Spring – When a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love

Or in my case, …turn to thoughts of rebuilding Little Project

I studied 1st world war poetry at school and was especially taken by the works of Wilfred Owen.   I have been trying to persuade my darling son that “Anthem for doomed youth” is just the best name for the first album from his death metal rock band.   I’m not convinced that he thinks it is a good idea to take any notice of his doddering father.   I didn’t really get it that Locksley Hall (the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson from which the title of this post is bastardised) was a war poem but reading it again it certainly is, although from a far earlier war.  It’s curious, I wanted a quote with “spring” in the title and this was an obvious one.  Who’d have thought it would take me back to the classroom.

Enough of the formal education.   I know what everyone is waiting to find out.  Does soaking things in vinegar for a week really make the rust come off them?

We have here before and after pictures of a chain tensioner.  Technically I have no idea why one is portrait and one is landscape, let us not worry though.   The second picture is after a good vinegar bath and a tickle with a wire brush.

Dirty chain tensioner        Clean chain tensioner

I am impressed.    The springs that I dropped in came out rather less brilliantly so I thought I would to take them to the autojumble to see if I could get suitable replacements (the bike show was most entertaining.  There’s a hand full of images on flikr if you want to click here to take a look at other people’s Little Projects).   Let me tell you.  If ever you decide to go to a motorcycle autojumble seeking springs to replace your rusty ones, and your rusty springs have been soaking in vinegar for a week then it is HIGHLY advisable to rinse the springs before setting off. Whilst I was not directly confronted, I left a trail of people saying “I’ve a sudden urge for a bag of chips”.

Having spread confusion I chose to retreat.  As I fled I passed a gypsy lady who offered to sell me some spray that would make rusty springs glitter as if new.  This was obviously too good an opportunity to turn up so I purchased some spray (and some pegs and  a sprig of lucky heather) and quickly rushed home to test out the spray.   I needed to determine the optimum method of presenting the springs to the spray and using the screwdriver that snapped in half during the unfortunate episode removing the fork seals (I didn’t mention this unfortunate episode, I’m too embarrassed, I’m keeping it for my memoirs) I fashioned “The ACME spring holder for being sprayed with lucky gypsy glittering spray stuff”.  Catchy name don’t you think?    It worked reasonably well.   Here is the outcome.

Shiny springs

I thought the re-assembly of Little Project was going to be plain sailing compared to the dismantling.

Have you picked yourself up off the floor yet?  I had a whole day today to re-assemble two forks.  There’s probably only 10 components in each fork (not counting blood from my knuckles).   To be fair, there have been some issues that couldn’t be accounted for beforehand.   A computer that won’t connect to the internet? Understandable in this day and age but I have also had…

  • A small altercation with three men who had stolen the gate from a building down the road.  Oaf no. 1 was carrying said gate in the direction of Heathrow whilst oafs 2 and 3 were denying all knowledge of oaf 1 whilst joining in with his rugby songs and calling him “Dave”.
  • An exploding box of crockery left outside the house.  There was bits of plate all over the place.  I think the neighbourhood is going downhill.

So, step one today was to put fork seals in (I know, it’s been weeks since I took them out).  Handy hint for anyone doing this at home.   Forget what it says on the internet.  All of it.   Get a rubber mallet and tap them into place and then use the old wheel bearings that you replaced last week as a blind to whack them properly.   If you haven’t recently replaced the wheel bearings then just use a bit of timber in a suitable shape (one can make said timber into a suitable shape by whacking a 1/4 inch bit of wood around your forks with a hammer).

Please refer to some posts 6 weeks from now to see if that has actually worked.

Step 2 was to fit the stanchions into the forks.


There’s a bit, on the end of a long spring.  Not sure what it is called but it takes a bolt from the bottom of the forks and basically holds the fork together.   Now, if the thread in the bit that I don’t know the name for is buggered, and you screw a little way into it and everything starts turning round then you’ve a problem.  The best part of the problem is that you won’t be ab;e to unscrew from the thing that I don’t know the name for and so you will have a fork with loose stanchions that can neither be tightened or removed.

After (or rather during) step 2 I gave up and chose to write this instead.  It is a bank holiday in the UK tomorrow so there is still hope that I may actually move forward.

Today’s post has been aided and abetted by Gilpin’s Westmorland extra dry Gin.  If anyone feels the need to send me a second bottle just to make sure that the first bottle was not a one-off, please feel free.