Mid 1983. A dusty room somewhere in Waterloo, Wisconsin. A case of Trek 460 frames fresh off the container ship from Japan rest in the background, a box of Sakae cranks in the foreground, maybe a workbench. A lone figure with a chainring bolt wrench and an allen key is putting rings on crank spiders, and he's out of grease. He installs the chainring bolts dry.
Tonight, I reinstall the bottom bracket and headset/fork/stem/handlebars on the 460. I have settled on a fixie conversion, convinced as I am that I have two 32-hole hubs that will work on the bike and can go ahead with a set of blue weinmann DP18's for the rebuild. I'm ready to put the crank back on, but I'm 99% sure I want to use the big ring only (to match the 22-tooth Surly cog in my parts bin) and I'm just as sure that I'll have to run it on the inside of the spider to get the proper chainline. The rings need to come off of the crank.
Lacking a chainring bolt wrench, I'm stuck with an allen key and the hope that the friction between the bolt and the rings will be greater than the friction between the threads of the bolt/nut combo. I apply pressure, more pressure. The bolt gives, sending my index finger's big knuckle into the teeth. I tie a rag around my hand and keep working. Three of the bolts give, the first one and one other do not. I search the shop for something that will stand in for a proper wrench, but nothing fits. How many times have I put what is possibly the cheapest bike tool in the universe in my Nashbar cart, and how many times have I taken it out at the last minute?
The crank will have to wait. I head upstairs for soap, a scrub brush, a bandage, and a bowl of homemade chocolate ice cram with Kate. Life couldn't be better.
Grease everything with threads, people. If not grease, Loctite. Someone, someday, will thank you.