Put simply, are there any good tricks for keeping track of removed screws and bolts when you're dealing with a lot of them?
I'm officially one evening into an interior restoration job on my '88 BMW M5, and around twenty screws in, I've just gotten the first sticky switch out to be cleaned. I'm under the impression that just the simple task of keeping track of which length screw goes back in which hole is going to be an undertaking on its own.
Certainly for smaller jobs, it's normally no issue to just remember what came from where. But this is a fourteen-week process (at which point I get the engine back from being rebuilt), and pretty much everything needs to be taken apart. I don't expect my memory to be that good. And before you ask, of course, they're all different lengths, but the same diameter.
Are there any tips or tricks for how one can ensure the right parts go back to the right places? I'd hate to think this will be the hardest part of the whole job.
The only ideas I can think of so far are:
- Take pictures: I've been doing this, but I'm not sure how meaningful my pictures will be. They might be more useful if I was holding every screw next to a tape measure or quarter for scale, and taking a few pictures each, but that's way too much overhead for every single screw.
- Work in small batches: If I can reduce the number of screws I'm dealing with at any moment, that might help. But like I said, it took around twenty for me to just get this one switch out--I expect many more to get to anything meaningful.
- Tape the screws across the holes each came out of: Most of what I'm dealing with is pretty clean, so Scotch Tape might do it, but it seems like this would run a very high risk of losing the screws if the tape didn't hold. I'm using a magnetic bowl to store my screws now, which is awesome for not losing them, but dreadful for organizing them.
- A box for each part: From a strictly organizational perspective, it might help to have several boxes or bowls to put screws in, so I can say "all screws that go into this piece of the dash are in this box," but I'm not sure how well that would scale (how many boxes will I need!), and it wouldn't suffice alone if one part had a lot of screws.
- Buy a Bentley Manual: I don't remember whether they list screw sizes (probably), but if so, a nice and clean solution--just worry about it later and read the manual when I need to put it together--except there isn't one for this car, and documentation is few and far between because the car is so rare.
Any advice would be appreciated, as I'm really not sure what to do. It's such a simple and frivolous problem in the scheme of things, but I'm seriously worried about getting it all back together.
I know this stuff tends to work out when you don't overthink it, so maybe I should just ignore it and do my best. I'd just like to think there was something better.