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What unlikely tools or products do you keep in your bike repair/restoration toolbox?

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What unlikely tools or products do you keep in your bike repair/restoration toolbox?

Old 02-05-21, 04:07 PM
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southpawboston
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What unlikely tools or products do you keep in your bike repair/restoration toolbox?

We all use things off-label when we discover they work really well for an unintended use. What do you all keep in your bike repair toolkit that wasn't intended for the way you use it?

I'll give an example:

Nail polish - I keep clear UV-resistant nail polish base coat as an all-purpose sealant for protecting decals and for coating rusty hardware after oxalic acid treatment and cleanup. It does a great job at preventing rust from re-forming on flaking chromed parts.
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Old 02-05-21, 04:15 PM
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I don't know if it is unusual, but I have several X-Acto knives throughout the house and work. Downstairs toolbox. Garage toolbox. Work-at-home desk. Pen cup next to this computer. Desk at work. Several in the toolbox at the lab at work.

Cutting, cleaning, positions things. Can't imagine doing a job without them.
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Old 02-05-21, 04:34 PM
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I asked my dentist and she said "Sure" and shoved a box full of old picks at me - lifetime supply. They're awesome for cleaning crevices like fine threads and bearing-seat corners and stamped/engraved details, and you can grind their tips for special purposes.

Often used with loupes - get one if you don't have one, they're great for checking bearing races and looking for cracks. A cheapie will do fine.

Supermagnet - stick it on the screwdriver shank somewhere near the tip; reduces swearing.

Last edited by oneclick; 02-05-21 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 02-05-21, 04:52 PM
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Something I learned here: feeler gauges to use as metal shims. Cheap and effective.
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Old 02-05-21, 04:59 PM
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I am a tool grinder by trade so I always have my “Optivisor” handy. I also use dental picks and very small bottle brushes.
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Old 02-05-21, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Something I learned here: feeler gauges to use as metal shims. Cheap and effective.
Ha, that's a great idea for when you need to dial in just the right thickness. I keep a few small aluminum and brass sheet stocks of different thicknesses as shims, I get them at Blick Art Supply, but it's not always possible to dial in the right thickness!

Last edited by southpawboston; 02-05-21 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 02-05-21, 05:58 PM
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q-tips and old toothbrushes. i keep a lot of them around my workspace at all times.

Last edited by hazetguy; 02-05-21 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 02-05-21, 06:28 PM
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Rubber nipples in assorted sizes. You just never know.
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Old 02-05-21, 07:08 PM
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Because every fixed cup always comes out, period.




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Old 02-05-21, 07:40 PM
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Dental picks! Also I have an older couple of thin walled sockets in 14mm, 15mm that can remove old crank bolts. Most sockets these days are too thick for it.
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Old 02-05-21, 07:56 PM
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Old 02-05-21, 11:48 PM
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I keep a bearing cup, a large fender washer (or 2), an crank bolt, or crank nut (depending on the spindle) on hand. They all hold the fixed cup wrench in place and is a bit more refined than merziac’s method. I also remove the fixed cup first with this tool. I found that works better than doing the adjustable cup first.







Other items I use: A syringe and basting needle for injecting water under grips to slide them off. I also have a spoke with a sharpened tip as a pokey tool. As we say at my co-op, it’s for “poking stuff”. I also have empty Gatorade bottles that I use to clean chains. I put in mineral spirits, the chain, agitate for 30 seconds or so, and then fish out the chain. The chain comes out clean as a whistle.
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Old 02-06-21, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I keep a bearing cup, a large fender washer (or 2), an crank bolt, or crank nut (depending on the spindle) on hand. They all hold the fixed cup wrench in place and is a bit more refined than merziacís method. I also remove the fixed cup first with this tool. I found that works better than doing the adjustable cup first.
The most portable version is a short fat bolt & nut and two washers; small enough to put in the long-and-far-away touring toolkit.


Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Other items I use: A syringe and basting needle for injecting water under grips to slide them off.
WD40 aerosol works a treat; the trick is slide the little red tube in by itself, then attach and squirt.
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Old 02-06-21, 07:12 AM
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A ball of butchers twine I stole from the kitchen and never returned (my wife is vegetarian, so I don't get to use it that often anyway!), I prefer it zip ties for lashing things together temporarily.

I've also have a basting needle from the kitchen (again, vegetarian wife) which I've used as pick/small drift pin.
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Old 02-06-21, 07:31 AM
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Old toothbrushes.
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Old 02-06-21, 08:18 AM
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Lineman’s pliers and pipe cutter, and instead of dental picks I use these cheap sculpting tools I upgraded from many years ago.
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Old 02-06-21, 09:07 AM
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I use this syringe with luer-lock fitting from a lab HPLC for adding oil to a Sturmey Archer IGH.

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Old 02-06-21, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
The most portable version is a short fat bolt & nut and two washers; small enough to put in the long-and-far-away touring toolkit.
Taking a fixed cup off while on tour is way down on the list of things I need to carry the tools for. Iíve done close to 20,000 miles of loaded touring and never had to do any kind of maintenance on a bottom bracket. For the shop, I think you are talking about the Sheldon Brown method but Iíve never found that work all that well. This method works much better.

WD40 aerosol works a treat; the trick is slide the little red tube in by itself, then attach and squirt.
Nope. I reuse my grips and Iím not going to use an oil on them. Iíd rather have my grips not be lubricated so that they just spin on the bars.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by acm View Post
A ball of butchers twine I stole from the kitchen and never returned (my wife is vegetarian, so I don't get to use it that often anyway!), I prefer it zip ties for lashing things together temporarily.

I've also have a basting needle from the kitchen (again, vegetarian wife) which I've used as pick/small drift pin.
Twine also works well as dental floss for cleaning between the sprockets on freewheels.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:10 AM
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A couple of nickels for adjusting brake calipers/pads.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:31 AM
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An awl, a larger version of the spoke "pokey tool" for rounding crushed ends of cable housing. Bits of left over inner cable to insert into housing when I cut it so I don't need to use the awl.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by dweenk View Post
An awl, a larger version of the spoke "pokey tool" for rounding crushed ends of cable housing. Bits of left over inner cable to insert into housing when I cut it so I don't need to use the awl.
Yeah, a simple scratch awl is an oft-used tool in my shop. In a pinch it can also deburr drilled holes. I used to use it for cable ends too, until bought a Pedro's housing cutter with built in awl for that purpose.
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Old 02-06-21, 01:57 PM
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Box of old business cards for toeing-in brake shoes.
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Old 02-06-21, 02:58 PM
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OK well I have an air compressor that is very handy. Like removing grips or putting them on. Just stick the nozzle under the rubber and the grip floats off.
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Old 02-06-21, 03:39 PM
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Would 3.5mm hex for Campi Delta brake maintenance count as unlikely?

Or those tiny hex sizes for some vintage tt cable guide bolts.


My father's vintage screw clamp (with rag covering metal surfaces) makes a great '3rd Hand' brake holding/repairing tool. One clamp fits all brake sizes.
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