So I want to do a series of Instructables of some handy ways I cheat in the shop. We will see how many I manage to post. But at least there's this one!
This is one of my favorite tricks in the shop. Because anyone who sees you use it for the first time believes you to be some kind of mechanical Magus. Seriously! It is apparently really impressive. On more than one occasion I have needed to hold a nut or bolt in a socket while lowering it into place. And it always seems like when I need to do this there is some impossible labyrinth of hoses, wires and parts in the way. But putting a magnet in the socket would be too troublesome because of the maze you have to navigate. Or the target for the fastener was too close to some larger magnetic piece. There are a lot of things that could be done, but none as simple as this. Just take a piece of paper (printer, notebook, towel, cardboard, etc,) and jamb it into the socket with the nut or bolt. The little bit of compressed paper adds enough friction to the equation to prevent the fastener from slipping out of the socket. And no magnetism, no sticky stuff on my sockets, and I will not need to worry much about a bit of paper getting in the works. There is a little foresight required here. Always test how tight the fastener is in the socket. No sense in having it fall out while playing the reach game, or worse, having the socket stuck to the fastener. It is probably one of the oldest tricks that I know of, but it saves so many headaches.