Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tool in a tube

Nothing attracts attention like a brightly lit rear end.

I don’t care much Alaskans love duct tape. This stuff is 10 times better. Epoxy mix has been a standard item on my workbench for years. You can fix damn near anything with this stuff.

I always scoff when someone suggests using “super glue,” which is useless. I’ve tried it dozens of times when trying to fix broken toys, plastic bike parts, ceramic mug handles and all other stuff to which the manufacturers claim it will stick.

It’s like some cruel joke to make you hold a freshly glued thingamabob in place until you think it’s safe to let go, only to watch it stick to the sweat on your fingers instead of the thing to which you were attaching it.

Super glue is shit. But epoxy is The Shit. Especially the easy-to-use version that comes in twin tubes that work like a syringe. You pull off the cap, squeeze out two same-size globs of goo (one the glue, one the hardener), mix ’em, and then slather it on and stick two things together. Within a few hours, they’ll be permanent partners. Especially if you prepared the surfaces properly.

My latest epoxy project was born when I dropped my old quick-release Topeak trunk rack onto a concrete floor and destroyed the integrated reflector. I had a NiteRider Trailfazer light that I found on a trail a couple of years ago, so I knew they were meant to be together.

The first epoxy job was sloppy and careless, but it still worked fine for a couple of weeks until my daughter borrowed the rack and knocked the light around while loading her bike into her car. It fell off, but I recognized my mistake.

To make sure the new repair held permanently, I drilled a few tiny holes at odd angles in the connecting surfaces to give the epoxy some anchor points, then mixed up a new batch, slapped on a generous amount and pressed the light to the rack firmly to force the gooey stuff into all the nooks and crannies. By morning, the rack was ready for the ride to work. If that sucker ever comes off, it’ll be in pieces.

I love repairs like this. I
dramatically improved the rear visibility of my bike while recycling a good (and free) light that was otherwise useless because I didn’t have the original mount, and the whole thing took less than 10 minutes.

When you have a tube of epoxy sittin’ around, it’s almost worth breaking stuff just so you can fix it.

1 comment:

Hwoody said...

Leonard. Leonard broke your light! Not me. All him.