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Posts Tagged ‘Sears & Roebuck’

It must’ve been an old dude who said it — “Artifacts are the starting fluid of memory.

Eight feet from my gear closet, just across from the work bench, stands a Chinese rollaway tool chest, Craftsman vintage 1990. It replaced my dented-in and rusty red Craftsman box that I’d been toting around since visiting a Sears & Roebuck store back in the day, and outgrew.

Vintage 1980’s Craftsman Tool Box

The big, black beast was a minimalist purchase as my tools started ending up in various cardboard boxes.

I imagine your Chinese “steel box” holds a million memories. I know mine does!  An early photo of my son standing next to our Red ’65 Vette project, which is taped up in its permanently opened lid next to cross-cut saw blades clinging to rare-earth magnets. There is an assortment of bailing wire and zip-ties, nails and screws along with wire cutters, crescent wrenches, utility blades, socket sets, wrenches, Hex (Allen) wrenches, Torx bits, pliers, hammers and one-off speciality tools.

Motorcycle maintenance is a true art form and if you’re like me, working on motorcycles can be as much fun as riding them.  In addition, there are lots and I mean a lot of stickers from the vendors who awarded them during my many event wanderings which cover the paint scratches, along with a dinged-up motorcycle license plate from a distant state. Some days, I wonder whether that ‘ol work chest is mostly a repository for artifacts, but sliding open its ball-bearing drawers reveals row upon gleaming row of repair tools.

1990’s Craftsman Tool Chest

Some of those stickers on the “steel box” are memories. Like the Bananen Bar sticker from Amsterdam which was certainly a unique travel experience.  The tools are memories too. That whittled wooden stick—a fork-seal tool for an unlamented Yamaha YZ—is as likely to be used again in my row of sockets. My level—a nearly unusable, Victorian-age contraption that is nonetheless lovely to look at—sits alongside a Fluke 77 meter from my electronic days.

Although I’m the only guy on earth who knows where everything is in that rollaway, I couldn’t tell you on a bet. At this point it’s a matter of feel, like dead reckoning through a place you’ve been before but don’t entirely recall. My memory is fading just like my left ear hearing, but when I get close to my tool chest, I just rely on my sense of how I do things. Reach in and…oh. There it is.

No matter what area of your Harley needs working on––from the wheels to the clutch to the brakes to the drivetrain––it almost always requires a special tool.

Honestly, I never was a great wrench. I can hold my own with many items, but when I CAN do it, turns to I CAN’T, without some expensive zinc-coated factory wrench or proprietary type tool, I roll the old-girl toward a dealer stat, hoping to leave as few “Harley $$ Units” as possible. Did I tell you that Duct tape and a multi-tool is my best friend?!

Although order drives any repair process, for me it relies not some much on tech charts, but on rhythm and flow. With a wrench in one hand and a couple of sockets in my other, I just reach in…oh. There it is.

Photos taken by the author.

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