Need a specialised tool? Then why not make it yourself?
Scoop shows how to make specialists tools.
Any bike shop worthy of the name that runs a workshop will have specialist tools that its staff use when they work on a bike. Many will be on a board from the manufacturer designed to carry out specific jobs. These may or may not necessarily be strictly required; after all how many permutations of steering head bearing insertion tools can there actually be? By default there are a very finite number of sizes. Other specialist tools are likely to be viable for any motorcycle; chain riveter, bearing puller, spring hook etc. We, the home fettlers, normally get by or borrow the tools we only need occasionally. However, there are some tasks where you simply cannot wing it and none of your mates has the appropriate tool. In which case you’re either going to be surfing the web looking for a device no one has sold for several decades or you’ll be making the tool yourself. Some are fortunate to have access to a lathe or welding gear but if not most know someone who has one or both. Their time and equipment allied to your need and ingenuity can often deliver surprisingly good specialist tools that are just occasionally needed for very specific tasks. What follows is an overview of odd and sods I’ve fabricated, sometimes with help from mates with lathes. They’re not the best looking of tools but they are more than up to doing the specific tasks they were made for.
I can now commission the new paintwork knowing I won’t gouge or grind away the fresh candy green when it all goes back together again. From finding the old box spanner to removing the oil level window retaining nut has taken around three hours and that includes shooting the pictures. Without the camera getting in the way this is really only a two hour job and, in my mind at least, it’s time well spent. I have a purpose-made tool I can use on absolutely any Yamaha two-stroke prior to 1972 and in my slightly sad world that’s a fair proportion of the bikes that come through my workshop. Specialist tools don’t need to cost the earth if you can make them and they don’t need to look flashy either. Functional and effective wins the day every time for me.
11/ Effective if brutal treatment of a socket: the front shoulder has been chamfered sufficiently to enable the removal of a Yamaha XS650 drain plug without snagging on surrounding castings. It ought to be weakened yet it does the job.
13Some more precise cutting evens up the lands between the driving lugs ready for the next stage. 12/ Using a ferrous specific grind stone the inner faces of the box spanner are ground away in stages to produce a chamfer that will allow the tool to fit over the bevelled edge of the oil level window nut. Note the vacuum cleaner nozzle left; this is a messy job even if it’s only small. 13/ Using a less abrasive stone all the burrs and sharp edges are smoothed off. The same stone is also used to make the final tweaks to driving lugs ensuring the best fit possible.
109/ Now it’s time to enhance the scribed line with a few precise passes of the cutting disc. Care needs to be taken not to weaken what will be the driving lugs. 10/ Three cutting discs later and a controlled session of pliers-sponsored butchery sees the basic shape of the tool very approximately roughed out.
1514/ After some more fettling the tool fits; it may not be perfect but it should do the job. Crucially the driving lugs are short enough not to touch the paintwork below the retaining nut. 15/ Proof of concept delivered, the nut has come off without issue and the paint’s not been damaged… what a result!