Mystery part

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I found a small piece of hardware on the shop floor yesterday that looks important. Trouble is, I have no idea what it could be.

Everyone who periodically moves things in the woodshop finds small parts and hardware they’ve dropped sometime in the past. Usually these are no more mysterious than random screws, washers, nails or other fasteners of little importance. I do this all this time.

But when I rolled my small clamp rack yesterday, underneath it I found a tiny piece of hardware I can’t explain. It’s nothing simple like a screw or nail, but a rather intricate brass gear with a large bore. Clearly, this is a working part of something mechanical, but I’m at a total loss as to what it is or what machine or tool it may have fallen out of.

It doesn’t show wear, so I’m doubting it’s a working gear from a drill or something like that, and all my other equipment works fine. You’d think losing a gear (or whatever the heck this is) would affect how something works, or at least cause it to make some kind of obvious noise or vibration, but I’ve noticed nothing unusual. I also haven’t built any clocks or other mechanical projects with small metal parts, and although I’ve assembled a few new tools lately none of them would have used something like this.

So there’s the mystery: What the heck is this and where did it come from?

Now, if it came from a tool I haven’t used in a while I suppose I’ll discover the source when I eventually use that tool, but I’ve considered everything in my shop and can’t come up with a likely source for this little rascal.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep it in a small container and hope I don’t get any big surprises when firing up a tool that’s been on the shelf for a while.

A.J.

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