Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Workshop Find

What do libraries and bicycles have in common?

Nothing, actually, unless you count this awesome new storage addition I found for my bicycle work area. 

My wife works in the Kent State University library, where, over the years, everything has been converted over to digital records. So one day recently, she found a couple of workers in the Special Collections department hauling this old card catalog cabinet out to the trash dumpster. Being that both my wife and I have always been avid readers and library users, we have long had a nostalgic fondness for the old-fashioned card catalog files. She asked if she could keep it, and they of course had no objections.


The cabinet was too large to fit in her car, so we had to drive out to her office on the weekend with our station wagon to bring it home.

Funny thing - as the two of us were hauling this thing out of the library, a thought occurred to me: how would anybody "official" know that we were actually authorized to take this thing - or that we weren't just stealing it? So, just as that thought pops into my head, some very nosy woman notices us and starts following us. Before we can get out, she asks where we think we're going. Apparently she believed my wife, or at least decided it wasn't worth the trouble to verify her story, because she let us leave with it.


After getting it home, I needed to make some space for it, and build some kind of bench to hold it. That was an afternoon's project. The new bench includes a shelf underneath which will be perfect for holding some extra boxes, or large tools like my bench grinder seen below.

One drawer will hold four freewheels - or twice that if I stack 'em.
I have a pretty good collection of spare parts - like freewheels, bottom brackets, headsets, etc. that I'll be able to file away in the cabinet's many drawers. Before I can really put it to use, however, I'll have to modify the drawers a bit. The drawers don't have a completely solid bottom - there is a large "slot" or "gap" about 1½ inches wide running the length of each drawer. They could be fine for larger items, or boxed items, but small items would fall right through. If I carefully trim some thin pressboard, masonite, or the like, to fit across the full bottom of the drawers, they'll work well for all kinds of bicycle parts.

I'll make the modifications to the drawers, and then I can start filling this thing up with spares. What a cool find!

14 comments:

  1. Hang on to those spares, It just cost me a packet for a new freewheel... Nice cabinet.

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    1. going through boxes, I'm finding spare freewheels I didn't even remember that I had! Though quite a few are narrow-range racing freewheels (largest cogs at 18, 19 or 21 teeth!) that I would be crazy to try to use at my age.

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    2. What was I thinking buying a 13-18 all those years ago, great for downhill only!

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  2. Very nice. I haven't seen one of those in years. It looks like it's made from oak with some nice flecking too.

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    1. The top of it is some very nice oak. It has some scuffs, etc., but no big deal. One of the drawers is a mis-match, though. It fits, and it's functional - but keeps it from being a pristine piece. Perfect for what I want it for, though.

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  3. Hmm...On one hand, I'd love to have a cabinet like that for bike parts. On the other, I'd love to have that cabinet--for its beauty and for the memories it evokes.

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    1. I knew you would appreciate that cabinet, Justine.

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  4. Neat idea.
    I couldn't help but notice the cinder block walls. Do you live in a house built in the early decades of the 1900s? My celler (basement) built in the 1920s uses this type of block. They were made from by-products of the steel industry, I think, and fired in ovens- sort of like terra cotta. Retrohouse!

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    1. Good eye - yes, those terra cotta blocks are very common in my neighborhood. My house, and many nearby, were built right around 1920.

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  5. I think Melvil Dewey would be proud.

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  6. That's a cool addition to the shop! Should be a good way to neatly file away all those little things that seem to magically overtake a workbench.

    Wolf.

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  7. Funny, came to leave one thought as I started reading, ended up leaving two by the time I was done....

    Awesome score. My girlfriend just got one very similar in an odd shade of flesh pink, from the local university library.

    But you talk about terra cotta, and it dovetails, as the local history in her town is one rich in terra cotta and pottery/ceramics in general!

    https://alfredarchives.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/celadon-terra-cotta-company/

    Image of "The Terra Cotta" building in town:

    http://gallery.alleganyhistory.org/gallery/Towns%20and%20Villages/Alfred/Town/Terra_Cotta_bldg.jpg

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  8. Consider sanding and oiling/varnishing/shellacing the wood nicely, before something else soaks in and stains it for you.

    A chunk of cardboard sitting in the bottom of the drawer is all you need to cover the slot, and it will soak up minor amounts of oil. Plus cardboard is cheap, common and recyclable. It also provides a level of cushioning, reducing scratches from opening other drawers in the unit.

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    1. good suggestion on the cardboard - and I have lots of it.

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