Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Even The Simple Things - Get A Grip!

Even Tougher In The Dark!
    If you are like me, you drop small stuff...all the time. OK, big stuff too, but hopefully less often. When I'm working on and in the RV I have this very real problem of dropping every single tiny part I handle. Screws, nuts, connectors, you name it, I've dropped it. And since Murphy has been at my side for ages, they always end up in an inaccessible spot. I've got some nifty tools to help me retrieve them, mostly of the "magnet on a stick" variety. Sure, some of them extend and retract like antennas on an old (very old!) cordless phone but what if the thing you've dropped ISN'T magnetic? Well, there is a solution and it's old school. NO, I'm not talking about pre-chewed gum on a stick, I'm referring to The Claw!

36" Long And Flexible!
Years and years ago I came across this style of grabber. I was at an automotive service place that had mechanics from an even earlier age. One of the guys exclaimed when he dropped something in a loud and gruff manner (The wording was so inappropriate, I do believe paint was stripped from the car body!) that he had dropped something into the engine bay. As I watched, he went over to his tool box and pulled out what looked like a speedometer cable with a push-button plunger on one end, about 3 feet long. This was inserted into the engine's nether recesses and Voila! out came the part, gripped at the other end by 4 wire "fingers." Very nifty. No magnets needed! The shaft is flexible so it can wind its way down to whatever you dropped.

4 Metal Fingers Grasp Small Objects
It's really a simple gadget. Press the plunger and the claw extends and opens. Release and it retracts and grips. You may have to re-position a couple of times to get a good grip or navigate past an obstacle, but it works easily enough. Once retrieved, just press the plunger back down and the item is released. Try and get your hand under it first or release it onto a flat surface or you'll be retrieving it again! (Yup, don't ask!) I have a couple of these, a long one and a short one I use for electronics repair. I've seen them in all metal and plastic/metal materials, the plastic ones don't exert as much force, so smaller objects (tiny?) is all they can do. Usually, they are only about $6.50 for the long version and much less for the shorter one.

There you have it, another simple idea that just works. Try it, you'll like it. I know I've been using it a lot lately. The cold has made it difficult to use my hands lately. One degree is not warm by any stretch. OK, back to planning for Spring! Oh, and Happy New Year!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

From -- These are available at


  1. I have two magnets-on-a-stick (large and small diameters) and the flexible fingers. Totally invaluable.

  2. I have one of these too, but I got it for picking up the campground trash of other more inconsiderate campers that leave cigarette butts, etc. all over the place. I don't want to pick some of that stuff up even with gloved hands.

    1. Noirland,
      i can't blame you. Some of that stuff is way nasty!

      Rich The "Wanderman"


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