Tag Archives: metal working

It’s really annoying sometimes

I did the shopping thing again today, and I had a significant handicap while I did it. Longtime readers remember when I was building bikes that I didn’t always have the right tools so I “made do”. Well one of the ways I “made do” was forming the thin sheetmetal with my fingers because I didn’t have any other way of forming it, and because I had some scary grip strength back then. Well it has come back to haunt me, in that the minor tendon damage I had from using brute force and grip strength instead of the right tools has flared up in painful fingers and the tendons in my palm swelling and causing weak grip and limited finger mobility. The palm pain can be traced to using my thumb to bend parts to final shape because it was more accurate than the selection of hammers and beating tools I had, most of which I built from cheap combination open/box end wrenches I had lying around after getting good wrenches. Seriously those were great for smoothing out contours and adjusting small radius bends in gussets and the like (and repairing dents in bicycle fenders). But about half the time at least some work ended up pushing thin metal into position with fingers and thumbs. And today I had to pay the price for abusing my hands like that.

Fortunately I’m not a touch typist, more of a high-speed hunt-and-peck typist who sorta knows where the keys are and can get a few without having to look where I’m poking the fingers. The technical term is look and peck, a hybrid of touch and the other. But while I can still type pretty quick, it still hurts a little. Sometimes not so little, but I will live over it.

And I’m done kvetching for the moment, time for bed.

I spent all day yesterday looking for tools and went and bought replacement tools today, on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I had the idea that I wanted to build the extended stem for Francis/es yesterday so I went looking for my Dremel cutoff wheels to cut the metal bits. This brings me to a fundamental question: What is the difference between taking something that isn’t put where you think it should be and putting it “away” where you think it should go without telling the person it belongs to and then forgetting where you put it, and hiding that thing? Mrs. the Poet did not like where I had put my cutting wheels away, so she put them “away” and forgot where “away” is. I spent all day Saturday trying to find them and never did.

So after church this morning I went to the hardware and bought another pack of cutoff wheels and some other supplies I needed to get, like the glue to put my shoes back together after the soles melted free from the uppers last week walking on the sidewalk that had been baking in the sun all day. This is not the first time that has happened, but this time when I went to get the glue the remainder of the tube was all dried up and no longer usable as glue.

So, armed with a fresh pack of cutoff wheels and a side milling cutter I attacked the extended stem like a madman. I measured, twice, and cut the extender tube to length. I then cut the donor stem in two pieces, one end to attach to the bottom of the extender so that it fits the steer tube, and the other to put in the top of the extension tube to attach the handlebars. If one could measure the level of enjoyment in a task undertaken voluntarily that could just as easily been left undone by the degree of dirt accumulated during that task, I enjoyed the hell outta cutting and fitting the parts to the extension. I had to stop before I was quite done, but really close to getting done with only a tiny bit of fitting to get done. Just as well, the shaping stone I was using was about to fall apart it was so worn out, so I have to pick up another one tomorrow before I read and filter the Feed. When I took my shower the first rinse and hair shampoo was black, the second a light grey

On another note but still on the extended stem build, side milling cutters should only be used with heavy gloves and a heavy apron when working with metal. I was covered in thousands of needle-sharp shavings about 1/8” long from doing the rough shaping with this cutter after doing the straight cuts with the cutoff wheels. The shirt and pants I was wearing had to be washed separately from the other laundry to keep the shavings from getting on the other clothes. T-shirts are about the worst thing to wear when using one of these cutters. Just so you won’t make the same mistakes I did. It has been said a smart person learns from his mistakes, a brilliant person learns from other people’s mistakes so he won’t have to make that mistake himself (or herself). I’m offering the chance for you to be brilliant by wearing a long-sleeve woven shirt with a vinyl or leather apron to keep the shavings out of your clothes. Be super brilliant and wear over-the-elbow leather gloves to keep the shavings off your hands, too. I have said that no repair will work without a blood offering to the deities, but this won’t do it. All the shavings will do is make you hurt for a few hours, they won’t draw blood while they hurt.

There was a Sprint Cup race in MI this weekend, but I was busy building bike parts, so I have no clue who won or how the races went today, or yesterday with the CWTS supporting race. I know I missed a good race or two, but building the extended stem while I could remember how to use the tools was more important. I think I mentioned that skill sets are another thing that wanders in and back out of my brain, fortunately they tend to wander away much more slowly than my words. Anyway, race, on TV, I didn’t watch.

And I have changed my wish list a bit for my Death Day celebration, instead of a new string trimmer I want one of the string trimmers in the garage made functional. The motors spin, but the string reel won’t dispense fresh string anymore. Fixing one would be better than buying a new one. I still want those d6 for my RPG group sessions, but I think the string trimmer working would be more important than dice. If you aren’t close enough for fixing the trimmer the dice are cheap and mailable.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet