by Gus Breiland
As you have read over and over in my gear reviews, I am a cheap bastard. My tool box is a box, maybe a metal one, maybe plastic. Certainly not a chest with wheels filled with fancy named wrenches and sockets; Sears and Husky have done me just fine.
Expanding my tool box doesn’t always interest me either. My limited mechanical skills allow me to change oil, replace cables and do a brake job here or there. The bikes that I own sometimes have bigger needs, and I try to tackle them as I can, but special items like pullers, bike specific factory tools, etc rarely are found in my collection of sockets, screwdrivers and wrenches. Oh, and a really big hammer.
Being cheap, I tend to also be a minimalist. A larger tool chest is not always needed when expanding the usefulness of a limited tool selection. It can be as simple as some adapters that allow a greater mix and match of your existing collection. The 4-piece socket adapter kit from Sears has been excellent at expanding my tools usefulness. They come in a little vinyl bag for easy storage and recognition in my general space, and don’t need a special drawer due to their size or my obsessive compulsiveness desire to pile everything into one general-purpose box.
The adapters not only let me use different sockets with larger or smaller drivers, but they allow me to use 2 different sized extensions, eliminating the need to have 5 different lengths for each drive size. Again, minimal tools, maximum usage.
This past winter had me replacing an oil -less motor in my Tengai (apparently motors need oil?). As I was removing the old motor and putting the replacement motor in, access to some bolts and screws was limited, or at odd angles. I was in need of using a 1/4” driver, but I only had a 3/8” socket in this application. The adapter allowed the use of a smaller handled driver due to limited access. In another situation, access to the bolt was impeded by a frame tube. I was using my 3/8” driver and socket, but my extension was must a bit to thick. Using 2 adapters, I was able to use a 1/4” extension, skinnier back to a 3/8” socket and get the bolt out instead of cutting the tube frame out of the way and welding it back in once I was finished (kidding…I would have just wedged a hunk of wood in there instead of welding.)
The 4 piece set includes a 1/4 ”-3/8”, 3/8”-1/4”, 3/8”-1/2” and a 1/2”-3/8” adapter. Online (www.sears.com) or at the store you can find the set for $19.99 as Item # 00904235000. This set of adapters is quite possible the cheapest and easiest way to expand the usefulness of your tool box. It is also an excellent useful gift idea. Hand them out like candy; your friends will appreciate them.