Ted’s essays

simple pleasures in the workshop

Once in a while I simply get lucky as a photographer.
I suppose as a modestly inspired amateur, that will be the only way I get a photo that really tickles me.
Below is one of them.

At my skill level, getting the lighting just right to comfortably light the background while focusing attention, and projecting a welcoming feeling has to be totally a lucky shot, but this one speaks volumes for the shop guy, and the car guy in me.

I briefly opened the bay doors to admit the Honda for its overdue wheel swap from summer to winter. The woodburner in the far corner got the shop heat back up to a workspace comfortable 45-60 in no time. It did not require bulky clothing for me to be comfortable wrenching in the shop.

One surprise of the day came from my old floor jack. As I wrestled it from jacking one wheel to another I finally broke through my “Not Now” barrier into the “Enough Is Enough”. I took a three hour break from the project at hand to resurrect a tool I once appreciated. Forty five years of grease, grime, oil, dirt, neglect and general resistance to movement were wiped out in that time.

The surprising part is that this chore I never took time out from primary projects to accomplish before now, WAS ENJOYABLE in and of itself. I actually was smiling inside as I used chemicals, lubricants, abrasives, various hand-tools and my mechanical skill-set to get it working as designed. This major annoyance every time I used it was going away … for a long, long time … to become another fine tool in my kit.

I am certain that part of the comfort, ease and fluidity comes from the virtual hardware store I maintain in that shop. At no point did I need a trip to any hardware or auto parts store. What I need for most projects is nearly always IN STOCK at Ted’s The Fixer shop. When I need a few screws I buy a box; need a squirt, buy a quart. THAT is how you build a useful shop.

Must have been something in the air, because I also felt happily rewarded by installing and cleaning the vintage racer Panasport wheels clad with top-of-the-line Bridgestone BLIZZAK studless snow tires. My GT50 got a couple other overdue details handled. It is now, again, requesting I give it an outing – whereas it had been hiding from the cold weather on its superb track-time summer skins.

I have been trying to sell the CRX as it is kind-of silly to keep in my motor stable with the likelihood I will exercise its high-performance potential any time in the foreseeable future runs along the lines of slim to none. However, it really is a nice car in good condition, particularly well set up for agility and quite rewarding for a good driver (that’s me, by the way).

I am not giving this one away. I’d rather keep it than let it go at junker prices … even if it is extra. Besides … the great “keep it” selling point … it gets over 30 miles per gallon hauling me, hauling groceries and also hauling ass. (please forgive the crudity, but it fit so well … ) Yeah, I get 30 mpg or better while blowing by normal, sleepy-time drivers at a pace they must find rather startling.

Perhaps I will give it some Con Brio exercise in the not-too-distant future, though that will be severely limited this time of year by road conditions and rather pedestrian tires as far as ultimate performance is considered.

I can imagine this as one of those “why did you sell it?” steeds sometime down the road.

For the time being, it has a lot of positive attributes that I can appreciate.

In the big picture sense, I don’t suppose it matters too much if anyone else can, eh?