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Tool Tip

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by PatB, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Mention, in an unrelated thread, of old Sidchrome tools and their quality made me think of this.

    If you spend much time working on machinery of uncertain history, with a miish-mash of imperial, metric and Dog-knows-what fasteners, a hugely useful tool to have in your stash is a Pre-WW2 BSA bicycle spanner.

    They're an unimpressive little thing, about 100mm long, with some sort of dark surface treatment on the steel, with four different sizes of jaw. Two ends, with two jaw sizes per end. One is a smallish square rather than anything designed to fit a hex. 'Sgot BSA forged into the shank.

    Appearances can be deceptive, though. Thanks to some long dead Brummie genius, the little bugger will fit pretty much anything you can throw at it. Not perfectly, perhaps, but well enough to get a grip on that heavily corroded, paint clogged, or just plain weird non-standard nut or bolt.

    The quality of the steel is something else too. I'm convinced that extra terrestrials visited the English Midlands in the early part of the 20th Century, because I'm pretty sure that materials this good simply weren't available to such primitive cultures :D.

    Anyhow, if you ever see one in a secondhand shop, at a garage sale or even with a vintage tool dealer who hasn't been enlightened to the wonders of this little bit of kit, buy it. You won't regret it.
  2. LIke this?

    I actually think there might be a couple like the first photo in my old man shed.

    the second photo is pretty amazing

    Attached Files:

  3. Nope. Nothing there that looks like it.

    The beastie I'm thinking of is about 100mm long and shaped like a conventional open ended spanner but is quite a bit thicker. The shank is an I-beam section with very broad flanges, more like a UC than a UB if you're familiar with steel sections. The ends are, again, similar to a conventional OE spanner but are also much thicker than usual, with two different sizes in each. One way up it's one size, flip it over and you've got the other. I'd provide a photo of the ones I inherited from my dad (and his before him I suspect), but I'm away from home at the mo'.

    Like I said, it'll grip an astonishing range of sizes. Of course, so will a shifter, but there are times when the head of a shifter is too broad, and, in my experience, the floating jaw on even a good shifter is often not very rigid, whereas the BSA wonder is extremely so. Mine are anyway.
  4. Pat, they actually came in a couple of sizes, all about 100 mm long,
  5. Fair enough. I've only ever owned two the same size and the ones I've seen for sale have seemed similar, so I just assumed that BSA had built all their bicycles with the same standard range of hexes. I've no idea whether the alternative version would have the same, seemingly magical properties.
  6. I've found that the newer surface drive ring spanners (as opposed to the older point drive) are really really good at fitting odd sized fasteners/hex's.
  7. I once had a good friend who was a BDSM mistress - some of those in the last pic look like they're out of her goodie bag...
  8. I've heard that and keep meaning to get myself a set but haven't got around to it yet.
  9. Something like this?

    BSA spanner.

    There's a couple on eBay UK at the moment.
  10. Yep, there the ones,
  11. That's it. Apart from the crappy silver paint. Might be the paint finish but it doesn't look quite as nice quality as the ones I've got. It's a while since I had them out but I don't remember the forging to be quite so rough, and I'm pretty sure they say BSA on both sides of the shank.
  12. That one might be a cheap knockoff, just a pic I found on the Googles.
  13. The very one :D.

    Not much to look at, is it? Has got me out of a few mechanical holes over the last 30 years though.
  14. Hmm, so how do we convince the Chinese to copy the design and start selling them for <$5 :-k
  15. They might have some difficulty making them out of the Kryptonite of the originals for that price. Made from the usual Chinese cheese or pottery, it'd be a bit useless.