There are a huge number of tools stored away in the drawers and cupboards of our workshop, not to mention the many hanging from the giant tool board spanning the wall above our benches, but if you’ve ever worked on your own bike or even in any job where you use hand tools, you’ll likely have a favourite one (or two, or three…). For this week’s Workshop Wednesday, I’ve put this question to Grant and had a look through my own tool collection for those tools that make life as a professional bike mechanic just a bit easier.
Within his tool tray, Grant likes to keep his tools organised in a Wera tool caddy. The little caddy also makes it easier when attending a demo day away from the shop.
Grant, “I like to keep the tools I use most often the closest to hand. It saves me time when we’re really busy as I know exactly where all my tools are. But as for which is my favourite, I’d have to say there are four in particular that I really like alongside the essentials; my cut down Stanley Fatmax 4mm slotted screwdriver is simply the best screwdriver I’ve come across in 10 years wrenching on bikes for adjusting derailleur limit screws, long nose pliers are another essential for me as they’re great for pulling gear cable taut and getting the split pins out certain Shimano brakes, a 2-14Nm torque wrench & bits lets me know I’m not overtightening components and potentially damaging the fasteners, finally my hypodermic needle filled with chain lube. The last was my solution to always over doing it with the wet lube bottle when lubing mech pivots after cleaning them in the parts washer. It lets me get right into the pivots within the mechs and apply just enough lube right where it’s needed.”
No neat tool caddy in my tool tray, but everything has a place and everything is in its place.
My ‘must have’ tools would need to be; both a pre-set 4Nm and 2-14Nm torque wrench and bits, Park Tool Hex Y-wrenches, a sharpened spoke, nail clippers and my JIS screwdrivers. The 4Nm torque wrench is great for seat post collars, stem face plates and control clamps while the 2-14Nm wrench covers just about everything else! With these two Park Tool wrenches I can fit/remove about 90% of the components on any bike. The lack of ball end on the 2mm makes it ideal for adjusting the support bolts on the newer Shimano front mechs. A sharp spoke is ideal for reopening shift and brake outer after cutting to size. Nail clippers are great for cutting cable ties cleanly (one thing I really hate are cable ties not cut cleanly, it looks neater and doesn’t take any longer to do it right). Lastly, I got these two JIS screwdrivers (Japanese Imperial Standard) as the crosshead screws on Shimano components are slightly different to our standard Philips screw heads and these drivers fit them perfectly with no wobbling – great for getting seized limit screws undone and potentially saving a mech from the bin.
So there you have it. A quick look at what we always have in our tool trays.
Have you got a favourite tool, or maybe you’ve found a use for something not specifically designed for working on bikes? Why not share them on the comments over on Facebook or Twitter?
Ryan Flaherty – Workshop Mechanic – Stirling Cycles