Next up on the bike are (a) priming the tank and (b) seeing if the motor turns over. I have all the materials on hand and I’m itching to do both, but since I’m momentarily hampered by both polar-bear weather and back pain, those will have to wait a few more days.
So while I ride out this temporary setback, I’ll write a post or two about my shop and one of my favorite topics…tools. I mean, let’s be honest. You can never have too many tools!
My shop step-up
I spent many years doing work on the ground, a shed floor, a wood deck, a concrete sidewalk or driveway and so on…you get the picture. Hey, you do what you have to do. Now I have half of a two-car garage, which is a real upgrade. And I’ve outfitted that garage with some equipment that makes working on bikes more efficient and enjoyable:
- Metal Desk aka Workbench: This is one of two work surfaces I’ve set up. I picked this desk up from craigslist for ten dollars. It’s a beast in size, weight and durability. Even with a mounted Bench Vise, it’s nearly indestructible. Well worth the ten spot.
- Welding Table: This is my second work surface. While I’m no professional welder, I can see this as being a crucial investment in learning how to do decent welds. A newbie welder has enough to think about without worrying about a stable base to hold the materials.
- Stool: To get around the shop, I got myself a used medical stool off craigslist for fifteen dollars. The padding is thick, comfortable and supportive. And, it wheels around the garage floor like a skater on ice.
- 2-Ton Shop Crane: Some of the best money I ever spent was on this crane. It comes from Harbor Freight and has saved me from a lot of stress and strain. It effortlessly moves bikes around the shop and in/out of vehicles for transport. When parting out a bike, I hang it from the crane. It’s much easier than using a jack of any kind.
- Ancra Gradual Release Ratchet Tie-Downs: These are first-rate gradual-release tie downs and they’re the only kind I use in the shop.
- 2.5-Ton Hydraulic Jacks: Besides a shop crane, it’s a good idea to have a couple of these on hand. They’re relatively inexpensive and don’t require a lot of maintenance. Coupled with a sturdy piece of wood, they make a solid motorcycle lift.
- Lever Jack/Lift: For a quick lift of either the front or rear end of a bike, I use a lever jack/lift similar to this. Mine was manufactured by BBVR (now a dissolved company) and built like a tank. There are many versions of this simple design and most bike shops have a few around the shop.
- Bucket Head Wet/Dry Vacuum: Keeping the shop clean and well maintained is fundamental to safety and saving time, and Home Depot has a cost effective and easy-to-use solution. The Bucket Head basically turns a 5-gallon bucket into a wet/dry vacuum. For me, it’s handy and versatile without spending lots of bucks for powerful suction.
- Tool Cabinet: To store and organize hand tools, some people like pegboard. Others like boxes or bags or whatever. I like a tool cabinet. This one holds all of my hand tools and helps me find what I need quickly.
- TV: No garage would be complete without a little TV to broadcast football or movies while working on the bike. Now if only the Cleveland Browns could get back to the playoffs. An article by Don Banks states that in “the 15 seasons of the “new” Browns, Cleveland has lost in double digits 12 times, endured 13 losing seasons, finished last in the division 11 times and made the playoffs once—a one-and-done appearance as an unlikely 9-7 wild-card team in 2002.” Having been a fan since the later days of the Jim Brown era and gone to school in Wickliffe, we’ve endured much…but I digress. Hope springs eternal.