Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hands Off, it's My Toolbox

I didn't want to do it, but necessity dictated that I have my own toolbox. For years, I've succumbed to the dreaded search for a hammer, a wrench, even a simple flat head screwdriver from the bowels of my husband's collection. But he has more tools than will fit easily inside a simple, organized container. Tools spill over onto the work bench, a cardboard box in the furnace room, the back of his Honda, hanging in the garage, etc. Some sprouted legs, it seems, and are at camp or his parent's house. I could't find a friggin' hammer! (Beware if you have this propensity with tools and live with a rabid spouse.)

Several years ago we were at the hardware store purchasing something when this beautiful red toolbox spoke to me (if tools can walk why can't plastic boxes at least whisper.) I bought it on the spot. With time and the initial grandpa legacy, any singular tools of his were—by nature of relationship—rightfully mine. A rubber mallet, ball-peen hammer, and a wooden-knobbed awl which had been my beloved grandfather's were immediately moved to the red box. I added duplicate items from the house to supplement my collection. I have a good assortment of flat bike-specific metric wrenches, especially the 15-17mm ones used to adjust axles. But I was missing 9-11mm sizes that are necessary for finicky cantilever brakes. My husband has these sizes in his bike box, but that requires that his bike is in residence and the tools actually in the Rubbermaid plastic tub. At Christmas my brother provided the last tools needed: a cute Stanley set of tiny, shiny wrenches. And yes, I do think some tools are endearing and even sexy...but I digress.

My kit is complete. I can make most minor household and bicycle repairs. There is a pencil for marking, an old toothbrush for cleaning god-knows-what, a tape measure (is the chain stretched?), Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches, Allen wrenches, a ratchet set, pliers, two hammers, and rubber mallet (to discipline the kids - just kidding!). I love my tools.

All this came in handy on Friday when I stood in the pedals, climbing a hill after dropping off number two son at his school. A vibrating, grinding noise emanated from the rear wheel. I stopped for a moment to access the problem. The axle had loosened in the dropouts. The Ross doesn't have quick release. I would simply tighten the nuts when I got home. No more frantic searching for the right implement. A quick and easy project. Done.

For the warmer months my toolbox rests near my bikes, right where I need it. Unfortunately it's also in view of our children who love to create, or in our youngest's case, modify Nerf guns. I've been known to chase down my children after they've borrowed something (they leave the lid open). I wag my finger. Where's my hammer? I dunno, maybe over there? Jeesh, sometimes the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. (Sorry love, I couldn't resist that one.)

Should you live nearby and want to borrow a tool? Don't even ask.


  1. "Should you live nearby and want to borrow a tool? Don't even ask."

    LOL,I'm the same way,as said in one of Lenard Zinn's awesome repair guide-books (and is a quote in there as well) "For we lay a tool here today,and tomorrow it's gone" or something really similar.

    My bike tool box loks amazingly like yours,but black with red lid,it stays next to the most ridden bikes inside,while the large "Mechanics Tool Set" (mostly sockets/ratchets" and larger general tool box house in the are good,and everyone needs their own. Good read this was :)

    The Disabled Cyclist

  2. You are taking all the fun out of tool hunting and even re-purchasing because you can't find the old one. Practical red toolbox? Bah. Give me my bedlam.

  3. Oh Dear! I think I may have something in common with your nearest and dearest. Don't get me wrong I've got a lovely toolbox. It's mainly empty and the tools are strewn about. I do manage to limit the mess to one area, but, even so, about 25 percent of all maintenance time is spent locating the bloomin' whatnot. :-)

  4. I hear you, I have my own toolbox that my beloved is not allowed to touch too, I find the act of working on my bike stressful enough without having to search high and low for tools first.


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