Another tool? Really?

And I bought new gloves too.
 
I think it is well chronicled on these pages that I have a weakness for tools.  I’ve written a number of posts about it, and taken more pictures than I should.  I also have to admit that I open the Canadian Tire and Home Hardware flyers first–well before the food.  Whenever I visit those stores, I always walk around the tool sections, hefting the wrenches and drills when opportunity allows.

So it should come as no surprise that bike ownership can also include some tools.

When I purchased the bike, I asked what tools I would need–this is probably the kind of words a salesman dreams of hearing.  However, they said I would need a pump, a multi tool and some tire levers.  The assured me the bike comes with a several tune-ups and there was much less maintenance than a mountain bike.

Being at the bike show, I couldn’t resist picking up this tool.  Will I need it?  Doubtless, there are ways to measure chain wear without this tool–but …..tools are cool.  I like tools. 
 
As you can see, it was a moment of weakness.  Fortunately for me, it isn’t a big ticket item, and it didn’t break the bank.  It was cheaper than I have seen it at bike shops and even online shops.  It isn’t like I bought the entire Park Tool Master Kit.
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Getting Organized

The first step in getting back to my model hobby is to earnestly get my hobby desk in order.  While that sounds like a good idea, until you have to move about 30 small paint bottles, little by little, you don’t realize that this is a bit of an undertaking.
I have included a before and after shot, just so you can see what I am working with.  It isn’t as brightly lit as I would like…but I shouldn’t complain.  It isn’t like I can’t go buy another lamp.
 

Before
If you are interested in my thoughts on organization, and want to read more, please check out my other blog. https://todaysperfectmoment.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/the-better-organized-me/
It isn’t really about hobbies, but some of the better writing I have done lately is there.
More organized
 

As you can see by the shot, I have made the decision to purchase a spray booth.  From a health perspective, this was a no brainer.  While all of the paints I use say they are “non-toxic” I fear that a phrase like that, translate through lawyers and other legal jargon, really means, “not as toxic as poison, so you can’t sue us, but still not great for your lungs.”  I haven’t used it yet, but hopefully today or tomorrow.




Can You Ever Have Enough Tools?

Okay, if I wasn’t sure before, I am sure now.  I have a very bad habit of buying tools for my hobbies.  I went to the hobby store, planning strongly to resist any purchasing of tools and magazines.  I even took a friend–you know, don’t go swimming without a buddy, hoping that they would help me be the voice of reason, or at least restraint.

No such luck.

I don’t mean to blame my friend.  They would have restrained me if I had asked.  I just didn’t ask and proceeded to the checkout very quickly.  I am my own worst enemy….I guess.

On the bright side, I do think I made a good purchase.  I have a lot of train buildings to assemble and not one of them has a square edge.  What?  That’s right.  I have to assemble about 20 buildings for my train layout, and not one of them has a straight edge.  You see, to facilitate the manufacturing process, the moulds all have “draft” edges, so they will pop out of the machine easily.  Hmmmm?  You’d think with today’s technology there would be another way around this–but what do I know of injection moulding?  In the end, I have to sand the edges until they are 90 degrees.

You might remember a post where I created my own sanding board.  That worked well, but provided no way to evaluate my work.  This tool should do the same thing, and allow me to be a bit more uniform.

My friend, and several people at the shop, said I was making a wise purchase.  They explained that while I didn’t need the tools, the proper tools make things go so much easier.

Any thoughts.

Hobbies Lead to Tool Lust

Once again I find myself in a hobby conundrum.  The only good thing is that I recognize it, and might be able to escape this one.  However, I am not really sure.

I used to love riding my bicycle.  I rode all over the place.  This might have a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t have a car, but I am pretty sure that isn’t all of it.  I know I loved the feeling of speed and power.  I remember once thinking I could be in the Tour de France.  I was never that good, but every boy has to dream.

I have always owned a bike.  When I had a job as a teenager, I took my bike to work every day.  If I had the choice of bus or cycle, I always chose cycle.  When I lived in Japan I bought a bike on a whim and had to carry it home on a very packed subway and train.  This was the kind of thing I did.  I never second guessed decisions like that. 

Lately, I have been thinking about getting back on my bike before the dust in the garage consumes it completely.  It would certainly help with the fitness part of my diet.  Of course, being dusty, it is going to require a bit of maintenance, and that is where the dilemma comes from.  I could pay someone to do it for me, or I could do it myself.
I know that I would rather do it myself.  Yes, it is a mechanical job, but it doesn’t seem that hard.  So, I did what I always do.  I checked the internet and found lots of good resources and tools.  Do you see where I am going with this?

Regular readers of this blog (if there are any) know that I have tool equipment lust to a terribly high degree.  Sometimes, I love hobby tools more than the hobby itself.  I thought I was strange, but after reading other blogs and internet forums, I know I am not the only one.  Plus, I am one of those guys.  I think tools are cool.  I want them, and I want good ones.

My current lust features two things:  A bike stand for working on the bike, and a dedicated set of tools.  Of course, there are some really flashy ones out there, but I have settled on these two.  The fact that they come in sexy anodized blue is just a coincidence–or is it.  Perhaps, I really don’t need these things, but I scratched the itch, and I am now I am starting to obsess.

I probably have enough tools that I only need a few specialized ones to do any repair that I want.  I also don’t need sexy blue tools.  Plain ones will do.  As for the bike stand, while not necessary, it certainly would be handy.

The next deadly step is to go to a bike shop (rather than the internet) to see what they have.  I might succumb and regret it, but what else can I do.

When Something Needs Stirring…

 
 
We’ve all said it.  You’ve said, I’ve said it.  Like I said, we’ve all said it. You buy average tools all the time, and you buy quality tools only once.  Or maybe you said, the right tool makes the job easier.  The question is, do you really believe it?

I was doing some painting yesterday.  I noticed the paint needed to stirred up.  So I reached for my official Tamiya paint stirrer.  Yes, that’s right.  I have an official paint stirrer.  I could have used a tooth pick, but I employed the paint stirring tool.

At a 300 yen price tag (actually I bought it for 240 yen…and I won’t tell you where just in case Tamiya takes their recommended sales price overly seriously) I could have bought a box or two of toothpicks.  All I can really say, is that it was definitely worth it.  Two hundred and forty yen is just shy of three Canadian dollars, when tax is figured in.  Of course, I bought it in Japan, so if I include the price of airfare the overall price really skyrockets.

It isn’t so much that it works better than a toothpick, or that I couldn’t have MacGyvered something similar with a coat hanger, but I just feel that much more purposeful.  I feel like I am really working on a project and that the project is not working on me.  It is one less thing to worry about while I concentrate on the real task.

Sometimes you just need to have the right tools.  In my various hobbies, I have spent the money sometimes, and cheaped out sometimes.  Sometimes I have been creative and found very workable things at dollar stores.  Who knows?  All I know for sure is that the money I spent on the paint stirrers was not a waste.

Limits

When I tell people I have a lot of hobbies they mostly ask what they are and leave it at that.  The more adventurous ones might wonder how I can afford it.  Funny though, no one wonders where I keep it all.

I have written a couple of blogs about storage, but that’s common to all hobbyists.  We’ve all got tools and supplies and various other equipment.  It takes up space, but most of that is “out of the way” or stuffed into a closet.  There is always room for that stuff.  What nobody really stops to consider is what do you do with the finished products.

If you have a hobby that results in some finished product, you might want to display it.  In some cases you’ve got to display it.  Sure, you can give some of it away–some people do crafts that turn into Christmas presents.  But, how many times do your family and friends want that stuff?  If it is a quilt, you probably don’t mind having six or seven of them, but how many wool sweaters do you want?  How many hooked rugs do you need?  How many paint by numbers can adorn your walls?

Okay, some of these crafts are beautiful.  Hence the reason I wrote that you’ve got to display them.  Sometimes these crafts are so integral to your life that everyone expects to see them on display at your house.  No problem there.

I, Jack of all hobbies, however, have so many hobbies, and do not often produce things of display quality.  What do I do then?

Limits.  I have limits.  There are only so many of one thing that I can have before it needs to get pared down.  If I make a good car model, it usually displaces a model I am less happy with (though some parts end up in the parts box for that diorama I am going to do someday).  I’ve only go so much shelf space, and the better models make the bad ones look rather poor.

New magazines displace old ones–or more likely, deluxe editions of books put out by these magazine publishers displace the magazines.  Realizing that they had me paying twice, I read the magazines at the library and only buy the books….but this is a topic for another day.

Train stuff….well, I can always make more room for train stuff.  I am into N scale, and that doesn’t really take up  a lot of room…..besides, you’ve got to have priorities, and you’ve got to rationalize.

Take my latest puzzle.  I did it because I liked trains.  I thought about putting it up over in the room where there will be a train…but then I realized that wall space was at a premium, and I had already done a couple of other train puzzles that I thought were better than this one.  So what could I do?  Despite my pack rat nature, I am going to pass this puzzle off to someone else who will have to figure out what to do with it once they are done.

Tools and Projects

Whenever I get a chance to use some tools, I feel pretty manly.  Call it stereotypical, call it macho bullshit, call it whatever you want.  I know how I feel.  With tools in hand I feel great.

It should come as no great shock that I am not a master craftsman.  I am not talking about designing and building great furniture from beautiful wood.  I am really talking about assembling a cheap, compressed sawdust, piece of furniture from a box.  Not so amazing, but still, if I build it, then I feel pretty good.

My latest project was a media cabinet.  It was on sale at Canadian Tire (discontinued) and therefore not expensive at all.  I decided I wanted to put my DVD’s away, rather than stack them in piles on the coffee table, desk, or floor.  It seems like a noble idea–I guess I am a victim of the desire to organize, even if it rarely gets done.  My heart is in the right place.

This particular creation required only two screwdrivers and a hammer.  Usually, I don’t classify it as a real project unless it takes a least five tools, and one of them has to be a power tool.  That seems reasonable doesn’t it?