You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

In the Garage: Room to wrench

Driving.ca logo Driving.ca 2018-07-24 Greg Williams
© Provided by Driving.ca

Growing up on a grain farm west of Saskatoon, Ryan Schan was introduced to all things mechanical at an early age.

Research

“My dad’s a third-generation farmer,” Schan says, adding, “but he did go to mechanic’s school before taking over the farm.

“He’s handy, and he’s into old cars. I came by my mechanical interest honestly by being out in the shop with my dad. When I was young, he fully restored a 1928 Model A and did most everything himself. Usually, I was holding the screwdriver or trouble light and would pass him wrenches.”

As Schan got older, he’d drive some of the farm equipment and became involved in maintaining the implements. But his main interest is motorcycles.

“One year I got a dirt bike for my harvest pay,” he says. “I had that bike through high school but sold it to pay off my truck. I wish I’d kept it.”

When Schan, now 28, finally got a stable job and some money to spend he began looking at bikes and three years ago bought two Yamaha RD400s.

“There were some cool parts with the bikes, and that started the avalanche; I’m now up to seven or eight bikes,” he says.

Schan’s house in Kindersley, Saskatchewan features an attached single car garage. He says he could use a double or a triple car garage—and has never parked his truck in the single garage since living there.

“I had to build a lift to free up floor space and store bikes,” Schan says of the unique device that he created from a dismantled car hoist.

“I’d been scheming for a while,” he says, “My dad and I were always building crazy stuff together, including a crane. I had a whole bunch of different drawings, but my dad found this car hoist for cheap, and I modified it to fit. I cut it apart and built the tables and wheel chocks and ramps. You can swing the bike away from the wall, and then rotate the bike 360 degrees around.”

Schan usually spends a couple of nights a week in his garage and will often work until midnight or later. Here’s what we learned about Schan’s workspace, tools and projects.

Q: What tools are in your collection and where did they come from?

A: I’ve got a little bit of everything, including basic hands tools and some specialty stuff for bikes. At home, I had a basic set of wrenches, screwdrivers and such but dad had every tool you could need so I never really bought anything until I was on my own. I’m not buying Snap-on tools; for as much as I use them and what I do with them, I can get by with Mastercraft. I did get a chop saw and a cutting torch set up from the family that’s in my collection, and I’m looking at getting a MIG welder.

Q: Which tool or tools do you use most often?

A: It’s a basic 120-piece socket set from Napa – my dad gave it to me, he won it in a curling bonspiel. I’ve been using it forever, I’ll take it with me in the truck and it’s always with me in the garage. I keep all my stuff in original cases so they’re easy to grab.

Q: How did you learn to use the tools? Did you go to school, did someone teach you, or do you watch YouTube videos?

A: I didn’t train for anything mechanical, but I like to learn thiungs by doing. I did a lot of 4-H as a kid, and their motto is ‘learn to do by doing’. I like to take stuff apart, clean it up and put it back together. If I can get my hands on a service manual, I’ll read that first if it’s something I’ve not done before.

Q: What’s the most important project in the garage right now?

A: That’s a tough call, they get shuffled around. I have a 1977 RD400 that’s my daily rider but I completely rebuild it every winter. I’ll pull the engine apart and change something, like the poritng and pipes – I can’t leave anything alone. I’m most excited about a 1973 Yamaha CT3 I just picked up – it’s a beautiful 175cc enduro but needs some TLC. It sat for about 25 years, and I’ve got a bunch of parts on order for it.

Q: Is there anyone else in the house or in your life interested in working in the garage?

A: No (and laughs). The reason I have all these bikes right now is because I don’t have anyone in my life to tell me not to buy them. I figure I can collect now and downsize in the future if I need to. Good bikes are getting a lot harder to find, because many original machines have been getting chopped up to build café racers.

If you have a workspace filled with tools, projects or memories and are willing to share, let me know; I’d be pleased to write it up. Email me at gregwilliams@shaw.ca

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from driving.ca

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon