The Shop

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Here’s my main work space.   I’m working on an old Fuji mountain bike here.  I’ve got all the parts cleaned and ready to go back on the bike.

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You can’t put everything in here.  It messes up aluminum parts, and it will take the paint off of anodized parts, so BE CAREFUL if you use an ultrasonic cleaner.  I use it only for very dirty freewheels.

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I’ve got a Park stand and base, but the clamp is made by Efficient Velo Tools out of Portland, Oregon.  I love it.  It’s an improvement over Park’s fancy clamp, which is infamous for being wobbly.

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This grinder belonged to my dad, Jim Sprague.  There are lots of his tools in my shop, and I think of him every time I pick one up.

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Keeping an organized parts boneyard is essential to fixing vintage bikes with period-correct parts.  This is some of my boneyard.  The rest of it sprawls into the garage and basement.  I am constantly reorganizing my parts.  Some day I will have cool metal cabinets and drawers.  Snap-on…   …in my dreams.

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You can do the old “true it on the bike with the brake pads” thing.  Or you can get one of these.  I got one of these.

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I bought this vise mainly for holding onto microfiber towels while polishing aluminum and chrome parts, but it’s good for a lot of things.  I don’t bolt it onto the table because I sometimes use it to remove cotter pins from cottered cranks, so I have to lift it and carry it to the bike.

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Magnetic parts bowls will save your little parts from rolling away.

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This is the Rim Bender.  This tool is not approved by the International Board of Proper Bike Tools, but it can save a rim from the scrapyard.  I don’t use it often, and only when there is really messed up tension in a rim that is not caused by improper spoke adjustments.  I last used it on the front wheel of Michael’s 1982 Schwinn Bantam.  The steel rim was cattywampus as hell, and I wanted to keep the bike original.  So I built the Rim Bender, took the spokes off, and gently bent the rim back into a shape where it would all lay flat on the shop floor.  Then I was able to true the wheel after putting it back together.

I do not use the Rim Bender on most bent rims.  Bent rims are for the scrapyard in most cases.  I do use it when I have a steel rim for a cruiser or kid’s bike that will never go fast enough or have tires narrow enough to feel the shudder of a re-bent rim, which will always have a spot or two of weirdness.

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