Getting a Handle on it
Letting whimsy get the better of me in the brake handle department
Once in a while we're all allowed to get a little goofy, when we're building things. Of course, some folks, like old Big Daddy Roth, raised goofy to a higher art form. Maybe that's who I was thinking of when I finally solved my emergency brake handle delimma.
That damn emergency brake had been dancing around the edges of my mind for a long time as I designed different types of conventional handles. In fact, I actually built one that was a tube-within-a-tube with a spring and tooth running over a crude little ratchet gate. Then I noticed my old 1/2" drive ratchet handle laying in my scrap box.
This particular handle was my very first ratchet handle. In fact, it was the one my dad gave me when I was building the car the first time. I was probably 16 years old.
In recent years the old handle (made by Crescent) had gotten a little notchy and hard to work with and I eventually ignored it since probably a half dozen other ratchet handles of different makes and models (no Snap-Ons for us poor folk, though) had wandered into my life. That night, however, I reached down and realized how much heft it had and I instantly invisioned it acting as a ratcheting brake handle.
I'd like to say I had the thing all worked out so I could just pop the old handle in there and have a functioning brake,but, truth is, I came up with four or more possibilities, but none worked better than this one did. The sequence to use is;
1-Use a socket as the mounting ferrule (I finally found a good use for a 22 mm metric socketwhere DID I get a metric socket? I sure as hell didn't buy it.)
2-Make a lever arm and weld to the ratchet head to attach the emergency cable brake to.
3-weld an extension to the rotation/ratcheting part of the handle to make it easier to change direction.
While I was welding around on that handle, I was constantly aware of the heat going into the mechanism and was worried it would warp and wouldn't work. When I was all finished, however, I couldn't find any place that the ratchet system wasn't improved in terms of the wa it worked. Of course, taking it apart after 40 years of use and cleaning it probably helped too.