Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Love old tools

On Sunday I went, as I often do, to our local car boot sale. As the name suggests, it's people selling their junk out of the boot/trunk or back of their car or van. Most of what's on offer is old clothes, kids' toys, and stuff that technology has left behind like VHS videos, old modems, big TVs, ancient games consoles, cheap furniture and tasteless nick-nacks you might get for Christmas - but there are also plenty of boxes of stuff taken out of sheds and garages to rummage through. When the sun is out, which luckily it has been here recently, it's a pleasurable way of spending an hour or two on the weekend.

I stopped at one stall, manned by an old boy on his own who must have been in his late 80s. He was holding up an umbrella to try and prevent himself cooking under the sun. Amongst his bits and pieces was a box with bits that "I won't be using any more." he told me. And I found this gem of a valve spring compressor - small, and with the perfect range for working on small motorcycle heads, which I seem to be doing often nowadays. I already have another, larger adjustable type, but it's a handful for smaller valves. "I made that when I was a teenager," he told me, "couldn't afford to buy tools after the war, so we had to make do. 50p to you, young man," he said (I love it when people say 'young man'..). "There's a pair of axle stands too you can have if you like. Strong and well-made. One pound the lot."

I happily paid him, and told him I'd need the compressor often. "Nice to see it'll be used." he said.

Once back in my workshop, I cleaned it up, and admired the precision and robustness with which it was made. The metallic green paint reminds me of industrial sized cast iron radiators we had in primary school painted in the same shade of hard-wearing council green.

I'll be using the compressor later this week. Old tools live again.


Kraut said...

Nice, I love old tools and flea markets. Just last weekend I put together an extensive tool kit for the macchi with vintage German and American tools for about $8. Problem is, I don't see young people buying or selling at any of these, I fear they may become extinct in the near future...

bigsunburst said...

My goodness, what a lovely little story. Beautifully told.

Next week I'm rescuing my grandfather's work-bench that he made himself. Its full of old wood-working tools and bits and pieces from the '30s. I haven't got room for it, and I don't need the tools, but I'm not letting it all go to the tip.

ITALIAN MOTOR magazine said...

Nice to see someone actually reads this stuff sometimes..