Yesterday’s Polar Bear Ride was fun! (Someone even captured some photographic evidence!) Like most winter days in Oregon, the weather was light on the “polar” and heavy on the “pouring,” especially during the ride back to Bolty HQ. I’ve been riding almost all winter long, and one thing I’ve had to put up with is water droplets coating my visor and obscuring my vision. My gloves have excellent waterproofing, but no squeegee strip. This makes swiping at the visor with my hand completely ineffective.
I did some searching online and found a few places that sell small squeegees that fit on the finger of a glove. Unfortunately, the prices for these things online are outrageous — $14 plus shipping for a tiny strip of rubber! I also tried looking around locally, but none of the shops in my area carry such an item. There just had to be a better way. Enter the do-it-yourself finger squeegee! By following this guide, you too can have the power of the Squee!
This is a picture of my first prototype, just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. The Squee we’ll make in this guide will be slightly different, so pay attention.
- auto windshield wiper blade insert: I used a Trico 18in “nu-vision” refill. Almost any common wiper refill will work, as long as it has a plastic backing and rubber wiper.
- double-sided hook-and-loop, 3/4″ wide: It’s easiest if you use the double-sided kind (hook on one side and loop on the other), but you can also use the kind that has a strip of hook with another smaller strip of loop near the end (sort of like these cable wraps). 3/4″ seems like the best width, but 1/2″ will also work too.
- Dremel or small saw: Basically, something that can cut through thin plastic.
- X-Acto knife: Or the like.
- First, take a look at your glove. The Squee will work best snuggled against your index finger, with the strap around the first knuckle. The length of the Squee will vary depending on the size of your hand and the place where you decide to attach the strap to. If the Squee is too long, or the strap is placed too near the end, the other end will stick out too far and hit the clutch lever when you curl your fingers around the grip. A good starting point is 3 inches. If this sounds confusing, keep reading and the pictures will make things more clear.
- Next, take one of the windshield wiper blade refills and remove the rubber wiper from the plastic backing.
- Cut the plastic backing down to size using the Dremel or saw.
- Cut the rubber wiper the same size as the plastic backing.
- Now, slide the rubber wiper back into the channel on the plastic backing. Set the Squee against your glove. We’re looking for the sweet spot where the strap around the first knuckle will hold the Squee in place, but the end won’t stick out too far past the smallest knuckle. On this Squee, the cut for the strap ended up being about 3/4 of an inch in from the end.
- Remove the rubber wiper from the plastic backing. Take the X-Acto knife and, starting at the point you noted in the previous step, make a cut the same length as the width of the strap in the channel nearest the business edge of the wiper. Do not cut the wiper where it slides into the plastic backing! Here’s a picture showing the right location:
- Slide the wiper into the plastic backing and poke the strap through the cut you made, hook side out.
- Since I’m anal about these sorts of things, I did a test fit with my glove before I cut the strap down to size.
- Cut the strap, and you’re done! I left plenty of strap so I could adjust the fit to different gloves. I even found that you can make the strap tight enough to hold the Squee securely but loose enough to be able to take the glove off and put it back on without needing to remove the Squee first.
You may be wondering about the plastic backing remaining loose since we didn’t glue the wiper down or anything. I intentionally did it this way because the plastic backing seems pretty secure as it is and I wanted to be able to change out the wiper in the future if it got cracked or brittle. If it bothers you, you could probably use a small dab of hot glue or something similar to keep the plastic backing in place.
And here’s the finished result:
As you can see in the second picture, I can bend my index finger normally.
Today alternated between rain and sun. Sounds like a perfect time for an experiment! I took off to the north with gray clouds as my quarry. I found plenty of rain to sully my visor with and put the prototype Squee through its paces. The experiment was a complete success, which I punctuated with an excited “whoop!” shouted into my helmet. It’s amazing the little things that can bring joy to one’s life.