Some of the tools I use

Discussion in 'Fettling Forum' started by Reese Williams, Aug 5, 2021.

  1. Reese Williams

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    I’ve noticed several threads recently here and on other forums and GPA related Facebook pages about tools and what people use for fettling lanterns, lamps and stoves. I had just finished a lantern I’d been working on and was picking up the tools and clearing the bench so I decided to lay them out and write up this little essay. Mostly this is to help newcomers to the hobby, to solicit some new ideas for my own benefit and pass on a couple of things I found that help me. There is absolutely no sense or spirit of “you have to do it my way” intended in any of this. These are just some of the tools and techniques I’ve found that work for the way I do things. If you’ve got a different way of doing a particular task then great, share and maybe I’ll start doing it your way.
    This is my baseline set of tools to disassemble a lantern or stove.
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    Starting in the upper left; a flashlight to inspect the inside of the fount, a good set of hollow ground screwdrivers. This is the set Chapman Tools put together for CCF a few years ago. It is their 9600 basic set. Hollow ground screw drivers will help you not bugger up screw heads. They still sell this set for under $40. The bottle is simply water with a few drops if dishwashing liquid. That is my leak detector. Fill the bottle half full or less, shake vigorously to make suds the spread some bubbles on the various connections. With the fount pressurized leaks will blow bubbles in the soap suds. I find this quicker and easier than a dunk test as I can do it on the workbench. There are times when it is still necessary to resort to full immersion, especially if you suspect holes in a fount. Next is a telescoping magnet for retrieving burnishing shot from the inside of a fount. Coarse and fine steel wool. Coarse for cleaning/polishing bails on lanterns, fine for general cleanup and polishing. In the yellow cap is burnishing shot. As you can see from the pieces on the paper, it comes in different shapes. It is normally used in a tumbler to polish metal castings but I found it’s excellent for the BB dance. The sharp edges and different shapes do a good job of cleaning up the inside of a fount. I bought 5 pounds, probably 40 years ago, not knowing any better. A pound would be more than you need. A plain old Q-tip. Makes one of the best cleaning tools going.
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    This was just a couple drops of soapy water from the leak detector bottle and a bit of scrubbing,
    Below the screwdrivers a piece of leather. In this case the top piece out of an old pair of loafers I was throwing out. Used to pad fuel caps and other things you need to grab with pliers to loosen. A plastic film canister with about ½ inch of oil in the bottom. Drop your dry pump leather in there and let it sit while you’re doing other things.
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    Film canisters and pill bottles also help organize the over-crowded tool/parts box.
    Bottom row, a set of decent quality wrenches. These six will do most of the work, especially for Coleman products. Some of the other brands use some bigger sizes, Preway pumps, for example. Two jeweler’s screwdrivers sized to fit fuel cap gaskets. I don’t like burning out gaskets and find I can chisel and scrape out the hardest ones in under five minutes with these and a small mallet. More on that later. Check valve tool, not absolutely required but if you have it, it only takes seconds to remove, clean and reinstall the CV. Easy to make it part of every rebuild. And once you’ve buggered up a CV and maybe ruined a fount you’ll wish you had bought the tool. The small Vise Grips are handy for holding small parts when cleaning, especially with a wire wheel. Channel locks for fuel caps and other things that haven’t come loose in many years. Should always be used along with the piece of leather.
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    This is the second line of tools including some special items I’ve made or bought. A propane torch. I’ve found the best way to remove a valve from a fount (Coleman, don’t do this with a Preway) is to strip the valve, the apply heat with the torch to the valve until the sealant around the fount bung bubbles, then grip the valve (with leather padding) in a bench vise and use the strap wrench around the rim of the fount to loosen it. Softening the sealant with heat prevents bending the fount. Next to the torch, some sort of penetrating oil. Kroil, PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench, whatever you prefer as long as it’s not WD40 which is not a penetrating oil or a rust preventative. I make up a 50/50 mix of ATF and acetone to use in an oil can. On the left is a little gismo given to me by a member here. It is a rubber stopper with a piece of aluminum tubing to which is attached a piece of neoprene tube. You adjust the length of tubing below the stopper to reach the bottom of the fount, push in the stopper and work the pump to empty the fount. It gets a lantern fount bone dry in most cases. Next an oil filter wrench to remove the burner on 502 stoves. The pliers may have another name, I call them duck-bill pliers. The tips of the jaws are wide and thin and they are perfect for pushing and twisting a paper towel into a pump tube to clean out the very bottom. Great for holding small parts too. The thing that looks like a pencil is a machinist’s scribe. It has a hard, sharp point and works well for cleaning hard things out of small places. It even works to scrape broken packing out of the threads in gland nuts. To the right of that, a good old fashioned monkey wrench. I find I like it better than a crescent wrench. I clamp the handle in the bench vise then turn early model 220s upside down and hold the valve to unscrew the fount. Beside the wrench are some rubber plugs I use to plug the pump tube, bung and fuel port if I’m washing or painting the outside of the fount. Also a fuel cap to protect the threads when painting a fount. The wine cork is cut down on one end so I can screw a fuel cap on it to paint the cap. Below the pliers is a steel scribe, pointed on both ends. It is long enough to clean the very bottom of a pump tube when you have a badly deteriorated pump leather that has left a lot of debris in the groove around the check valve. The piece of pipe is just a 1/8 galvanized pipe that will screw into a 242, 200, 200a fount to make a handle for painting or polishing. The two mallets are multi-purpose. The wooden one only weighs a few ounces. I use it to drive the jeweler’s screwdrivers to get out extra hard fuel cap gaskets. It is also good to smack the end of a wrench to loosen stuck nuts. Often a sharp rap will loosen a part that slow steady pressure on a wrench might bend. The rubber mallet weighs one pound and is mostly for hitting the wrench on the CV removal tool. Between the mallet handles are silver things are pin vises. They have a collet in the end and are useful for holding screws while cleaning them on a wire wheel. The largest will hold a fuel cap screw, the smallest will hold the screws from an early style two screw pump cap. Next down just another scribe/scraper/pick. On the bottom right a piece of wooden dowel, slotted and fitted with a piece of scotch brite. Wrapped around the dowel it works to polish pump tubes. Between the dowel and mallet is a piece of wire, hammered flat and shaped on one end for packing loose graphite crumbs into tip cleaners that have worn packing. On the lower right a pair of scissors for cutting mantle strings. Lower center, the nut is a 220 generator nut with a piece of sheet brass soft soldered on top to close the hole. Inside I put a viton pip. I screw it down in place of a generator to leak test a new assembly. With it in place I can pump up a fount, open the valve and leak check the valve to fount, valve stem, tip cleaner and pump all at the same time and don’t have to worry about losing pressure out the generator. The gray piece next to it is actually threaded to screw in to replace the tip cleaner so you don’t crush the opening in the valve when removing or installing an early 220 type valve. Dean Williams made them up a few years ago. Below that are a 10-32 and 8-32 screw to hold 3-piece cap inserts in the vise while cleaning out old gaskets.
    I also make use of a wire wheel, but usually not the $7 kind you buy at the big box store. Those are fine for taking the paint off of a fount or dealing with really bad rust. The wheel I use is called a carding wheel and is normally used for polishing bluing jobs on firearms. The wheels run about $50 but will last for years. They are a very fine bristle wheel and can be used for cleaning up all sorts of GPA parts. With practice you can develop a light touch and remove dirt and corrosion without leaving the telltale marks of a wire wheel. The wheel on the right is several years old and even though it is nearly worn out it gets almost as much use as the newer on on the left.
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    Harbor Freight tools are a lot like Sportsman's Guide stuff, 95% junk, 3% silver and 2% gold. One of the nuggets I found there was this buffer.
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    Sold for $50 new, I've used and abused it for about 5 years now and it's still going strong.
    Last but not least the electrolysis set up. The tub is big enough for a 413 case (barely) but it's the easiest way to deal with rust. The two sticks shown each hold 3 old lawn mower blades as sacrificial anodes. Power comes from 4 laptop power bricks and a regulated power supply that has 3 12V-3A outlets. You can drop a crusty burner frame ii and while you're fettling the fount and valve it's cooking away getting rust free.
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    By the fact that I live in the US this has been somewhat Coleman-centric as those are what I find most and what I work on most. Tilleys and Vapalux are thin on the ground here but the principals are the same and many of the tools and techniques work across brands.

    I realize this has been pretty long winded but I hope it stirs some conversation and pictures of things you’ve come up with to do the job better or easier.
     
  2. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Nice! I've built up a similar range of tools over the years and I don't think I'll be stopping any time soon!
     
  3. MYN

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    That's a nice comprehensive write-up there.
     
  4. peterthevet

    peterthevet Subscriber

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    Very nice post - thanks for your insights.
     
  5. F. bruce kuda United States

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    Thank you-- a good review of "basic need items"-- should be able to deal with just about any thingthat might arise !
     
  6. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Sometimes you need to make your own tools which is what I did to remove the centre screw from a Coleman 3 piece fuel cap. It had been tightened ridiculously tight at some point in the past so I made myself a clamping jig from a design I saw on one of Camp Wounded Dog Workshop's YouTube videos. Thanks fella, without your idea the wretched screw would still be stuck fast!

    Here's my version made from offcuts from NewCo in Fort William. They very kindly allowed me to raid their scrap bin and pretty much take what I wanted. I can see myself taking some more trips down there!

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    Here's the dual cap in position.

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    And back on the tank again.

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    I had to work with what I had laying around so as I didn't have any hex head 8mm bolts I made do with pozidrive headed machine screws and ground 13mm flats on them so I could clamp everything good and tight with a spanner. Once it was secure in the jig, the fuel cap centre screw gave no resistance at all, enabling me to replace the O ring very easily.

    The 220x is nearing completion but the check valve needs removing to sort out some issues, possibly a full replacement as the slot looks slightly damaged. I will post about this when I've made myself an extraction tool.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021
  7. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I ordered a 1/4 inch, 32 tpi die from these guys and they seem like a professional outfit. I've yet to use the die but they stock an impressive range of non-standard sizes and even sell complete sets at competitive prices.

    BTW... I am in no way connected to them whatsoever but they were the best source for the specific tool I needed.
     

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  8. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Used it this morning and it did a great job!
     

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