Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - On The Bench - Alan See­ley

What you want

and what you get in life aren’t nec­es­sar­ily the same things. What you ac­tu­ally need is far eas­ier to de­fine. Most times any­way.

So it is with those big work­shop pur­chases. Con­straints of space, if not bud­get, might rule out cer­tain things. The use­ful­ness of that 100-litre com­pres­sor will soon be called into ques­tion if all you ever do in be­tween us­ing it is climb over it to get to stuff in your workspace.

Me and MG were hav­ing this de­bate in the work­shop the other day. We’ve both wasted money on equip­ment we never use. You can live with that it if it was a small pur­chase – in both price and phys­i­cal size – but big items will for­ever haunt you like big painted metal ele­phants in the room.

On the other hand, there are cer­tain things that soon be­come in­dis­pens­able. I’ve had a hy­draulic bench for only a few months but now wouldn’t be with­out it. Yes, it’s big. Yes it was ex­pen­sive, even used. But if your work area is big enough to take a bike it’s big enough to ac­com­mo­date a bench, as even when the bench isn’t in use, a bike can sit on top of it. There are even slim­line ones avail­able to nick back a lit­tle work­shop width.

My lathe was harder to jus­tify. When of­fered a beau­ti­ful old My­ford ML7 with loads of tool­ing at a keen price I found it hard to re­sist.

I couldn’t re­ally af­ford it, was un­sure why I even needed it, had to make space for it and was sev­eral decades away from when I’d last used a lathe in school met­al­work classes. So guilt-rid­den was I with my pur­chase, I smug­gled it into the work­shop un­der cover of dark­ness. But my first ten­ta­tive at­tempts on it soon yielded pass­able re­sults. My mates learned that I had a lathe and be­fore I knew it I was our un­of­fi­cial ma­chinest. Now, like the bench, the lathe is in­dis­pens­able. It’s earned its place and its space, hav­ing saved a small for­tune on ma­chin­ing jobs. It’s made me more of an en­gi­neer too.

Yes, he knows the belt guard should be fit­ted. It’s an old pic

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