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Shop trolls

I have these invisible shop trolls living (I assume) under my
workbench. Every time I drop anything, but especially a stone, and I
see it bounce “RIGHT THERE!”, the trolls grab it and hide it from me.
I sweep, I look, I move furniture. I recently lost a carat diamond. I
saw it fall toward the floor between my feet. Yet it has vanished!

Do y’all know of any way to appease these little beggars and get
that diamond back?


Hi Doc;

Do y'all know of any way to appease these little beggars and get
that diamond back? 

In my shop, these are the minions of Loki. I keep a beautiful Art
Nouveau portrait of my favorite frost giant on the wall, posed with
his sons, the serpent and the wolf, in order to placate him. But
alas, he has to periodically make himself known with a certain degree
of mischief. When he gets tiresome, I call upon Frigga to tone him
down a bit. Tried the burning sage bit, didn’t work. Wrong mythology.
I’d suggest you research your own ancestry and come up with a deity
to work with that’s appropriate. Warning, if you’re African American,
be extremely careful as some of those ancestral deities play mighty
rough. I messed around with one of them once, thinking he was a rain
deity. My mistake, he was actually a fire god and my office had a
small fire while I was out (right underneath the idol I’d made, in
his line of sight too). Nothing serious, just a few papers, but the
fire department wasn’t taking any chances and they hosed the place
pretty good.

David L. Huffman

Do y’all know of any way to appease these little beggars and get that
diamond? Not if they belong to the same clan that made away with a
small-but-gorgeous ready to set opal I had just finished polishing.

Hello Doc,

Try dog biscuits. Or better yet, a two-year-old. Failing that, lay
down on the floor with a flashlight and look for sparkles while
hoping no-one’s spilled glitter in your shop. Failing that, check
your shoes and the cuff of your pants. Also, check the seat of the
chair, and if your chair is on wheels, check the wheels of the

Good luck making the trolls happy.

Susannah Page-Garcia

Trolls aside, I would take a jar of baby powder and holding it
upright as high over the area as possible, bang upward on the bottom
just enough to create a light dusting of the area. Looking from an
angle should reveal shadows caused by items resting on the floor.
Probably won’t work on carpets or very dirty floors.

Daniel Culver

Sometimes–not always, but sometimes–the trolls are vulnerable to
the Yellow Pyramid technique. You must be able to picture the lost
item in your mind’s eye. The more precise the mental image, the
greater the possibility of recovery. Picture the stone clearly, then
picture it inside a yellow pyramid, and clearly state, “Return the
stone now.” Vocal volume doesn’t matter; intent does.

Good luck!

Hate to tell you this, Doc- but there is no escape! I can tell you
that it isn’t shop trolls that are causing you those problems
though. As everyone with any experience in this business can tell
you stones and findings have minds of their own. They’ll bounce
twice, wink at you three times and find the most ingenious places
they can to hide! They take sheer joy in driving stone cutters and
jewelers to utter distraction!

I have discovered that using an LED flashlight does work wonders in
revealing the locations of hidden stones though.

aka Gem

Nope, Doc –

They will have their way. They’ll play with it for awhile, and once
you’ve given up on it and gotten another instead, it will reappear! I
think mine hang out on my clothes (like pants cuffs, pockets, shoes,
socks, etc.) But it’s truly amazing how far something can sometimes
go, after you hear/see it bounce!


First, the proper name is gremlins. Trolls live underground. Unless
you work in a basement [g].

Two suggestions: Get a BIG apron and spray it with fire retardant
(You can usually find it at fabric stores. It needs to be re-applied
after washing) Put some Velcro along the bottom of the apron and just
under your bench. Then when things fall they fall into the apron.
Second is to get a heavily textured rubber type material mat. At
least then it can’t bounce too far, even though you have to pick it
up and shake it to find things sometimes. Third tip, which just
popped up in m ind, is do like the CSIs do. A flashlight really does
help, even in shop light, making a thorough search and if you hold
almost horizontal to the floor you can get shadows showing things you
wouldn’t see otherwise.



I guess if I had trolls under my bench I would start with some
negotiating. Consider offering them the right to continue to live
under there in exchange for enlisting their aid in pointing you right
to your lost object.

Since they are at such a good vantage point it seems it would be a
piece of cake for them to assist.

Since it is your bench and your workspace it seems they should have
to have your permission to live their.

Whenever I drop something or watch some little (crucial) stone or
whatnot fly off my bench ( well usually with my help) I immediately
start telling myself, I can find this. I try to replay whatever
glimpse I had of the drop or bounce. Did I hear anything that was
helpful? Then I try to keep an open and quiet mind that might point me
to where I need to look. If some idea or thought comes to me I try to
honor it and follow it. Even if I already looked there or especially
if I’m sure that IT could not possibly have gotten THERE. I’m thinkin’
though I might put out a call for some search and rescue trolls to
come and live under my bench.

I bet they don’t eat much or take up too much space.


I have always wanted to have my shop in a loft with a heavy duty
metal grate for the floor. Build a huge funnel under the benches with
a bucket at the bottom. At the end of the day or after each Troll
incident I could just go to my bucket and retrieve everything that I
dropped. But alas, my shop is in the basement, so I just keep a
couple of cats around, (Trolls hate cats) anything shiny hits the
floor and they are after it.

Happy hunting,
Christopher Arnett

Do y'all know of any way to appease these little beggars and get
that diamond back?

You have to duplicate the ‘loss motion’ with another, similar
stone…have two pairs of eyes follow its path.

Sometimes they get greedy and keep everything though.

You might try sacrificing a fatted calf.

When I drop something, or send a small piece of something
accidentally flying off the bench, I open my eyes wide and try to
follow the motion really quickly with my head. This way I am
sometimes able to see where it lands, at least for the first bounce.
It works, maybe, 25% of the time. I think I catch sight of it, just
barely, in the corner of my vision field. This seems too obvious to
be helpful, but I really think that turning my head fast and opening
my eyes really wide does help.


The Trolls you speak of are from the land of Murphy, where the laws
of physics are bent to allow simple objects to travel great
distances after rebounding off another item, such as a floor. With
these bent laws in the hands of a Murphy Troll, a rebounding object
can accelerate to incredible speeds in any direction it pleases.

Under Murphy Troll influence, the object in question usually seeks
out a small dark hiding place at the furthest possible distance from
the point of rebound, and the least likely to be searched by the
despairing person who dropped the item. Oddly enough, items
displaced in this way are often congregated together by Murphy
Trolls at treasure spots, and treasure hoarding is the basic nature
of all trolls worldwide.

The only way to appease a Murphy Troll is to offer a full glass of
Jameson Irish Whisky. This is placed on the top of the workbench, as
close to the point from which the object fell, and allowed to remain
the night. As Murphy Trolls are exceedingly small, only a tiny
portion of the Jameson Irish Whisky will be consumed. The remainder
is to be drunk immediately by the object dropper. If the object, or
more likely objects are soon found, then the whisky drinking serves
as an act of celebration and closure. If some time passes and the
object is still not found, the Jameson Irish Whisky provides a
cheery glow of complete indifference to the situation in general,
and takes the raw edge off of what could have been a frustrating

Doctor Memory,

Trolls are especially hungry for diamonds, which are bartered under
bridges around the world. The best way I know to beat the trolls is
to have a flashlight as part of your bench tool array.

When you drop a stone, freeze – the trolls will freeze too.

Have an associate turn off all the lights in the shop, and lay a
flashlight on the floor so the beam runs right on the surface. Light
energy from a flashlight is to trolls like Kryptonite is to
Superman, and they will scatter. The beam running parallel to the
floor will illuminate anything that protrudes above the flat surface
– you will easliy see even the most minute particle that sits on
the floor. Your gem will sparkle in the beam, and you will have
beaten the trolls to it.

It also helps to have a troll doll on your bench next to the
flashlight – good juju for keeping trolls away – they fear their
own image. See attached.


I have the same problem, but I think it’s an anti-gravity vortex
right under my bench! What are the odds?


You might try a shop vacuum with a nylon stocking rubber-banded over
the end of the hose. You would still get the suction but the diamond
would then be “stuck” on the hosiery instead of going into the
vacuum tank. This was a useful tip back in the old days of hard
contact lenses…Did I just age myself?

Good Luck!!

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx

Hi Doc,

Do y'all know of any way to appease these little beggars and get
that diamond back? 

It was after losing a stone from a customer piece I was repairing
that I took action and purchased a rug/runner to put beneath the area
where I work. This is a very low pile kind of thing you’d find at
Lowe’s or Home Depot at this time of year for putting in front of
entry ways to catch mud, snow, dirt, etc. Mine is 4’ x 6’. It’s a
sort of mossy brown color and acts as a splendid background for just
about anything I’ve dropped on it, and it seems to be the perfect
foil for any “bouncing” activity. In my new work space I have
ceramic tile, and once everything was all set up and ready to go, I
hauled this old friend out of storage and set it up (I didn’t want to
take a chance of dropping anything on ceramic, where I was certain
it’d bounce so high and so far out of view I’d never find it). When
the floor gets cleaned, the first thing I do is sweep the rug beneath
my work area with a Dust Buster I use specifically on this item
alone. If I hear any little clicks, I just open it up and spill the
dirty contents onto a piece of white copy paper and inspect for a
likely suspect.

Sorry this doesn’t help for finding an already lost stone, but it
might help avoid future losses. These trolls by the way are the
upscale version of the guys who steal socks out of the washer and
dryer. Pernicious little buggers.


P.S. the stone I lost was a spectacular faceted aquamarine; it took
me over a month to find and finally take possession of a
replacement… and, of course, I ate the cost of the replacement.

I tried to establish a “troll free zone.”

I work on two benches…so my “troll free zone” measures 4ft by
8ft. I used 1 sheet of nice 3/4" maple plywood and attached 1x2 all
the way around, then sealed it up with polyurethane and put my
benches on it. The 1x2 creates a 3/4" wall on the inside of the
"zone" to keep stones in and a 1.5" wall on the outside to keep
trolls out. Remember trolls are small…to them 1.5" is a massive

You might need to use diplomacy to get that 1ct back.

Good luck, Ivan.

I remember someone on Orchid saying they put a loose panty hose over
the vacuum cleaner nozzle. the stone gets picked up but can’t go in
the bag.

Bill from L.I.N.Y.