More Stainless; 22/02/2011
I have some time off work at the moment but plenty of other ‘jobs’ to do around the home and for friends and relatives, as well as playing with my new toy! I did however find time today to visit a bolt supplier in Taunton. I’ve used them before. They are called Western Bolt and Engineering supplies.
I always find this a comical place to visit. It is like an engineering firm straight out of the sixties. The staff in the place are as ancient as the shop itself and the old fella that serves is a real hoot. He huffs and puffs when has to serve a customer. I went in with a list and samples of different sized bolts that I wanted to replace with stainless items. I required around 50 bolts in total, some large, some small, all with Allen heads. Some had screw thread along their full length, some had straight shanks before the thread started, but there were only around 8 different sizes.
Below are pictured just a few of the rusty nuts and bolts that I wanted to replace. You can see why. Each one, small and insignificant on its own but collectively they make a huge difference to appearance.
You would have thought I was asking for the world! One at a time he took the bolts from my sample, picked up his micrometer, measured the diameter then, mumbling to himself as he walked away, disappeared into the racking shelves behind the counter. A few minutes later he would return, drop all the bolts he had just selected into a small seal-top bag then write down the items on an old-fashioned roll-out type invoice, then take the next bolt from my samples and start again. Each time his huffing and puffing became louder and more exaggerated and each time he returned the bolts were dropped into the bag with more gusto and an increasing sense of inconvenience. I was hoping that he wouldn’t have to have a heart attack with all the effort he was exerting. It wasn’t as if the place was busy with customers; in the 15 minutes that I was there no-one else came in to be served!
Anyway, he managed to source seven out of the eight styles of bolt that I had asked for. I could almost see the relief on his face when he didn’t have to add another item to his invoice.
Then I had to pay. The total only came to just over £16 including the dreaded VAT, but I didn’t have enough cash in my wallet so I offered my card. Oh my word! The look on his face said it all. He just lifted the counter top and said. “You need to come into the office if you are using a card”. He turned and walked away from me, expecting me to follow. I smiled to myself and followed him into the abyss. I wondered if I would come out alive. He took me through to a small office area and as soon as he opened the door I could see a woman of similar age – I won’t insult her by guessing her age, but I reckon she must already have been drawing her pension for a few years.
As soon as the office door opened I was hit with the stench of stale cigarette smoke, filling the air. The old lady grabbed an ashtray from her desk, opened one of the drawers and hid it. As if I wouldn’t notice the foul smell and the brown, nicotine stained walls and ceiling. The smell was overpowering. How anyone could sit in that room let alone work was beyond me. Anyway, ‘Mr Happy’ typed my invoice amount and then placed my card into the electronic card terminal and handed it over for my PIN to be entered. I never said a word. Holding my breath was taking some effort. I daren’t speak until I was back in the open. As soon as he handed me my card back I made a dash for the door and then in my most cheery voice shouted back, “Thank you so very much for your assistance!” and left the shop. As soon as I walked out into the open I could smell that foul stench clinging to my skin and clothes. I felt dirty and really self conscious. I drove home with the car windows open, but 17 miles later I could still ‘feel’ the presence of that acrid smoke on myself.
Anyway, I was home. The bolts were in my hands and I went and washed and changed before starting the task of changing the bolts over.
As well as the ones I had already replaced I have now replaced a considerable amount of the rusty or discoloured bolts on the K1200RS. The front disc rotor bolts now look clean and shiny, the footrests, hanger plates, rear sub-frame support bolts, shock adjuster, front fork brace bar and gear change lever bolts are now all stainless. The appearance of the bike is transformed. It was lovely before, but these subtle little changes are discretely impactive making the bike very pretty!
The last photo shows the rear fairing bolts at the back of the tank and ther attachment for my tank bag, which when it’s not in use folds down and is hidden under the seat. Very neat!