The Treasure Inside the Empty WD-40 Can

I recycle every scrap of metal in my shop. I go to the scrapyard at least once a year to unload all the rusty chains, broken cantilever brakes from Trek mountain bikes of the 1990’s, broken spokes, bent wheels, bent frames and everything else. I recycle from my kitchen too–all of it goes to the scrapyard, and that includes empty spray cans. Today I found an added bonus to my environmentally conscious endeavors. I found it in an empty can of WD-40.

I cut my spray cans in half when they are empty. This assures the guys at the scrapyard that I’m not dropping off anything that will explode. Lately, I’ve been collecting the little tubes inside of the WD-40 cans for an unknown use later on. This week I’ve been hard at work on a 1980 Fuji America. It’s a beautiful vintage model touring bike from the twilight of the Japanese bike boom. It has those coveted Suntour bar-end shifters. These usually go along with an unusual sort of cable housing–a naked steel coil housing, which is itself wrapped in a plastic sleeve where it touches and rubs against the head tube as it leads the shifter cable to the down tube.

My Fuji America touring bike was missing the plastic sleeves when I purchased it. Someone had wrapped that part of the housing in electric tape. It worked, but it looked bad. I tried to think of something that would replace the lost sleeves that would look better. As I tried out the little straw from the WD-40 can, I thought the inner diameter would be too small, but it turned out perfectly. And lucky for me, I’ve been pack-ratting those little tubes for a while, so I have a matching pair.

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