Kyle's Top 5 Favorite Tools

Kyle's Top 5 Favorite Tools

Those that know me personally understand that I have a deep love connection with tools.

That includes old tools, new tools, good used tools and tools that I can make myself.

Today I wanted to go over my "top 5 favorite tools" that I use here at CBS. Some tools I rarely use and others tools I use throughout the day or week.

Some folks and customers despise purchasing tools especially when they only need to use the tool once for a specific job.

My opinion has always remained the same. If your working on a vintage Triumph, BSA or Norton motorcycle one should have the correct tools at hand no matter what the circumstances are or budget is.

Also another point, having the correct and quality tools makes working on a vintage British motorcycle so much more fun and motivating.

Well, without further ado let’s get through Kyle’s top 5 list.

(I’ll also put links and retail pricing at the end of each tool when necessary)


Top 5 Countdown

#5 - The Micrometer


Measuring A Triumph Crankshaft Using A Micrometer

Measuring a Triumph 350 crankshaft using a 1-2" (.0001) micrometer


A micrometer is a handheld measuring device very similar to a caliper. Both measuring units and offer precision results but do vary slightly in appearance and function.

Not all micrometers are created equal.. some manufactures offer digital or analog functions, while some measure in .001" and some down to .0001" for better accuracy.

Sizes range from 0-1", 1-2", 3-4" and so on..

I typically use this micrometer for more “precise” measurements from measuring roller bearings for big ends, lathe work, small ends or anything that falls in the 0-1” range that has to be measured in .0001" (tenths)

As you can see from the photo above, this unit is made in China.. a very high quality and accurate unit that’s also affordable.


Brand "iGaging"
Tool Type: 1-2" .0001" Micrometer
Price: $36.95
Source: eBay



#4 - The dial bore gauge


Dial Bore Gauge

 Measuring the inside diameter of a reamed crank bushing in a Triumph 350 case


A dial bore gauge is an extremely accurate way of measuring open and blind holes for taper, wear or an "out of round condition".

Dial bore gauges come in various sizes to work with different size holes. You can find some that work all the way down to .200" and all the way up to 6"

If you are working on cylinder heads, boring jugs, or valve guides and you need to check your work accurately, a dial bore gauge is a must.

What about telescopic and ball gauges?

Telescopic gauges and ball end gauges are also great for measuring holes and checking taper, wear etc too but you are going based off "feel".

With a dial you can visually see taper, worn condition or an undersized / oversized hole.

Brand "iGaging" / "Fowler"
Tool Type: Bore Gauge
Price: $40-1$150
Source: eBay


#3 - The Sunnen Honall


Sunnen Honall

Although hard to find today (and expensive) the Sunnen Honall tool makes Kyle's favorite tools list as #3.

Need to hone something precisely but don't own a rigid honing machine?

Well, the Sunnen Honeall is intended to be a "portable" honing device that is driven from a handheld electrical power-drill.

With all the features like a large Sunnen hone machine, the Sunnen Honeall will hone and straighten small bore holes such as valve guides, small end bushings, and many other small items while keeping them round.

When doing cylinder head work, you can't do much better then the Sunnen Honall unit.

What about ball hones?

Ball hones are great tools to have in your tool box.. they are affordable and easier to obtain for "quick" jobs.

I have found that the ball hone or "flex-hone" is not as accurate as using a rigid machine.

For quick, small work items in which you have to remove perhaps .001-.002" I would say a ball hone would be sufficient. Any large areas of material to be removed opens up the possibility of having a bore become "bell shaped" or  have an "hour glass" effect.


Brand "Sunnen"
Tool Type: Hone
Price: $250
Source: eBay


#2 - The Digital Caliper

Digital Caliper

Digital caliper manufactured by "EZCal" 0-6"

The handy dandy caliper should be no surprise to anyone.

Not only is it a caliper but it’s digital caliper and has 3 settings: fractions, metric and imperial which measures down to .0005”.

Although I do not use this tool for “precise” measuring, I use it while operating my lathe or if customers call / email and they need quick dimensions of a part.

Everyone should own a caliper... sometimes tape measures don’t cut it!

Brand "EZCal"
Tool Type: 0-6" Caliper
Price: $36.95
Source: eBay

#1 - The Harbor Freight "Mini Lathe"


Harbor & Freight Mini Lathe


With all the work and time that I have spent using this tool, I easily rate this unit as my #1 personal favorite and versatile tool.

Since purchasing my Harbor & Freight mini lathe many mods that had to be done in parts or tools where often times done on a Dremel or a bench grinder.

For only $669.99 this simple yet effective lathe has been able to produce some awesome parts and tools needed on various projects here.

I would easily categorize this as my #1 tool that I own and use weekly.

If you do not own a lathe but space and budget is limited this not a bad value.. however I do recommend going with a 7” x 14” for more room!

Click here for more info on the harbors and freight mini lathe


Brand "Central Machinery"
Tool Type: 7" X 10" Mini Lathe
Price: $669.99
Source: Harbor & Freight


Thanks for reading

I hope you have found today's post inspiring.

Remember, tools are your friend... don't be afraid to spend money or things that will make you a better mechanic.

If you would like to let us know your feedback, or if you have any questions regarding my favorite tools, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below.

Click here to read more blogs and tech like this post!

Thanks for reading and ride safe!

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