Before I did anything else I broke out the vernier caliper and measured a sample link on the bike's chain; I didn't want to break the chain without knowing I had a link in hand to repair it.
#50 master link, $2.60 at Ace Hardware. Whee!
While I was inspecting the chain, trying to figure out which was the rivet link, I noticed several links were stiff--I could put a kink in the chain and it wouldn't straighten out until it hit the rear sprocket--and sometimes not even then. This steeled my resolve, so I got to work with the air tools.
It took more time than I had hoped it would to break the chain. My die grinder did a nice job of taking one link's pins right down to the side plate, but I could not get the plate to separate. So I grabbed the cutoff tool, burned the side plate in half, and then I was able to chisel the side plate pieces off, and pull off the chain.
And yeah, the damn chain was stiff.
Got a pie plate (from one of the Caramel Pecan Silk Supreme pies I had this past holiday season) and curled up the chain as best I could, then made with the brake cleaner and brass wire brush. That took perhaps half an hour to do both sides (turning every so often just to soak one side in the accumulated solvent) but once that was done, the chain was nice and free. No stiff links now!
I pulled it out of the solvent to let it dry, then cast about for something to soak it in; finally I went with an oil drain pan. I dumped the remaining brake solvent into it and swished it out; after wiping with paper towels I had it more than clean enough for the next step: I coiled up the chain, lay it in the bottom, and poured a quart of motor oil on it.
Now it'll soak over night. Tomorrow, before I cut the grass, I'll take it out and hang it over the pan to let it drain; once that's all done, back on it goes.
When all was said and done, there was a 1/16" thick layer of rust and crud in the bottom of the pie plate. It amounted to about a heaping tablespoon, all told. The chain looks basically new now that it's been cleaned, though if I had a parts washer that used actual solvent (instead of Windex) I could have gotten it cleaner. But it'll do nicely, and it'll certainly work better than it did before.
* * *
All of this I did after going to a graduation party for my pastor's kid. He graduated on Wednesday and the parsonage is a short walk from the bunker, so I would have been remiss if I hadn't gone. Besides--the food was chicken fajitas and it was excellent.
I was only at that party for two hours, so it's not like I stiffed my niece last week. Jeeze. (But the hours were more convenient and the trip there and back was shorter.)
* * *
So we've got a couple of funny things from AoSHQ which I just have to comment on:
Obama campaign misses the McCain Punching Bag. Even though I think Romney is just Obama without the tan, I have to admit that at least Romney is running for the office like he wants it, unlike McCain. Shit, McCain ran such a pathetic campaign I'm surprised he got any votes other than mine. WTF.
Ace says, "...[I]f McCain were running against Obama with a record of failure and economic depression, even McCain would be blasting him on this, too." (Emphasis his.) I'm not so sure about that! McCain didn't attack Obama on anything because he didn't want people to say raciss and mean-spirited and all the things they ALWAYS! say about Republicans who run like they want to win.
The other good one? "Awesomely Stupid: MSNBC Finds The Sliver Lining In Double-Dip Recession: At Least Gas Prices Won't Be Going Up, Since No One Has Any Money For Summer Trips". Whee! Isn't that wonderful? You can find all kinds of good things to say about a depression if you really try and want to make your boy in the White House look as good as possible!
* * *
Apparently unemployment went up to 8.2%, even the way BLS is fudging the numbers.
Five months left in Obama's first term, and it looks as if the chickens are coming home to roost. That might be a good thing for us; and then it might not.
* * *
Anyway, now it's 9 PM. I've had dinner (2x faux filet-o-fish with fries) and a jug of Pepsi, and feel enormously better. Now I think I'll see if I can't get a couple of those instances done.