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Old 01-10-12, 09:45 AM   #1
treebound 
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non-typical tool sizes, and what once was lost is now found

For starters my missing box of cone wrenches and hex/allen wrenches reappeared over the weekend. Lost them over six months ago, didn't know where they went, thought they might have exited the garage via a sticky fingered passerby, and was about to start replacing them. Found them buried in the corner of the basement behind some other stuff. Had some relatives staying with us for six months while they were between homes, nine of them, us two, all tripping over each other in a one bathroom house, but they're gone now. Near as I can tell the box of tools got buried as we were moving things around to make room for them all. But on to other stuff and the reason for this thread....

What non-typical or non-standard tools do you find a need for when working on various older bikes? The reason I'm asking is because I was looking at an older bike yesterday and several of the hex socket head screws and bolts were half-sizes, like as in 5.5mm and maybe a 7 or 7.5mm, and a few others. This one was an English built bike but I don't think they were Whitworth sizes, I'll run a web search in a bit to double check that though. But this got me to thinking what I might want to add to my tool set just to cover more of my bases when working on my own and if I go back to the bike shop this coming summer then what I'll want for working on other people's bikes as well.

I can't say what the bike is just yet for several reasons, let's just say it was a very interesting and educational visit, and it wasn't for me even though it would have been very nice to have if only it fit and if I had the funds for it. I will say however that I do now have a new idea for what I'd like to look for in the future, I'm liking some of the bikes from the 50's and 60's and some older stuff even more now. I also have a better idea of what I'd like to find for a 1955 model year bike, which is something I've been thinking of for some time now.

But, anyway, back to tools and vintage bikes, what tools do you have beyond the standard stuff? My little Alien II multi-wrench met it's match yesterday so now I'm driven to add to my toolbox contents.

Excuse me now while I go look up Whitworth and Metric and Inch and other tool size cross reference lists.
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Last edited by treebound; 01-10-12 at 10:57 AM. Reason: I seem to be typing to instead of do, oh well
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Old 01-10-12, 10:38 AM   #2
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I have a full array of cone wrenches, but I'm too cheap to invest in a set of Whitworth wrenches, so I bought a couple of good quality adjustable Crescent wrenches instead.
Other than that (and my huge collection of FW removers), I have been able to get by.
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Old 01-10-12, 10:43 AM   #3
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I have a handfull of Whitworth wrenches that I received from frankthewelder and use those when I have the needed size. Otherwise I like my adjustable wrenches.
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Old 01-10-12, 11:10 AM   #4
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Yep, "Crescent" and "ViceGrip" are alternative spellings for "Whitworth", but not when preservation is involved on a nice bike.

Got sidetracked on my web search, back at it in a bit, but for now I'll be out in the frozen garage getting ready to make some progress on some projects that were delayed due to disappeared tools. I might have to thaw out my grease tub though.

Hmmm, just found this before I went out back, seems they could have been inch sized cap screws, or maybe possibly an inch sized hex wrench set would have worked:
http://www.csgnetwork.com/screwsochdcaptable.html
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Old 01-10-12, 02:48 PM   #5
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The guy who bought my Norton "Commando Combat" motorcycle after I got married got a full set of Whitworth sockets and open-end/box-end wrenches with the deal. An absolute necessity. I later saw him riding the bike after he did a full restoration on it. Very pretty. Made me glad I sold it to him.
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Old 01-10-12, 06:42 PM   #6
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For starters my missing box of cone wrenches and hex/allen wrenches reappeared over the weekend.
Congratulations on the reappearance of your box. My missing box has some tools, a Cinelli drop bar, a Cinelli stem, a set of Mafac Racer brakes, a set of Suntour barcons, a Record seatpost, a broken in Brooks B17 saddle and a NR FD. Haven't seen it for about 20 years.
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Old 01-10-12, 06:52 PM   #7
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Odd size tools? I just had to order a M3.5 X .6 tap and die...with which to tap out a 7 mm hex steel rod a fellow made for me on his milling machine ...2400 miles away...to try to replace a very unusual, elongated, chrome plated acorn nut that acts as an adjuster on the fender stay of a 1963 Frejus. But first, I have to make the nut. The die is in case I decide I have to make four whole new stays. If I can find some 3.5 mm stainless rod. I'm halfway home .......
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Old 01-10-12, 07:21 PM   #8
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The Whitworth tools were developed by the builder of the Rudge-Whitworth bike I believe. The company was bought by Raliegh in 1943. I'm not sure went they stopped using these tools sizes. I have just found two of these bikes. One is a mid '60s and the other is a mid to early '50s. Both kinda rough but restorable.
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Old 01-10-12, 07:36 PM   #9
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Good timing for this thread!

This evening I was working with that Masi frame I'm cleaning up. The bar is a Cinelli and I assume the stem is too. Its bolt to lock it into the steerer tube seems to be 7mm Allen head. It is also black in a silver stem and so perhaps isn't original. I have never owned a 7mm Allen wrench and apparently even after decades of bike and little furrin' sports car wrenching have never needed one until now.

Did Cinelli really use a 7mm Allen head there? If this bolt isn't original are replacements available? It isn't in the best of shape.

And oh, by the way, how does one remove Suntour ratchet bar-end shifters from the bar ends? Don't know if I need to but it would be nice to know how.

(So many spiffy parts I've never worked with before.)

Thanks.
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Old 01-10-12, 07:47 PM   #10
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Auto Zone sells the hex socket set to use in a socket wrench, that was the only set I could find that had an Allen wrench 7mm.
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Old 01-10-12, 07:55 PM   #11
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Jim, I don't know about Cinelli, but Philippe, a French maker, used 7mm allen keys on their stems. I still have one or two 7mm allen keys hanging around.

I was once working on an English bike with Whitworth nuts and there was a damaged nut. Because of the odd threading, I couldn't replace the nut. So I filed each of the six sides down to some other size. It took a long time, and it was tricky to get it close to hexagonal.
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Old 01-10-12, 08:05 PM   #12
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Cinelli stems did indeed use 7mm allen bolts early on. They switched to more conventional 6mm allens some time in the early 1970s. You can get 7mm wrenches in sets from Bondhus and such, but no bike tool company seems to offer them any more, and the multi tools skip over it as well.

To get the Suntour shifter off, remove the pivot bolt completely, then slid the lever out of the housing. Take a 6mm (might be 5mm) allen wrench, put it in the housing & turn it to loosen the wedge bolt. If I remember right, clockwise loosens it.
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Old 01-10-12, 10:57 PM   #13
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I found I could also use six point sockets (metric and sae) on some of the whitworth stuff on my Sprite if they didn't need high torque. Otherwise it was crescent.
I have kids and the older ones now own cars so I find tools missing, in the wrong drawer, not back in the drawer etc. Guess that's just payback for all my old man's tools I lost or stole over the years!
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Old 01-11-12, 04:41 AM   #14
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Hi Rootboy. I admire your attention to detail regarding your fender stays. If you decide to replace them all, try 1/8" gas welding rod in aluminum. You can thread it (10/32? 8/32? Don't remember) & find stainless acorn nuts easily. The rods are strong and stiff enough.
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Old 01-11-12, 06:12 AM   #15
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I have an unusual bike spefic tool or two but the only 'general' tool I can think of that might be considered odd is the 3.5 Allen I need for my Deltas. I am sure if I dug through my tools I may find something else though.



That Corse Record dust cap tool is pretty odd
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Old 01-11-12, 03:16 PM   #16
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I just found that HarborFreight has a combined SAE/Metric hex wrench set which contains a 7mm.
http://www.harborfreight.com/25-piec...-set-5962.html
They are currently running a sale (or maybe it is a perpetual sale; I wouldn't know because I don't go there very often), so the entire set costs about $4 on their website. It's only slightly steep for a good tool. I have no idea how good it is, but for a number of other sizes I'd be sunk if I ever lost one of mine, especially the tiny ones. So having some spares of all the rest helps justify the price for me.

Which is to say I now have a new set in my car. FWIW, the website description is slightly wrong. The nominal manufacturer is Pittsburgh, which is perhaps a brand name for HF, I dunno'. At least it has a wrench which claims to be 7mm!
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Old 01-11-12, 03:25 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
The guy who bought my Norton "Commando Combat" motorcycle after I got married got a full set of Whitworth sockets and open-end/box-end wrenches with the deal. An absolute necessity. I later saw him riding the bike after he did a full restoration on it. Very pretty. Made me glad I sold it to him.
A 750cc Combat with the single seat? Loved mine back in 1973!
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Old 01-11-12, 03:36 PM   #18
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Being the eldest surviving male in my father's family line, I have inherited my father's and grandfather's tools, plus those of various deceased uncles and have also spent a lifetime accumulating my own tool inventory, in the family tradition. Thus I am fortunate to have not only Metric and AF spanners, but also BSF, Whitworth and many other obsolete sizes. My grandfather, who was a postman on a bicycle for much of his working life, left me a wooden box containing spanners branded BSA, Rudge, Brooks and Raleigh - none of which seem to fit modern bikes! My real regret is that my own collection of 1970's Campagnolo tools was stolen in a burglary some years ago and the insurance wouldn't cover like for like replacement. Hope my sons appreciate what they are getting when my time comes!
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Old 01-11-12, 03:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
Being the eldest surviving male in my father's family line, I have inherited my father's and grandfather's tools, plus those of various deceased uncles and have also spent a lifetime accumulating my own tool inventory, in the family tradition. Thus I am fortunate to have not only Metric and AF spanners, but also BSF, Whitworth and many other obsolete sizes. My grandfather, who was a postman on a bicycle for much of his working life, left me a wooden box containing spanners branded BSA, Rudge, Brooks and Raleigh - none of which seem to fit modern bikes! My real regret is that my own collection of 1970's Campagnolo tools was stolen in a burglary some years ago and the insurance wouldn't cover like for like replacement. Hope my sons appreciate what they are getting when my time comes!
I would like to see the spanners if you can photograph them!
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Old 01-11-12, 04:06 PM   #20
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Corse Record dust cap tool?
Oh that puller thing , 1st I saw a Malliard Helicomatic hub lock ring tool, bottom right.

otoh, the campag pedal service tool [#710] for those dust caps.
it has a 10mm wrench on the other end , for the lock nut on the bearing cone.

but, That, does have a bottle opener, on the other end, to open the good stuff

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Old 01-11-12, 04:09 PM   #21
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I would like to see the spanners if you can photograph them!
I'll try to oblige in a few days - because they aren't used very often they are "safely buried" at the back of my garage!
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Old 01-11-12, 07:21 PM   #22
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Not bike related, but this past fall my neighbor gave me an old snow blower that needed repairs. In the process of repairing it, it seemed that some of the wrenches and sockets didn't fit quite right. DERP! It wasn't metric, all standard sized nuts and bolts.....you can imagine how old this thing is. I went and dusted off my standard tool set that I haven't used in 20 years. Yes, I got the old beast working.
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