Monday, October 03, 2005

Space Improvements

Nick (my oldest son) and I spent a bit of time Saturday on shop organization.

We extended the back of one bench top almost 10" for more surface area. This should result in our being able to put both the grinding wheel and the drill press at the end of the base of the L formed by the bench-top. That change alone will make a big difference in workspace, and give me more room around the grinder to manipulate large and awkward objects.

We also mounted about 4 linear feet of peg board creating more tool storage locations. We have another 4 feet to do, but already much is out of the way. Now all the handles for my frame-reamers/facers/taps are hanging up, also the frame alignment tools. Further, other bike tools (brakes/BB/etc) are now consolidated here as well.

Part of the need for putting up 4 more feet of peg board comes from files. I have amassed quite a collection - many more than I ever would have imagined when I began this venture. Partly this is due to sloppy brazing. As I learn to control the silver better, there is less to clean up. But, when there's silver to clean up, it takes a variety of files (including rotary) to do a nice clean job. Part of the mess comes from realizing that using the correct size file makes coping tubes easier, and similarly having different grades allows one to hog out metal quickly and then leave it with a nice finish.

But, I have to admit that there's one other reason why my workbench is drowning in files. I don't know what to do with the old dull ones. Partly, I have a hard time saying: "Yep, this file is shot, time to replace it." So, I may get out a new file, but keep the old one around - never accepting it's fate. The other issue is: what to do with old files? I'm not aware of being able to have them sharpened or reconditioned - if any of you are, please let me know. Otherwise, what should I do with them? I suppose the recycle bin is the best alternative - and considering that many of my files were purchased cheaply, that shouldn't be a tough decision - but it is.

It's not romance or love for the tool that holds me back. It's not clear what is holding me back. But if I can break through this barrier, I'll have a cleaner workbench and hence probably do finer work. I need to go into the shop with some focus this week and clear out this old steel.

A related challenge is that I acquire files much more quickly than handles. Naturally, as old files die, their handles can be repurposed to new ones. But, the range of files used has grown faster than the number of handles as well. As a side note; too many handles don't necessarily fit files of the size they are rated to fit. Anyhow, its time to bite the bullet and buy another half dozen handles.

On other fronts:
1) Work continues to be postponed on the external quill stem. I'm waiting until shop reorg is complete.
2) My new threadless stem arrived - but it's a 1.125" and I ordered 1". I suppose I can find some shims, but this isn't proving to be the speedy solution I hoped for.
3) My reamer for the Steerer hasn't arrived. Hopefully today so I can finish off frame #090105.

I've been trying to find an economical source for a build-kit for my daughters bike. Its no doubt a market niche, hence it takes some research. So far, the cost of a good (not great) set of wheels in her size is the same as for an adult sized bike. And, I'm not looking for BMX wheels even though they have the same diameter. Either I need something based on hub gearing or on a multi-cog freewheel/freehub.

It occurred to me that the place where the most construction takes place around small wheels is with 'bents. Considering this, I thought to look for web sites servicing bent builders. I found, and sure enough, it looks like they can help me put together an "affordable" build kit. I'm probably still looking at $400 (despite having some pieces already in stock) but this seems like a workable number. Even more so because it involves parts which will be reusable when Sarah outgrows her frame. Sometime late this year or early next year, I'll make this investment.

Well, enough for now. Gotta get back to work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boggs Tool ( claims to be able to resharpen files. I've heard positive things about the results, but haven't tried their service myself.