Tools, workbenches, and parts
Blog BOM Custom Design
Garage OSARM Repair Smörg

The Sportster garage

Once you've got and Iron Sportster, you need a place to put it. Soon after, you need a place to work on it. So then you need a place for your tools. And then you need a place for the hundreds of spare parts or rare assemblies not made in 40 years. You also need a place to hang out with your pals, to talk about-- what else --Iron Sportsters.


Iron Sportster garage
I used to take the Sportster Garage pretty seriously. I lived in a garage. Well, actually it was an industrial office space and shop. I called it the warehouse/shop/office/consulting-place megaplex. It served me well for 35 years. These days I am more conventional and I get along with a 2-car garage here at Tranquility Base in Florida. My shop was like the Winchester Mystery House. I kept building and adding to it to accommodate more and more Sportsters, tools, and machinery. Above are the bikes and old steel desks I used as workbenches. Also a nice Quincy compressor. One very nice thing about the shop was that it had 3-phase power.

You might not need 3-phase power in your garage, but here are some tips and tricks so you do a better job building, maintaining, and carefing for your Iron Sportster. I think the best tip is to stay organized. When I moved to Florida I found tools and parts I did not know I owned. Now I have everything put away nicely with pictures to record things.
Bottom of first column move down to the left

All those bikes in the first picture get worked on with all these tools. At least they used to until I got civilized and moved to a house in Florida. Things are re-arranged, but I still have most of the stuff in this picture.


Here is the same area ten years earlier, before I built the mezzanine. It shows a bike up on one of the old steel desks I use as workbenches. I got them at a used office furniture store in Silicon Valley. When I moved to Florida, I kept all these old steel desks. They are built like a battleship. You can also see the row of 8-foot fluorescent lights above the tool boxes, I learned long ago, if you can't see, you can see it.
move up a little to the right move down to the left

Then there are the parts. With Iron Sportsters, you get to have a lot of parts. In the old warehouse/shop/office/consulting-place megaplex, I kept the parts in home-made cabinets. I had already started using the office store tubs, but you can also see a lot of loose stuff, Those 3000-dollar Thunderheads sitting so close to the edge makes me nervous even now.

I have gotten the parts more organized over the years, as you can see from the "Parts" category in this section. One important factor is selling off a lot of parts, since I can always get them on eBay.
move up a little to the right move down to the left
Here is the other side of those shelves. Things are in a hodgepodge, and this is the era when I used cardboard boxes for a lot of stuff.

Don't cheap out. Go to Office Depot and buy You can just make out the flanges that run-top-to bottom so you can stack these tubs 8-high when you move to Florida.
move up a little to the right move down to the left
Next to the shelves I tossed in a bunch of fenders and other light stuff. I have since gotten much more careful and keep them separated in a wooden cabinet.


Things did get out of hand, like when I bought the 8000-pound Bostomatic mill. A mini-mill makes more sense.
move up a little to the right move down to the left
Hanging-load-cell-scaleA nice garage lets you do things like hang your bike with a come-along suspended by a load cell, so you can get an exact weight.

In case you were wondering, my 1977 Sportster weights 549.8 pounds. This scale broke, a tiny wire in the load cell. My pal fixed it so it is his now.
move up a little to the right move down to the left

Here is a rear view of the bikes waiting to go back into the garage after I built a mezzanine. I suspect if I bought a house with a 50-by-50 foot steel building for a shop I would fill it up. So now I am trying to get everything to fit in a two-car garage, with room for a car no less. I will keep you posted.


A nice garage also lets your mind run free, some times too free, like this open-primary project I eventually scrapped. But it was nice to have all the parts and the space to piece it together.

No matter if you work out of a little storage space in your apartment or if you do have a 50-by-50 foot shop, I hope you can get some tips from this section to help the care and feeding of your Iron Sportster addiction.
move up a little to the right move down to the left


The most recent post: A tarp to cover your garage door.

A tarp to cover your garage door.

Keep prying eyes out of your garage.

move up a little to the right move down to the left


The most recent post: Yet another Thunderhead tub

Yet another Thunderhead tub

I made a point of buying as many sets of Thunderheads as I could.

My favorite post: The transmission tub

The transmission tub

The transmission tub.
move up a little to the right move down to the left


The most recent post: Hansen socket trays

Hansen socket trays

Organize your sockets for quick use and to make sure you didn't lose any.

move up a little to the right move down to the left

border bar
Bottom of first column This is the end.