipped back to him, including the sack lunch, mold and all, with a picture showing where I found it. Next time I went back to the factory, that picture was hanging in the break room as a “motivational poster” reminding employees to double check everything before shipping.
 

electricman2

Senior Member
Location
North Carolina
Occupation
Electrician
Left a hacksaw in an office above suspended ceiling. Couldn't remember where I left it. Back to the same place a year or so later. First thing I saw upon removing the tile was my hacksaw. So that's where I left it.
 

rlundsrud

Senior Member
Location
chicago, il, USA
I actually lost a steel stud punch tool when I finished my basement. It is behind one of the walls, I just don't know which one. Didn't realize it until the walls were painted and it just wasn't worth it to try and find it.

Sigh
 
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