Most of the tire levers I have own did their job decently, so I didn’t
have to consider making my own. But few weeks ago I lost 2 of my set and I had to use a spoon to change the tire. Instead of buying a set of new ones, I decided to make my own using a broken seat shell I have saved for future projects. But first, I had to make the prototype out of a wooden stick. I wanted to try a different design, more effective than the conventional tire levels. By whittling the stick, I’ve managed to create the basic ‘hook’ I had in mind. This new tire lever would work slightly different. BY having a ‘hook-like’ prominent bend, instead of applying great force (with the great possibility to break it or damage your rim), you just use it in a smarter way (look at the end of this tutorial to learn how). It worked great and I decided to recreate it using plastic this time.
Step 1: Broken Seat Shell, Old Toothbrush, We Are Surrounded by Plastic!
This is the broken Seat shell I will use for my levers. You can use whatever hard and relatively thick piece of plastic you have available. Like an old toothbrush!
Step 2: Mark the Plastic Piece
Cut a big piece of it and mark the size and shape of your lever. It should look similar to a conventional one.
Step 3: Put It on a Flame Until It Becomes Soft Enough to Be Bend
Now the interesting part. Prepare a candle (or as I do, used oil from
your pan along with a floating piece of cork and some rope – you can buy a kit like this one) , and grab the end of the plastic piece with a pair of nose pliers. Apply force to bend it upwards as you hold it above the flame. When it’s soft enought it will bend easily. I suggest to bend 90 degrees like in the photo. I will explain later why. Leave it to get cold.
Step 4: Smooth It Out With a Razor
Then, using a razor (or a file if its a very hard plastic) make the edges smooth and turn it into the exact shape you want .
Step 5: Make a Hook at the Other End
How can you make it hook a spoke while you’re using the second one?
Easy. Just cut a small piece of plastic and create a hook. Then connect those two with a piece of rope or fishing line (I usually find them close to the sea).
Step 6: That's It!
That’s it! I made a fatter one for heavier use!
Step 7: How to Use Them
I am going to explain now, how you can use this lever. Instead of
applying huge amount of force to make the tire go over the edge of the rim, you can use the this lever (with a much more prominent bend) to pull outwards the edge of tire as close to the the rim as possible. That makes the job much easier.
Step 8: How to Use Them (2)
Also, this is quite important. With a hook-like end like this, you can
use the second lever vertically, “hooking” the loose edge of the tire close to your first lever and sliding it all the way across the rim to the point you want to use it on. That makes the work quicker, because you don’t have to work your way under the tire edge a second time (that’s usually harder), you only do it next your first lever where the tire edge is already raised and then you just slide it to the point you want to take it.