Just a fast instructable to share my solution for identifying my leather tools which all look the same, with out picking each one up to read the tiny indent on the side in order to find the specific one I'm looking for.
There are many ways to get the results needed. Feel free to add your ideas to the comments.
I have a pounding table made of a log and a large nylon cutting board like surface. recently I got the brilliant idea of strapping my construction tool belt to the log to hold the tools I want fast access too. I still have the same problem that I had with the tools in a small container. they all look the same from the top. I did not want to simply label them with a sharpie because on that portion of the handle it might just rub off over time. The following steps are just my fast but long term fix.
Step 1: The Tools
Left to right
* Dremel with diamond tip for engraving.
* Sharpie for initial labeling and contrast afterward.
* Grey plastic blocks are repurposed junk, I use them to secure round shapes in my vice.
* Tools to label
Not shown : A vice or means of holding the tool tight for engraving.
Step 2: Initial Label
* Hold your tool so that it faces a specific direction. Mine all face up then I hold the number upright. this way if they are all the same you will know which way it is facing when you grab it.
*Write the number or letter in something that you can see. I chose sharpie. I am not too worried if my engraving is not perfect since this is just for me. Some may want to use something less permanent, like charcoal.
Step 3: Secure Tool and Engrave
* Secure your tool.
I have these nifty plastic shapes that a friend salvaged for me, the outside is flat, the inside has a half round cut out. being plastic it gives a little around the tubes that I am securing, even if the tube is bigger is seems to be much better than the tube shaped alone. if I didn't have these I would likely just wrap some scrap leather just to help it hold better with out tightening so much it squashes the wooden handle.
* Make shallow indents for your labels. sometimes I will push with my palm on various tools and the goal is to make a shallow depression so that the mark stays but not deep enough to alter the comfort of the handle.
I am not going to focus on engraving since this is not a skill I actually know how to do.
Step 4: Create Contrast
* Use a sharpie to color the groove.
* I used black for my edgers, and switched to a silver (color I had at hand) for my awl and groover.
this way it is even faster to grab what I'm looking for.
I was bummed to see that sharpie does bleed under the protective finish. I looked for other options at hand but didn't see any quickly. so I blotted instantly after coloring that helped.
There could be many many ways to create contrast here. Contrast is important so that ID is fast.
Step 5: Finishing.... Well Somewhat
I did say that I wanted to finish these fast so I can get back to playing with my leather. I'm not knowledgeable in many ways of finishing wood, so for now I'm leaving them this way. Any suggestions would be great. Attaining a rounded shape again would be cool on future projects too but for now this solves my organization problem.