Tools come in all shapes and sizes.


Before we get into the bulk of today’s post, and what its title is alluding to, just so you all don’t think I’m a one trick pony (technically I’m a two and a half trick pony, if you count this website, and the fact that I can do the punk rock party trick, ala Alva Skateboard’s Fred Smith) I have recently been published again in the second issue of Paved Magazine.
Luckily Brian Vernor has a number of fetching images contained in said issue as well which makes my scrawl almost seem valid. He’s also completed this video teaser with which to give folks an idea of what’s in store;

I told him that upon closing the magazine I thought he should have smashed a jelly donut on it, to act as a sort of period to that sentence.
He never got back with me.
Unfortunately however, my HTC/Highroad piece ended up not making the cut. This makes me sad for a number of reasons, one of which is simply because I have never typed that many words before.
I asked JPHNH about my masterpiece’s exclusion, to which he responded with something like “Yeah, I got it. I’m totally gonna do something with it. Oh, hang on.. I have a call on the oth….”*click*
We’ll have to wait and see if the article is released sometime before the HTC team completes their contract with Specialized and goes back to Scott.
You wanna talk about tools for a second? The tools that I’m talking about are not those (with the exception of AZ, mind you) displayed in full color, complete with rockin’ soundtrack on Monday’s post. No, good people. The tools to which I am referring are the kind that one maintains their bicycles with.
Recently while I was working on one of my bikes (i.e. gazing menacingly at it until it worked better) I was reflecting on the post in which I listed favorite accessories that have since been done away with. It occurred to me as I peeled a nearly bald tire tire off of the rim, I have a standard set of go-to tools, which seem to have been tailor made for my very own hands.
The first I have in the queue is the PDW coated 3wrencho;
The 3wrencho is the first thing I reach for when removing a tire, as unlike any of it’s plain plastic counterparts, doesn’t flex in the least during the process. Of course it’s got the 15 mm wrench on the opposite side, which never hurt nobody, but it’s really the tire lever that makes me love this unit long time.
And speaking of 15 mm wrenches, I couldn’t very well compile a list without the inclusion of a Campagnolo peanut butter wrench;
I long carried a knock off of this wrench which along with my liver and remaining self respect, was ultimately lost during the 2000 Single Speed World Championships in Minneapolis. Luckily I had the presence of mind to leave this jewel safely tucked away at home… In a jar of peanut butter, natch.
This next one is elementary and generally kind of obvious. When I was in college a friend’s mom gave him this for Christmas. Apparently he didn’t care for it, as it ultimately ended up being re-gifted to me;
This is the kind of item you find in a $1.99 box at the local hardware store, but ultimately takes the place of eight different screwdrivers. The crack extending down the body occurred while I was removing a fork race, so as long as you don’t do that with it, you’re good to go.
Appropriately, in the fourth spot is the Hozan fourth hand;
I was never sure why this was called the fourth hand. Personally I only have two and this acts as my third. I suppose if you get down to the nitty gritty, this pinches as well as pulls, so perhaps it would be more appropriately called ‘the third and fourth hand’, but just so there’s no confusion, well simply call it by it’s traditional name, a cable puller.
When I was but a wee lad living in Denver with Pentabike Dave and Mark Dickerson, I was first introduced to the majesty of its uses. It was then that I knew I was destined to be a mediocre mechanic, with a profound love for this tool.
The next one’s array of applications is endless, which is surprising, as it’s as inelaborate as they come. What is simply a sharpened spoke, or as a wrench I used to work with referred to as his ‘special pokey friend’, falls in at number five;
It can tackle every chore from opening the end of a piece of clipped housing to marking where to cut on a fork steerer to picking a piece of beef jerky from your teeth and everything between. They’re cheap, easy to make (assuming you have a bench grinder) and an invaluable addition to one’s collection.
Hands down one of the most ingenious tools I have in my stash is the Shimano 535 pedal overhaul tool;
I first came across this in a shop that used to let me come in and monkey around on my stuff before I was eventually employed by one. The design of the pedal is such that one nut applies tension to the internal bearings and another nut locks that one in place, (both of which are threaded onto the pedal’s spindle) not unlike a cone and a locknut on a hub. The outer 10 mil wrench tightens the ‘cone’, and while holding that in place with a 15 mil open end wrench, the internal 8 mil wrench tightens the lock nut with the aid of a small philips screw driver inserted through the hole in the upper part of its body. Elegance and efficiency all rolled into one.
Then we have the newest addition to my collection- the Raceface (R.I.P.?) external bottom bracket bearing installer/extractor;
Brilliantly designed for its application, this tool makes quick work of any external BB overhauls, and considering I may no longer have access to their wares, will extend the life of my current collection considerably. It was recently observed by someone much smarter than I am that the production costs of this tool most likely far outweighed that of a new bottom bracket, which may have been one spot where Raceface ultimately failed. Whatever the case, I certainly enjoy having this in my collection and look forward to the next time I get to use it. Any crunchy external BBs can be sent to me directly.
Lastly, we have the ACS freewheel spanner, complete with custom spent tube grip;
The rough finish on this piece might lead one to believe it was produced in a shop consisting of several metal grinders and an array of hammers, but it works like a champ, and will ensure the skin on your knuckles stays where it belongs.
So there we have it.. Thus concluding my partially complete list of things I pretend to fix stuff with.
While the design and application of an array of tools such as these might be what separates us from our less than vertical walking counterparts, as proven by this link sent to me by Max, human beings, or more specifically ignorant Americans, are currently displaying the intellect and compassion only rivaled by that of the most simple of single celled organisms;
This is simultaneously heart breaking, dumbfounding and absolutely infuriating all at the same time.
Do any of these people know Jack Schitt? No, I don’t think they do.

To paraphrase the homeless fellow who lived behind one of the shops I used to work at- “arybody got ‘they (or in this case, be ‘they) own kind of tool.”

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Leave a Reply

20 Responses to “Tools come in all shapes and sizes.”

  1. Snakebite March 16, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    “Tools come in all shapes and sizes.” That’s what she said. Even about the “special pokey friend.”

  2. leif March 16, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    Your hairy palms are creepy
    But your thumb could be a porn star

  3. Josh RVA March 16, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    No three-pound hammer?

  4. Stevil March 16, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    Yeah, sorry about that Leif. It’s genetics.

  5. David March 16, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    I just want to gloat by saying the picture of the tasty curves at the top of this page is from a spot not 5 minutes from where I work. It’s gated and closed to cars, too. Maryhill Loops Rd., Washington.

  6. ahpook March 16, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    the title “alludes” to tools, makes references to them; it doesn’t “elude” them by escaping successfully.
    sorry, cant help myself.
    as to Paved ish 2: Order’d

  7. Stevil March 16, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    My editor’s a dipshit.

  8. Loudass, Esq. March 16, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    9) Park 4-5-6 threeway allen wrench
    10) Shimano cable cutters
    11) Craftsman rubber mallet
    12) Dualco grease gun

  9. cphfxt March 16, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Dear Loudass.
    You´re absolutely right about 10,11,and 12, but 9 is an abomination. Its the tool you lend to people you dont like or customers if they are annoying. (difference?) There is no plastic handle or other gizmo gadgetry on a L-shaped hex key and so it should stay.
    All mech´s worth their salt has their own way of bending and sharpening a spoke. Lets do a sampling.. One day..

  10. sprodcket3030 March 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Stevil, they already had the third hand for holding the brake pads together, so the tool that pulls the cable became the fourth hand. Funny thing is that you really only need one other hand if you used both tools, so you get an extra hand with which to do whatever you want. The possibilities are staggering.
    Anyway, now you know.

  11. curtis March 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    that pedal bearing tool makes me hate you everytime i take my spd’s apart.

  12. Stevil March 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    sprodcket3030, Obviously my third hand is considerably different from yours.

  13. Duncan March 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    I open closed cable ends with The Nail of Justice.

  14. Tiny Hands March 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Best tool ever in a shop is a plunger.
    The 3 some wrench is hands down the worst. At first you think it’s cool like a ninja star but then a day or two later you realize that the only bolt you can turn with it is a headset cap.

  15. Loudass, Esq. March 17, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    I’ve got a 20 year old Park threeway with a cast aluminum center; however, the new plastic ones are kinda shitty. I guess I should have said Bondhus allen keys.
    And when I was a (paid) mechanic, I found all customers to be annoying, except the ones that brought us malt liquor.

  16. mrg March 17, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    steel spatula + rag was a really good addition for quick cog cleaning.
    ..and don’t forget the safety pin to get metal chunks out of brake pads.

  17. niki mobius March 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    The third hand is a flat spring strap that “reaches around”, pinning the two sides of the caliper to the rim…similar end as the fourth hand, but more handy on old center pull brakes-
    niki mobius

  18. ben March 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    The only 3 way allen wrench that is worth a damn is the old one with the aluminum center. You can clamp that thing in a vice and turn the crank instead of the wrench to get off stuck c-ring bolts.

  19. Zach March 19, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    So much truth spoken here..
    Don’t forget a blow torch and a lighter, I’ve fixed a lot of shit with fire.
    And Stevil, you should be a hand model.

  20. Johnny March 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    True on the hand model comment.
    Also, chicks dig guys with a ring on the left hand. Use it wisely.