Friday, November 3, 2023

Odds and ends aid Royal Enfield repair

Jars hanging from bottom of cabinet.
"Junk" fasteners can be just the thing to fix a Royal Enfield. 

 Years ago I encountered, on a Royal Enfield motorcycle forum, one man's claim that he prided himself on always being able to fix his motorcycle on the roadside, using the bits of wire and odd nuts and bolts he could find in the gutter. 

Since then, I've actually done it myself. Sort of. For me it's more a matter of using things I've collected from the gutter over the years instead of having to go to the hardware store to buy new fasteners. 

Some of my "repairs" with roadside finds remain on my Royal Enfield to this day. 

I'm not a mechanic so, for me, these scrap-metal bodges are more than just the good luck of having found exactly what I needed, for free, on the road. 

The objects I have at hand have actually tend to suggest the sort of repair I will attempt. 

"I'm stuck," I think to myself. "Here's a rusty nut. What can I do with it?"

My scavenging for bits started before I even owned a Royal Enfield.

My dad always kept an old wooden tray sectioned into compartments for different parts, on his workbench. Any random nut, bolt or washer got tossed in the tray.

(The tray looked ancient; I would not have been surprised to learn that he had gotten it from his father. I wish I had asked.)

In need of a fastener, he'd just finger through the appropriate compartment until he found something that fit. My brother and I soon learned to do this in keeping our bicycles working.

Once on my own, I didn't have a tray like that, or even a workbench. But I soon had a motive for picking up screws I found on the street.

I live in Florida, where home construction and remodeling is a way of life. Workers and their trucks seem to shed hardware like rain. Too often, it was the tires of my cars that "found" the sharp bits.

So, as my wife and I take our morning walks, I routinely "rescue" debris, in self-defense.

"That's a flat tire," I'll say, every time I palm a menacing screw or bolt.

When enough of these built up in the garage, I began sorting them so I could make use of what I found. See-through plastic peanut jars were the ideal containers in which to categorize the hardware. (I like peanuts, so I accumulate a lot of these jars.)

Years ago some home remodeler too busy or too cheap to go to the dump tossed an entire kitchen's worth of old metal cabinets on my lawn.

My reaction: Hooray. Just what I needed for the garage, and free delivery too!

With a metal cabinet on the wall over the former kitchen countertop (now my workbench) it seemed natural to bolt the plastic peanut jars to it, by drilling matching holes in the bottom of the cabinet and the plastic tops of the jars.

I just have to unscrew a jar to access its contents.

Aren't I a clever boy? I think so.

My dad wouldn't have seen anything special in it. Neither would his dad, very likely.

Somehow, that makes it special, for me. Just like they did, it's keeping, reusing and appreciating something that could have been thrown away.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11/04/2023

    For 58 years I did that at work. Anything being thrown away was stripped of reusable parts. When I retired 2 years ago I couldn’t part with my shop so I bought a shop and moved all that good stuff into it. 2 years later I’m still walking over boxes of stuff. I’m sure I have one if i could just find it. I told my wife when I’m gone to put a free to u sign on the drive and the ants will come to take it.


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