Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Japanese Industrial Standard

The Phillips head screw (with the + shape) was first developed in the 1930s to be used on automobile assembly lines. Some time later the Japanese created a slight variation called the JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) or, more specifically, the JIS B 1012.

While they look like the standard ISO screw, trying to remove or tighten a JIS screw with the usual Phillips head screwdriver found in everyone’s toolbox can, and often does, result in damaged screw heads, skinned knuckles, and lots of cursing. In the worst case this results in the mechanic(?) eventually having to drill out the damaged screw. To this I can speak from experience.

JIS screw headFortunately JIS screws are usually marked with a small dimple on the head itself. However this is not foolproof, so sometimes it’s just best to assume that when working on a Japanese motorcycle that any cruciform-head screws will be JIS. And that’s not such a bad idea as a JIS screwdriver will work better in an ISO screw than vice versa anyway.

The point of all this – and there is a point – is that many, many years ago I had a pretty good set of JIS screwdrivers that saw yeoman’s duty on the various Japanese motorcycles I owned at the time. Unfortunately, at some point during several intervening house moves, they disappeared, along with countless 10mm sockets and wrenches – another necessity of which one can never have too many. So I have been making do with Phillips screwdrivers, hence the above comment about experience.

But after stripping and having to replace the umpteenth small screw (brake master cylinder cover screws are the worst – my parts guy insists they are made out of soft cheese) I finally broke down and ordered a replacement set. They arrived today, direct from Japan, and I can’t wait to start scr… er, removing screws.


If you are interested, Web Bike World has a write-up that provides more detail on the specific differences between the types. https://www.webbikeworld.com/jis-screwdrivers/

Saturday, 7 April 2018

During the war…

As you can imagine, the logistics of sourcing, shipping, and making spare parts available when and where needed during a war can be challenging. Equipment failures are dangerous while in theatre, and efforts going into maintenance and repairs detract resources from the broader mission. So, getting the most out of every piece of equipment is of paramount concern.

During the Second World War Canada’s National Defence HeadquartersIMG_0698 attempted to reduce maintenance costs and increase equipment life by publishing a monthly preventive maintenance magazine, CAM. It provided helpful suggestions on proper equipment usage as well as detailed maintenance tips and techniques.

As a motor mechanic with the RCAF’s No. 1 Fighter Squadron, my father was a recipient of these monthlies, a few of which found their way home with him and which I now have in my possession.

I just recently dug them out again and re-read some of the articles, particularly those related to the wartime care and feeding (as it were) of motorcycles. While clearly dated, both in style and content, they offer a sense of the challenges faced by those tasked with keeping these machines on the road under difficult circumstances.

Here’s one such article on the proper use of “auxiliary foot rests”. Seems pretty obvious to those of us with extensive riding experience, but probably not so much to the novice rider assigned to two wheels for the very first time.


Saturday, 31 March 2018

“Patience, young Grasshopper”

If you recognise that quote you are definitely dating yourself – as am I by using it.

That’s the state we are currently in, one of patience, as winter slowly eases her frigid grasp and spring/summer riding conditions approach.

One of the projects this winter was to upgrade the Kawasaki a bit so it was a little more presentable and reliable. That project is now mostly wrapped up and I am anxious to get it on the road as soon as the last of the ice is gone and the sand and salt have been washed away. Shouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks now.

Here are before and after pics for comparison.


IMG_0687 web

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

What did you drive to work today?

I came across this photo on the interwebz. I just had to share as it perfectly captures the difficult choices we face every day in the spring. Do I take the car today? The sled? The bike?
(Photographer unknown.)

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Ah, spring.

Today is the first day of spring. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the weather but is simply a recognition that the earth has tilted back towards vertical enough that the sun is now directly over the equator and, so, the time between sunup and sundown is exactly 12 hours everywhere on earth. (Of course science has refined these definitions such that this common understanding is approximate only. Still, it’s good enough for government work, as they say.)

IMG_0634We’re not out riding just yet though, except for the few diehards who refuse to be daunted by below freezing temperatures and icy, sandy, salty roads. Like the fellow I saw today carefully negotiating a pot-holed, puddled, street on his full dresser. As well, our lane remains an icy, muddy mess, virtually impassable by two wheels, so I’m not going anywhere soon.

Still, the sense that weather-spring is on the way is palpable. One can feel the heat of the sun. The snow banks inch back a little more each day. The forest critters are becoming much more active and aggressive as they seek out mates and chase away the competition. And summer birds are starting to reappear at the feeders. All evidence that old man winter is on his last legs, for another few months, at least.

It all lends an air of lightness to the soul that almost makes the long, dark winter experience worthwhile.