Author Topic: What tools to buy  (Read 2208 times)

Offline Russ

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What tools to buy
« on: 25.02. 2011 06:49 »
It appears that the tool box of Metric and AF spanners in my shed aren't much good when it comes to restoring a B.S.A.  I haven't actually started yet but figured I best buy some spanners first.  Can someone suggest which ring / open-end spanners in Whitworth I should get and where to buy them.  As I'm in OZ somewhere here would best suit but I'm happy to buy overseas.
My bike is, (or will be) a 1951 A10 plunger if that has any bearing on the tools I need.

Thanks Russ.
1951 A10 Plunger.
Australia

Online BSA_54A10

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #1 on: 25.02. 2011 09:32 »
Russ,
Trash & Treasure sales , charity car boot sales , Swap meets with a lot of junk stalls.
Being an old Colony, we were WW till about 1966 so there is tons of the stuff around in old codgers tool boxes
Usually you can get bucket loads of WW or BS stuff  really cheap.
look for tools that were never chrome plated the "shinny stuff " brigade won't touch then so they are really cheap.
If they are sort of shinny black/brown then they have been given a mollassas treatment and will only need an occasional wipe with an oil rag to keep them in good nick.
Anything stamped "DUFOR" is worth buying particularly if it has a round shaft. They were forged from the high tensile steel used for making bolts ( some one at Dully & Hansford  made a boo boo ) which is how they started making tools.

Usually there will be sets of Pope flat spanners for a couple of bucks. Worth buying if for no other reason that to size nuts.
BS is the next head size smaller than WW, done during the war to save steel.
Quality tools will be stamped with both sizes. It is a bit confusing at first but you get used to it quickly.
There are 8 sizes in most common WW tool sets & they go up in 1/16"
Without checking I think you will find most heads  on your A 10 will be between 1/4" & 1/2"
You will also need some BA spannars for the magneto points ( 2BA ) and these are best bought from people like Bill Green who do WM20 stuff, buy 2 of them. They are very short which helps to prevent you stripping the really fine threads on the points.
Real hardwear stores that have been sent broke by Cunnings are also good or a look, particularly if they have been there for a long time.
They oft dig up old boxes of things like CEI & BA taps & dies and BA & WW tools which they sell really cheap as they are not common stock ( actually illegal to sell them in OZ ). If you are in the sticks, old stock & station agents will generally have a good supply of WW particularly in the "farm " sizes. 
The WW kits on evilbay originating from India should be avoided at all costs.

I make up a tool kit for every bike and have another for the workshop so I don't use the bikes tools at home, forget to replace them before a ride & have to push the bike 30 miles home because I left the wheel nut spanner at home.
For big screws I use impact driver bits, the ones you buy as single units from real tool shop for $ 5.00 a piece not the 40,000 bits for $ 2.50 kits made from Chinese plastisteel. You can push on the bit using a socket head while you turn them with a ring spanner thus not destroying the heads of the set screws.
Bike Beesa
Trevor

Offline Goldy

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #2 on: 25.02. 2011 10:36 »
Spot on BSA_54A10. The main thing is to avoid new if possible, and when buying old ones just make sure that the jaws have not been filed out.
56 A10 Golden Flash - Restore, ride, relive.                                          
56 C12 BSA project ongoing

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #3 on: 25.02. 2011 13:20 »
G'day Russ,
               I think you can still get Sidchrome spanners in WW. I got mine through Repco years ago. 1/4,5/16,3/8,7/16 and 1/2" and 2BA in ring & open ended.
Cheers
'51 A7 plunger, '57 A7SS now A10CR,  '83 CB1100F, .
Australia
Muskys Plunger A7

Offline brackenfel

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #4 on: 25.02. 2011 14:32 »
Agree absolutely with BSA_54A10...

Old is best - at the Bristol Show last week I got a nice large "King Dick" WW spanner for a pound in a box of mixed junk. The jaws were perfect & it has a WD stamp so guaranteed quality (they needed to be squaddie-proof!)..

Some Metric & AF ones are roughly equivalent so can be used in emergency, always best to get the real thing though..

Happy hunting!

Adrian
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Offline Mosin

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #5 on: 25.02. 2011 15:32 »
It sounds like you won't need them for quite some time yet, but I swear by a good multi-meter and a push-on type ignition tester.

You may well also benefit from a decent set of imperial Allen keys.
1960 A7 Shooting Star
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Offline Russ

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #6 on: 25.02. 2011 22:57 »
Thanks Guys,
Very helpful information which will ensure I get the right tools. Have been looking for old spanners without much luck but will now check-out old hardware stores etc as suggested.
I have a couple that were my dad's but as he was a deisel mechanic and worked on large machinary, dozers etc, the're a bit big. Had I've known back then he could have supplied me with all the WW I needed. Hindsight is a great thing!
Cheers Russ.
1951 A10 Plunger.
Australia

Offline Russ

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #7 on: 25.02. 2011 23:17 »
Are the WW spanner sets listed with some English suppliers any good.

Russ
1951 A10 Plunger.
Australia

Online Brian

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #8 on: 26.02. 2011 05:07 »
I'm afraid I have to disagree with most on this subject.

Mt advice is buy new, the best quality you can afford and look after them.

I would suggest a set of ring/open ender spanners like the ones Muskrat mentioned, and I think Sidchrome still make them, and a set of sockets like these.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Koken-3-8sq-8-Piece-Whitworth-BSF-Sockets-1-8-9-16W-/310126423573?pt=UK_Hand_Tools_Equipment&hash=item4834f9ae15

I bought a set of these sockets a couple of years ago and have found them very good, they are 3/8 drive and single hex (6 point) thin walled and seem to be very good quality.

Old tools are almost always worn or damaged and worst of all, stretched.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Offline Russ

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #9 on: 26.02. 2011 12:26 »
Thanks Brian,
I am currently researching new sidchrome spanners from a supplier in Sydney.  Will follow-up after the weekend.  Can't seem to locate the ebay seller that you link too. Seems he's not home at the moment but I will persist.
Russ
1951 A10 Plunger.
Australia

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #10 on: 26.02. 2011 13:33 »
Well I will argue with you over this one.
Old cheap tools ( the ones you get with a motor vehicle ) will usually have some wear on them, particularly the open enders.
However "cheap" tools did not really take a hold till chrome became a must.
To avoid hydrogen embrittlement during plating they had to significantly down grade the alloy that the tools were made from.
This is why I stated to look for unplated tools.
Then following that we went into the "consumer junk" phase because we just all HAD to have that sexy 250 piece of matching spanners that did not fit anything and broke as soon as you put them under stress and then age of meglamaniac corperate retailers began.

If you are going to buy new then go for genuine quality brands.
When I bought the A 65 L I went to Colliers and bought some loose Starwhille ring / open enders. They were not cheap but 30 years latter they are still in perfect nick.
I gave away all of my 1/2 sockets when a mechanic introduced me to quality 3/8 drive sockets so I had to buy some new socket heads and these were Hazets, 12 point ultra thin wall. Have used them with an impact driver and rattle gun, still as good as the day I bought them ( and they are nearly 40 years old ). 12 pointed tools are generally better quality than 6 sided.
In the mid 80's Sidchrome went the way of BSA, downgraded the quality of their product and upped the advertising budget because we were all idiots and would not notice the difference.
It is an arguement I had with the various MD's of Siddons for years. They could have upgraded the steel and become a niche player making the worlds best tools and been a significant exporter but the best they could do was to look at their dicks ( bigger the better ) and went down the mass marketing of rubbish route, swamped the small local market with mediocre tools and lost the home market to equivalent quality imported tools that were 1/2 the price and the trade market to dearer higher quality imported tools.

The difference in price between the best grade of steel and the minimum specification of steel is about double and the cost of the steel is about 3 % of the cost of a spanner so it really should have been a no brainer. The only down side of stronger feed stock is that you loose about 1/10 of the run life from the dies which sounds a lot till you realize that the entire manufacturing represents about 10 % to 15 % of the price you pay ( 30% to 45% ) is the retail mark up, 20% is marketing 5% is warehousing & distribution and the balance is profit.

Any way back to your tool problem.
Quality tools will have clean sharp precise lettering , be thin and seem heavy for their size. Open enders will tapper towards the open end. If they are parrallel then that is the first sign of junk metal . Ring spanners will have a barrel profile around the ring. Again if the ring appears parallel then suspect extra the metal is there to compensate for poor quality steel. Look closely at the set, if the hole appears offset in the spanner then that says "roll forged by a blind man " roll forging produces inferior grain structure to drop forging but is about 1/2 the price.
Look also at the length, unless they are a "stubby" profile be weary of spanners that seem short
Quality tools will have the size stamped into them because after forging they are ground to precise size & then if they pass quality controls get the size & oft the brand name stamped into them. Rubbish tools will have the size raised as it is ground into the die, because as they come out of the die is good enough . Drop forged tools oft will have "drop forged" stamped or forged into the tool. Roll forged tools will have nothing on them and usually have grinding marks along the exterior where the fins have been ground off.
Also look for a country. Dowidats come in 3 grades. Top quality made in Germany , mediocre made in India , junk made in Brazil the latter have no country on them . Gedores are the same except they are made in Germany, India or China. Usually no country = rubbish.
Finally there are the house branded tools. These are made to a price for the retailer . At the best they will be overpriced mediocre tools ( but with very pretty chrome ) and at worst knuckle busters. I avoid them all.
Bike Beesa
Trevor

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #11 on: 26.02. 2011 14:50 »
And right now there is a set of Dowidats on evilbay http://cgi.ebay.com.au/QUALITY-GERMAN-SA-RING-SPANNERS-5-x-W-1-x-AF-/390290534030?pt=AU_ToolsHardwareLocks&hash=item5adf20ee8e#ht_1503wt_1141.
4 of them are German and it looks like the other 2 are the indian ones for $ 30 + P&P.

Sidchromes & Snapons go for big bucks but most buyers have no idea of what a quality spanner is .
There is also a set of Popes with a king dick for $1, bargan .
A set of 3 offset King dicks http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Vintage-King-Dick-Whitworth-Ring-Spanners-Wrenches-/260741103677?pt=AU_Car_Parts_Accessories&hash=item3cb561803d#ht_500wt_1156 also worth buying.
Then there are these, http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Bulk-lot-Collectable-vintage-Spanners-SNAIL-KBS-x17-/150565641805?pt=AU_ToolsHardwareLocks&hash=item230e695e4d#ht_736wt_1141 the super slim is worth $ 20 all by itself.
Or your entire tool box for $ 30.00 http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Vintage-Sidchrome-whitworth-spanners-sockets-/110652585550?pt=AU_Hand_Tools&hash=item19c368764e#ht_2422wt_1185
Or this onehttp://cgi.ebay.com.au/Whitworth-Spanners-Sockets-STEINADLER-SIDCHROME-/300529576175?pt=AU_Hand_Tools&hash=item45f8f568ef#ht_500wt_1156.

The Kokins from the UK are also a reasonably good brand, on par with minimax , near top line domestic or moderate commercial.
Kokin have an Australian distributor so you should be able to get the same thing locally a bit cheaper.
Hazet have a local distributor as well
Snap on & Stahlwille are both only available from the resellers,  usually as van sales and thus quite dear.
Bike Beesa
Trevor

Online RoadRunner

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #12 on: 26.02. 2011 21:40 »
Hi,
As for tools - I only had a few AF spanners and metric so I just purchased a couple of new 'King Dick' spanners and thin walled sockets in common sizes (1/4" and 5/16") mainly for bolting back together new S/S fittings or chromed nuts/bolts. I did buy a set of WW spanners made out there in some 'other' country which are very sloppy fitting - hence only used for taking apart old and crusty nuts (so to speak). King Dicks well w
orth the cost!
Purchased from:

A & R Sheldon Mail Order Tools
33 Bramhall Park Road
Bramhall
Stockport
SK7 - 3JN
United Kingdom
Phone & Fax: 0161 440 0821
Email: info [at] ar-sheldon [dot] com
http://www.ar-sheldon.com/acatalog/index.html

Were quick and efficient.

Cheers
RoadRunner

Offline Russ

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #13 on: 26.02. 2011 23:27 »
It appears my simple question of "What tools to buy" has started a very healthy debate on the subject along with providing a wealth of information for newcommers to BSA such as myself. Greatly appreciated and I will research all information provided.
Again thanks.  Russ
1951 A10 Plunger.
Australia

Offline iansoady

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Re: What tools to buy
« Reply #14 on: 27.02. 2011 12:17 »
You might find the attached useful: they're based on a spreadsheet which I pinched from elsewhere then modified.

I keep a copy on the wall of my garage.

If you want the spreadsheet pm me.
Ian.
1962 Golden Flash (arrived)
1955 Velo Viper/Venom (departed)
2004 Triumph Tiger 955i (staying)