Update: Dnepr Reverse Lever Modification

With morning temperatures in the single digits I wasn’t up to doing any major work on the Dnepr project today.  Instead, I focused on a small mini-project that I could work on mostly indoors.  For reasons I cannot explain, I never liked the dark mustard-colored plastic knob on the Dnepr’s reverse lever.  Since I’m going for more of a vintage look for the bike, I figured that a wooden knob would look nicer.  BMW used wood on some of its hand controls in the early days and they looked great.

I didn’t want to get into wood fabrication work, so I set off searching the web for a small wooden knob.  Proving that just about anything can be found on eBay, I found a seller in Ashington, West Sussex, England, who appeared to have just the piece I needed.  $6 for a set of 4 wooden tool handles and $5 to ship them.  Certainly reasonable prices.  These handles are designed for use on awls or files, for the serious woodworker.  For me, they are Dnepr reverse lever knobs.

I took a rotary tool and cut around the original plastic knob until it came loose.  Not much on the Dnepr is over-engineered, but this knob was incredibly secure – obviously molded in place.  I reshaped the tip of the steel lever on a grinder, and drilled a few holes in it to help give the adhesive something to grab.  I then drilled a series of holes in the wood handle to form a slot.  The drill press made this work fast and easy.

I intended to use a regular wood glue like Titebond, but I came across something in my adhesives inventory that I didn’t recall buying … JB Weld Wood Weld.  It’s a 2-part epoxy that has a wood-like appearance, and should be relatively hard when cured.  I filled the handle slot with epoxy, as well as the lever tip and the holes I drilled into it to ensure that I had epoxy in all the right places.  I tapped the handle into place and wiped away the excess epoxy.

Hopefully the handle will stay in place – I think it will.  It will certainly look nicer than the ugly mustard-colored plastic knob, even if nobody notices.