25 Jan 2017

25th January 2017 Loose drawers.

Wednesday 25th 32F, 0C, heavy overcast. The woods are wreathed in thick, patchy mist which belies the clarity nearer to.

Walked to the more distant woods along the field-side track and marshes. Vast silage clamps, reminiscent of prehistoric, long barrows had been laid open by an excavator for loading into vast lorries. The traffic was non-existent in the lanes and very light on the main road. Lots of rooks and a few birds of prey.

I shall have to go trike shopping today to catch up on two days doing something else entirely. I could actually wheel the Trykit to midway in the shed! This is a first and took many hours of reorganization of the shelving and rearranging bench tools.

I have several loose wood and plywood drawers which each house my collections of screwdrivers, pliers and spanners. Plus others for my numerous planes, hand saws, drills and other tools.

My ongoing search for tough, shallow, storage containers remains unfulfilled.  Plastic tubs are always far too deep for proper stool storage where rapid selection is not only desirable but vital. Nor does one want them piled on top of each other. Most of those tubs on display in DIY outlets and supermarkets seem to be getting ever thinner and more fragile.  More useful for a collection of ties or socks than heavy metal. Wall mounting all my tools would need a barn.

I don't have room for a serious drawer-style tool cabinet. The rather shallow drawers are often hopeless for tool storage anyway unless they become seriously large and expensive. Not to mention incredibly heavy! Smooth and level, concrete floors are obligatory. I should really make strong plywood 'drawers' with proper sliders but can never decide what size to make them. So the original drawers continue in use for yet another year decade.

Having far too many different hobbies require far too many unique tools and I have had a very long time to build my collections. Many of the unusual, quality tools were bought at flea markets. A collection of metal planes will rarely be used these days but are nice tools to have when you badly need them. As are old-fashioned wire stripping pliers with a chain across the handles and brass adjustment screw. Nothing even comes close for stripping very fine wires to absolute perfection in a confined space.

Small [fine] ratchet handles and extension bars for sockets and hex socket heads are wonderful accessories when working on the trike. How I wish I had them when I was starting out.

Hex socket head screws are also a vast improvement on chromed and rounded-off, hex head so typical of the 1960s. Or the hideously fragile cross heads which came later. Pro riders would probably have the screws discarded to keep the bike looking pretty. But it has taken 50 years to provide [almost universal] stainless steel socket heads. Yet still some ridiculously expensive cycle accessories have rapidly rusting bolts as soon as they see a drop of rain or a hint of dew.

I remember starting with a 'dumbbell' aluminium 'bicycle' spanner, a stamped out, flat, multi-sized, 'bicycle' spanner and a pair of electricians pliers borrowed from my father. Who was a keen cyclist before the war. Pliers are crap at cutting cables but I persisted for half a century before buying real pair of bicycle cable cutters. At 16 I was building my first racing bike from a bare Jack Taylor, lugless frame and a large pile of presentation boxes of the latest 10 speed gears and cotterless chainsets. I soon discovered a chain extractor was also vital to further progress and still carry one everywhere. [On the trike, I should hastily add. Not as a gold plated, Trump-Savile style, chest adornment.]

Late morning, hilly ride under cold, grey skies.  A sociopathic, white van man veered right off the road onto the cycle path to try and frighten me. I didn't have a chance to identify his van markings. Then there was the kilometers of mud and stones left behind by the council vehicles where they had been cutting away roadside trees.  Followed by a long string of illegally parked, hunter's vehicles obstructing the cycle path on the other side. All within the space of half a kilometer. 21 miles and I forgot to eat my chocolate muesli bar again.


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