Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

What is the oldest tool that you use frequently?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

What is the oldest tool that you use frequently?

Old 02-06-21, 02:31 PM
  #1  
aggiegrads
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sherwood, OR
Posts: 1,211
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Liked 242 Times in 144 Posts
What is the oldest tool that you use frequently?

What is your oldest tool that you use frequently? Bonus points for a cool backstory.

The oldest tool on my main workbench is my vise. It is a Craftsman branded model 5184 which is a rebranded Reed 203R. The date stamp tells me that it was manufactured in June of 1944. A worker in Erie, PA set that date stamp a few days before or a few days after Allied forces stormed Normandy.

Unfortunately, I donít know the history of this vise, but is has help up extremely well. There are some signs of hammering, sawing or grinding on the tops of the jaws, but the slide is in near perfect condition. It still has most of the original blue paint, with some platters of paint dripped off of some project long ago.



My oldest bike specific tool is my Park 3 sided SW2 spoke wrench. I am the original owner. If I had to estimate, I purchased it around 1985 to care for my abused BMX wheels. No great stories; I wished I used it more, but most of my current wheel sets use the smaller SW0 key.



So what is your oldest tool?
aggiegrads is offline  
Likes For aggiegrads:
Old 02-06-21, 03:08 PM
  #2  
Bill Kapaun
Really Old Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 12,527

Bikes: 87 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1302 Post(s)
Liked 499 Times in 384 Posts
I purchased most of my common wrenches/sockets 50+ years ago.
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Likes For Bill Kapaun:
Old 02-06-21, 03:26 PM
  #3  
dsbrantjr
Senior Member
 
dsbrantjr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Roswell, GA
Posts: 7,967

Bikes: '93 Trek 750, '92 Schwinn Crisscross, '93 Mongoose Alta

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1303 Post(s)
Liked 769 Times in 538 Posts
My Craftsman 1/4" and 3/8" socket sets, ratchets. combination wrench set and screwdrivers purchased in 1970 when I got my driver license and bought a car I had to service.
dsbrantjr is offline  
Old 02-06-21, 03:29 PM
  #4  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 1,344

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 555 Post(s)
Liked 652 Times in 371 Posts
Campy crank puller that's probably 30+ years old. Campy peanut butter wrench that's about 20 years old.
cxwrench is offline  
Old 02-06-21, 03:56 PM
  #5  
shelbyfv
Banned.
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 8,083
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2151 Post(s)
Liked 1,973 Times in 1,066 Posts
This small screwdriver belonged to my grandfather. I guess he could have acquired it from around 1900 to the early 1950s. I don't know what he might have used it for but I use it for derailleur limit screws. Probably some way to date it but I don't have a clue.
shelbyfv is offline  
Likes For shelbyfv:
Old 02-06-21, 05:03 PM
  #6  
surveyor6
Senior Member
 
surveyor6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Houston area
Posts: 100

Bikes: 1961 Higgins Flightliner

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 21 Posts
A big adjustable crescent wrench that I use on threaded headsets.
surveyor6 is offline  
Old 02-06-21, 05:10 PM
  #7  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 18,123

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 155 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4966 Post(s)
Liked 1,453 Times in 964 Posts
Dad bought me a 10 speed Nishiki to go to high school in the mid 70s. I rode that bike everywhere. I bought myself a set of bike tools and a bike book, Richard's Bike Book. I didn't know much about tools but I'd read that you wanted wrenches that were at least "drop forged." The Hozan wrenches that came with the set of bike tools I bought are drop forged. I've bought "better" tools since then but these just fit my hands better. I took that bike apart to overhaul it. It took me one day to pull it apart. It took me a week or two to figure out how to put it back together again. The Nishiki is long gone but I picked up a Sekine SHS 271 that reminds me of the Nishiki with its turkey levers and "rat" trap pedals; it's a classic 70s bike. The Sekine SHS 271 with its chrome moly tubing, forged drop outs, and alloy wheels is nicer than my old Nishiki but I'm not getting rid of those turkey levers because they remind me of my old bike,



Last edited by bikemig; 02-06-21 at 05:16 PM.
bikemig is offline  
Likes For bikemig:
Old 02-06-21, 07:35 PM
  #8  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 22,333

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2493 Post(s)
Liked 1,028 Times in 666 Posts
The Gian Robert chain pliers is probably the oldest one in regular use here. Or maybe the VAR 3rd hand.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
gianrobert.jpg (13.7 KB, 194 views)
File Type: jpg
var-02.jpg (29.7 KB, 196 views)
JohnDThompson is offline  
Likes For JohnDThompson:
Old 02-06-21, 07:59 PM
  #9  
elcraft
elcraft
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Greater Boston
Posts: 707
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 30 Posts
Had my tools stolen on a two occasions. None of my tools are older than a 70’svintage Raleigh/ Rampar tool kit with Hozan double ended wrenches like Bikemig’s. Came with a cheap third hand/ brake shoe compressing spring, too.
elcraft is offline  
Likes For elcraft:
Old 02-06-21, 08:08 PM
  #10  
rccardr 
aka: Dr. Cannondale
 
rccardr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 6,334

Bikes: Lots. Just...lots.

Mentioned: 176 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1473 Post(s)
Liked 716 Times in 361 Posts
Set of teeny ignition wrenches purchased to work on my Kawasaki S2; bought a dial indicator at the same time for the same purpose but don’t use it as much as the 8 and 10mm ignition wrenches.
Have a bunch of tools inherited from my father, most of the are of unknown provenance. Nice to think of him each time one of them is used.
__________________
Hard at work in the Secret Underground Laboratory...
rccardr is offline  
Likes For rccardr:
Old 02-06-21, 08:59 PM
  #11  
HillRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 32,722

Bikes: '96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '20 Surly Midnight Special, All are 3x10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1610 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 452 Times in 349 Posts
I didn't start riding seriously until 1985 so many of my tool far predate that. Most of my common household and automobile tool were purchased in the late 1960's when we moved into our house and many, like metric wrenches, sockets, etc., have since been used for bike building, repairs and overhauls.
HillRider is offline  
Old 02-06-21, 10:10 PM
  #12  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,383

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2786 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1,279 Times in 873 Posts
I just inherited a drill press vise that was my dad's. No idea on its age. It is now bolted to my press table. Wow. does it make drilling accurately easy! Even with old eyes. And I can take my glasses off to line the work up, then put them on to protect my eyes and nothing wanders while I cannot see so well! Love it. Frequently used? Well only about a dozen times so far, but probably 3/4s of my drillings the rest of my life.

The Stanley 9 1/2 block plane my dad gave me 50(?) years ago. (Fun tidbit: My dad gave my brother the same plane, only a Craftsman a couple of years later. He went on to become a carpenter with that plane one of his workhorses. We sat down one night and took our planes apart and compared. About 2/3rds of the parts, including the blade were tooled on the same machine with identical scratches.

Bike tools? I have some VAR tools from the '70s. A SunTour FW vise that gets used anytime I change FW cogs. A wire brake 3rd hand I've had forever. Park spoke wrenches? I occasionally misplace them and buy new. Their ages? Who knows? I built my first wheel with them around 1973. (I haven't used my red and green ones a long time so they might be my originals.) Adjust my headsets with a 12" non Crescent crescent wrench I've had since the '70s.

And recently acquired - also from my dad though he obtained it through family. Not super old but not recent by any measure. A grindstone. A classic grindstone; maybe 2 1/2" wide by 2' diameter mounted on old bearings bolted to a sawhorse-like mount. (The bearings look really old but also look and feel like very good ones.) Stone moves through a water tray. Driven with a foot pedal. Just set it up but I used it in its previous location when I had to lug my knives across country.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 02-06-21, 10:17 PM
  #13  
Russ Roth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Shore of Long Island
Posts: 1,475

Bikes: 2010 Carrera Volans, 2015 C-Dale Trail 2sl, 2017 Raleigh Rush Hour, 2017 Blue Proseccio, 1992 Giant Perigee, 80s Gitane Rallye Tandem

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 395 Times in 303 Posts
I've got a host of old tools I use regularly.
I've got 2 EC Stearns 30" bar clamps from 1883, I really like them and have tried to find more but they're a rarer version. They were a gift from a family friend who passed away the day before thanksgiving at the age of 91. He got them from his father in law.

Couple of hand planes, including a Stanley 220 block plane from 1880s that was gone over by someone who is a master gun etcher. Beautiful work, stays sharp enough to always get that slight swipe to perfect a fit.

Another hand plane is a rarer type stanley skew block plane with a removable side to double as a rabbit plane. Got this from my mother's father and belonged to my great grandfather who was a woodworker in the Brooklyn Navel Yard back in the 20s.

Have a fairly common Stanley 5 from the other side also belonged to a great grandfather.

Course all of them are kept sharp and in ready to work shape. Haven't been in the shop to work in about a year but I'm nearing the end of my thesis and I'll be starting to teach some homeschool kids how to do wood working in the spring.
Russ Roth is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 12:34 AM
  #14  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 8,010

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2133 Post(s)
Liked 1,058 Times in 742 Posts
I do have some old tools, like a hand drill but sadly nothing really that heavily used by me. I guess my Kingsbridge and Sugino Cone Wrenches would be the oldest in use and I do have an old Dura Ace Headset Wrench but I have used it once I think and that was before I got it at the shop from one of our ex-mechanics. Nothing against old tools I just hadn't started collecting them seriously till more recently.

There are some vintage tools I want to own just to own, like a English/BSA Campy Tool Kit, Dura Ace TL-RD10 (I would rather have the Abbey HAG for the actual job) and a Phil Wood Spoke Cutter (I may at some point try to buy the one at our other shop and get it repaired it is a lower serial number)
veganbikes is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 06:58 AM
  #15  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,463

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1534 Post(s)
Liked 1,041 Times in 714 Posts
My hands.
dedhed is offline  
Likes For dedhed:
Old 02-07-21, 07:07 AM
  #16  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 18,123

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 155 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4966 Post(s)
Liked 1,453 Times in 964 Posts
Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
Had my tools stolen on a two occasions. None of my tools are older than a 70’svintage Raleigh/ Rampar tool kit with Hozan double ended wrenches like Bikemig’s. Came with a cheap third hand/ brake shoe compressing spring, too.
Yep I bought the exact same Raleigh/Rampar tool kit from a local shop that sold Raleighs. I so liked the Reynolds 531 Raleighs that were sold there especially the Grand Sports with the blue and white color scheme. Not that I could afford those in high school,
bikemig is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 08:32 AM
  #17  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 2,030

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 410 Post(s)
Liked 146 Times in 113 Posts
Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
Had my tools stolen on a two occasions....
That's one of my biggest worries, getting any of my tool boxes stolen. Take my car, bike, anything in my house, but please leave my tools. They're not intrinsically very valuable, but they're irreplaceable and full of memories. Some of them have been handed down two generations, from the 1800s, like the block planes. Even the "modern" tools from the 1960s on that my dad bought for me as I became a teenager can't be replaced.

One of the power tools Dad gave me is one of the first variable speed reversible hand drills Black and Decker made, with a grounded metal case. I've tried to kill that drill on several jobs, but it keeps working. I check the brushes when I replace the power cord, and they're still good.

I was heartbroken when I had to replace the Channellock pliers he gave me. They were just too dull to use. I've replaced the jaws and springs on his old Ridgid pipe wrenches--those are good tools.

In the bike box, I think I still have my first spoke wrench and cone wrenches, from the 70s. Some metal tire irons from way back. I was the first and only family member to work on bikes, so no hand-me-downs there.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 08:35 AM
  #18  
aggiegrads
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sherwood, OR
Posts: 1,211
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Liked 242 Times in 144 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
There are some vintage tools I want to own just to own, like a English/BSA Campy Tool Kit, Dura Ace TL-RD10 (I would rather have the Abbey HAG for the actual job) and a Phil Wood Spoke Cutter (I may at some point try to buy the one at our other shop and get it repaired it is a lower serial number)
It looks like Park is finally coming out with an update to the DAG 2.2 which appears to address the usability issues. Keep an eye out for the DAG-3. The pivot loos the same, but the measuring pin looks more like the one one the EVT Ultra-true arc. It was a blurry photo, but it looks like a major improvement.
aggiegrads is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 10:38 AM
  #19  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 8,889

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2276 Post(s)
Liked 597 Times in 356 Posts
Some of my common tools that I used are over 60 years old.
rydabent is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 12:23 PM
  #20  
WizardOfBoz
Generally bewildered
 
WizardOfBoz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Eastern PA, USA
Posts: 2,829

Bikes: 2014 Trek Domane 6.9, 1999 LeMond Zurich, 1978 Schwinn Superior

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1054 Post(s)
Liked 253 Times in 190 Posts
Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
My hands.
Yeah, I was gonna say "I can't tell you but I know its mine".

On a more serious note I have a bunch of tools from my Dad's mfg shop. A set of Starrett punches from the 50s or 60s. A full set of Armstrong combination wrenches, probably from the same era. I still have some tools like cheapie (stamped steel) cone wrenhes and a crank puller from the 70s.
WizardOfBoz is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 01:01 PM
  #21  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,383

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2786 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1,279 Times in 873 Posts
I just remembered a tool I use all the time. A French kitchen knife I inherited from my mom's aunt right after college. (I "wear" her name as my middle.) It was an old working kitchen knife then. From the moment I moved to my first apartment it became my day in and day out knife for almost everything. 10 years later my brother made me a knife that slowly took over most tasks, partly because the old knife was developing a hollow and no longed working on my cutting boards (which had their respective hollows). A re-shaping on an old grindstone brought it back to preferred status.

Wikipedia says the name on the blade dates back to the early to mid 1800s, been used continuously and by many knife manufacturers running from the very best to very mediocre. I could not find anything that identifies this knife. A list of 30 current and unique names was formalized in 1979 but I acquired this in 1975 and it was decades old then. How many? 3? 5? 7? I have no idea.

I love the knife, I have to be careful with it. The blade is very thin. It is easy to bend. Was not fully straight when I got it. Sharpens quickly to shave edge. Veggie greens part before contact! (Well ...) Fresh bread! Old, hard crust breads get my other knife. I stab hard crust fresh breads with the other knife then finish with this. Again, bending that old blade is easy.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 01:11 PM
  #22  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,383

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2786 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1,279 Times in 873 Posts
Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
...

One of the power tools Dad gave me is one of the first variable speed reversible hand drills Black and Decker made, with a grounded metal case. I've tried to kill that drill on several jobs, but it keeps working. I check the brushes when I replace the power cord, and they're still good.

...
Early '80 when I was building boats, my boss gave me his well worn similar Milwaukee. It's since been my workhorse until I purchased an 18V cordless. Still gets used for bigger jobs and when several drill bits are needed. When this pandemic thing passes. its going to out local tool repair for a new cord. (They enjoy working on good stuff that gets used.)
79pmooney is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 02:06 PM
  #23  
aggiegrads
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sherwood, OR
Posts: 1,211
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Liked 242 Times in 144 Posts
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Early '80 when I was building boats, my boss gave me his well worn similar Milwaukee. It's since been my workhorse until I purchased an 18V cordless. Still gets used for bigger jobs and when several drill bits are needed. When this pandemic thing passes. its going to out local tool repair for a new cord. (They enjoy working on good stuff that gets used.)
Ben, the knife and drill sound awesome. I have a Milwaukee drill that I got about 25 years ago and although it has a plastic handle, the working guts are all metal and the gear case is polished. I would love to have one of the old all-metal Milwaukee drills.

There are knife forums that are just as active as this one, you might be able to get more info there, even for a chefís knife.
aggiegrads is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 03:08 PM
  #24  
Charliekeet
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 568

Bikes: S-Works Stumpjumper HT Disc, Fuji Absolute, '85 Cannondale SR900, Marin Hawk Hill SE, Giant OCR1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Liked 133 Times in 86 Posts
Some Bonney sockets/wrenches, and Nicholson files (not that I actually know what Iím doing with those, lol).
Charliekeet is offline  
Old 02-07-21, 03:46 PM
  #25  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,463

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1534 Post(s)
Liked 1,041 Times in 714 Posts
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Early '80 when I was building boats, my boss gave me his well worn similar Milwaukee. It's since been my workhorse until I purchased an 18V cordless. Still gets used for bigger jobs and when several drill bits are needed. When this pandemic thing passes. its going to out local tool repair for a new cord. (They enjoy working on good stuff that gets used.)
I have my Dad's ancient 1/2" Dunlap electric drill. Total torque machine. That thing will break your wrist if the bit catches and you're not holding it tight.
Also have his complete collection of various size Yankee screwdrivers, the original cordless screwdriver.
dedhed is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.