Thursday, 26 March 2009
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
It didn't take long for me to decide to start fitting everything back in place. I took some time to check the motor - tranny - rear wheel alignment. All looked really good. I made my mounts from a drawing garnered from the Internet so I was a little surprised when I confirmed to myself everything lined up first time! I know the stock mounting holes are drilled 1/32" oversize for alignment purposes, but you never end up with much free play - unless you use CAD I suppose.. Bingo!
I collected the frame today from the powder coaters. I've never had a frame coated before so I can only compare it to paint but it's got a stock motorbike kind of look - sort of industrial & pretty cool for this bike. They were certainly fast - getting the job done in 1 day. Thank you Banbury Powder Coating. Tel: 01295 278233. It's great, powder because assembling the bike you don't really have to be too careful as the finish is really difficult to scratch..
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
I'm still on target to do the final assembly of the bike at the weekend. It will just about be finished then & awaiting the primary belt drive, clutch and some gearbox parts, plus the ignition. I need a few weeks to get the dough together for those parts but the main thing to me is the fabrication and paint is out of the way. I finished off the final welding jobs today, tomorrow I collect the frame from the powder coaters and finish painting a few small parts black. I sent in the sissybar as well as my oilbag to chrome, those will be ready for the weekend. The last thing to take care of is the tank which I planned to pinstripe, but I might leave that & just polish the lacquer a bit.
Friday, 20 March 2009
I have decided final assembly of the bike will be next weekend. It's time to get on with a few other things so I want to get it finished.. Monday or tuesday I'm going to take my frame to the powder coaters & the oilbag, with a return installed into the top now, will go to the chrome platers. I have the week then to get my tank striped and cleared over. I have a little welding left too but I need a couple of fresh tungstens. I'm onto the neatest stuff although it all looks pretty good. I always enjoy creating a bike but in the end it's nice to finish too. Sometimes you got to say to yourself "enough.."
I decided to call up some buddies & see what powder coaters they'd used.. I got a tip about a firm 1 hour away that does a good job quickly. I called them up - the price was pretty reasonable for a complete service - blasting, zinc plating and powder finish. It gets very tiring sometimes trying to put together a bike for the minimum outlay. I just have to accept there are some processes I can't handle myself and paint is one of them. The mess and disruption (in a domestic environment) sucks, the paint fumes suck and the slow drying time sucks! OK I have made a decent fist of spraying the fender & the tank should be OK when it's done if my luck holds out but it's a bit too touch and go for my liking. At least I feel I understand my strengths and weaknesses after this build. I should've known really 'cuz I've been there before with home painting.. lack of funds meant I tried it again. For the last time tho'. Dues paid.
Hey you know what? The brush on enamel worked worse than the spray. Holy shit! I didn't think I could get a crappier finish but I did! Suck it up.. This paint was drying quicker than I could straighten out the brush marks - OK it's a nice spring day, but damn this stuff if it didn't dry in a few secs! I ended up with chronic brush drag. I gave up.. Oh well, shit happens. Hey that has got to be chop build rule #3. Right, time for an executive decision: let paint dry, get the frame to a friend that does sand blasting and get it back to steel & over to a powder coaters or painter - I don't care really, just as long as I don't have to do the stinking job.. Doh!
You can't really see the problem in this photo but this is where I cut one of the dozens of heavy runs off the frame this morning.. I made a total hash of the paint with rattle can that's for sure! So, I worked on those runs and sags for an hour or so, flatted back the rest - spirit sagging too somewhat, then got my new brush and the enamel paint...
Thursday, 19 March 2009
I still have a couple hours welding left to do tomorrow morning. Just the front pipe to finish, a return to put into the oilbag & the 'bars to final weld - I left the part I want the neatest 'till last! The amount & sheer variety of welding has brought my technique on in leaps & bounds - downside to that is you start to get picky - I was cursing my own crude tacks (made some weeks ago when I had the wrong Argon - for MIG - to be fair..). I worked 'round the rear pipe flange trying to stay neat but had to grind off a couple of gnarly tacks along the way! Perfection sucks but in welding it's a worthy goal IMO. Oh the trials.. yes, well I painted my frame with enamel rattle can, doing a frame is a whole diff ball-game to a tank or fender! I had forgotten just how much paint you get thru and how many hours sucking in those shitty fumes.. It sucked. I ended up with a load of runs.. Big old runs! I thought about it all evening & realised the finish I wanted for the frame was really a brush finish anyway. Traditional.. Tomorrow I'm going to cut off those big drips, flat back a little & hit it with the enamel again - this time with a brush..
Are tribulations the good parts? OK well if they are I'll start with welding progress. I did all the welds on the frame to a finished standard yesterday and today I began on the ancilliary components like the top motor mount shown here. This looked a bit delicate which was OK in an arty way of course, but when I'd welded it thoroughly I was sure it was stiff enough to do it's job. The upper part in the pic is stainless steel - the other parts mild steel.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
I then systematically worked around the frame finishing off all the welds - mainly parts I have added since Martin Peters TIG'd the large frame joints. I inspected my welds as I went, they fell into 3 categories really - seams, overwelding for appearance & beefing up fillets on a few safety-related areas. I got everything done - it took about 4 hours almost non-stop welding. I'm going to prep the frame for paint tomorrow so I left the ancilliary parts like bars and pipes to be welded whilst the frame paint dries. I did do a bit on the sissybar first though - that's finished completely. Boy you can't beat doing a lot of welding for improving your technique, I was really flying by the end of the day. It's a kind of rite of passage for me this project because I have long dreamt of being able to weld really neatly & a few runs I did were virtually indistinguishable from Martin's work. I find the more you do the easier the really fiddly bits become, like tube shapes, getting into tight corners and dealing with problems that sometimes arise. Only downside was I knocked my beloved U.S. auto mask on the floor and cracked the shell a bit - but the workings were OK so no harm done.
This morning I re-checked my brake caliper alignment once again before putting one weld seam on each mounting tab with the rear end still assembled. I then stripped the bike back to the bare frame. This took less than 1 hour including removing the motor by myself (important that, you can never get help exactly when you need it!). I remembered one of the first reasons I wanted to design a bike was because I got frustrated working on something someone else had designed & I ended up hating the very thing I started out loving - does that make sense? I would build a bike that was easy to work on and strip down - something often neglected by the "boffins" upstairs or maybe they just make all those bolts inaccessable deliberately..
Monday, 16 March 2009
OK bugger off Austin.. I began the final lap on the bike build today with a few corrections to parts that have been bothering me. Firstly I reduced the sissy bar height at the same time as going over the welds to make it super-neat looking as I'm not planning on polishing or plating it at present on the grounds of expense. I'm very satisfied with the results of that little exercise. I also tweaked my trick manifold to minimise & even out the gaps to the head - although it will have rubber mounting seals, I wanted to ensure it has the best possible fit. I added in a small tab to the lower lhs frame rail for fitting a chain tensioner if that is required - I hope not.. Next I refitted my rear pipe end section, the ERW seam was visible and again I don't plan on plating the pipes so it just looks better now. That was about it and tomorrow I will start on finishing the rest of the welding including over-welding the pipe seams to get them really neat. I will be stripping the frame down to get it onto the bench where I can get at the welds so I can do them really neat & quickly. There's quite a bit to do but it won't take too long. I might post a few pics tomorrow. When the welds are done I will prep the frame for paint. The re-cleared fender is drying out slowly: I just hope the finish stays shiny as I won't flat back & polish if I don't need to. I need to flat the tank back in a week or 2, then pinstripe it (or have someone do it) then I can put the last clear on - probably 7 or 8 coats over the pinstripes - I prefer that method myself. Paint makes me nervous though, period..
Saturday, 14 March 2009
I'm watching World's Greatest Videos at the moment on cable. No bear with me please.. A truly momentous ending to today's show. First the clip of a Navy dude sucked clean into a jet's intake nozzle. Shocking, truly, but the guy lived! Then the clip of a zoo employee working behind an elephant - the elephant gets the urge to sit on this guy - his head goes straight up the elephant's arse.. Literally.
Hey I lost a follower. What happened? Oh well. Hmm.. Uma Thurman circa Paycheck. Hot or wot? Hot is the answer you're looking for. I love that film too - some films I just have to watch over - another one is American Beauty. Paycheck's a great little - almost B movie with Ben Affleck as a computer wiz who reverse engineers (rips off) technology for a nasty Bill Gates-a-like mogul. When he's done his memory is wiped before he gets his pay check, you have to check it out - excellent movie.
A friend of mine came calling today as he hadn't seen the build for a few weeks & he knows I like to crack on.. He turned up on his Evo - it's a dyna - something. I had a feel of the weight of his bike by leaning it about a bit and when he'd left I tried the same thing with mine. Woah.. big BIG difference - mine really does feel like a little Triumph or something. It's very light! I still have the weight of the primary & clutch to factor in plus a few bits like the chain etc & my mate's bike was probably fuelled-up but I would still estimate I'm in the region of 100 lbs lighter - very likely more. Light weight is worth so much - more acceleration & braking performance & easy handling getting on and off..
The carb fits in there sweet, it nestles nicely against my right knee when I sit on the bike. I decided to make a deadline for myself to finish the bike off - so much as I can without major expense. I'm going to do all the final welding next week as it's been accumulating steadily. Later in the week when all the welding's done I'm going to fabricate my shifter pedal & make a few tweaks to some other parts before completely stripping the bike down to the frame for paint. I should be ready for final assembly soon after. I aim to get the bike finished for Easter, that gives me one month. Gulp!
Friday, 13 March 2009
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Tomorrow I'm going to weld that carb flange on fully and make up a neat mounting support. I also flatted-back my fender and re-cleared it with 8 coats as per the tank. Hopefully they will both look really good when the pin-striping and polishing is done in a few weeks.
I decided to put my fab & welding skills to the test & build an intake manifold for the Super B Gordo kindly donated. I kind of thought if I built something special it would accent the carb & give the bike a unique look. It's going to look quite aggressive with the super B kicked up and out. I will make up a support mount tomorrow so the actual manifold to port seals are not supporting the carb weight in any way. All good clean fun..
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
I was looking through a thread about Von Dutch on a popular custom motorcycle forum yesterday and I couldn't believe my eyes to read comments such as ".. druggy loser.." about the ground-breaking artist & craftsman - time was when being what the "straights" and non-bikers called a "druggy loser" was cool if not exactly compulsory within the motorcycle scene - never mind being a legendary pin-striper to boot.
How times change, sadly..
How times change, sadly..
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
"I make a point of staying right at the edge of poverty. I don't have a pair of pants without a hole in them, and the only pair of boots I have are on my feet. I don't mess around with unnecessary stuff, so I don't need much money. I believe it's meant to be that way. There's a 'struggle' you have to go through, and if you make a lot of money it doesn't make the 'struggle' go away. It just makes it more complicated. If you keep poor, the struggle is simple."
Kenneth Robert Howard.
Kenneth Robert Howard.
Ah.. the ripe smell of controversy! It seems that some revere him & some despise him but Kenneth Howard aka Von Dutch (1929-1992) - the legendary pinstriper and customiser will always be remembered for his incredible work as well as his sometimes eccentric behaviour. I was casually surfing the interweb this evening with the master in mind when I happened on a most interesting blog: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=24433961
Hey if you go there come back soon...
Hey if you go there come back soon...
I got hold of a couple of stainless welding rods from Martin, the guy who made such an amazing job on my frame. I finished my top motor mount by welding some mild steel bar to the stainless lower section. I will finish off the welds when I remove it from the bike.
Faded of course, but the pinstripes are still visible on the Wassell tank. Will it go to Japan? Will it be restored? Will it be bought for a U.S. museum? I hope the latter.. It should be bought by the State of CA for posterity - not Jay Leno or someone who's gonna lock it away!
The repainted bike - this pic taken in the 70's. Orange was Johnny's favorite color but Von Dutch warned him he was doing something "special". When night rolled in the orange paint changed hue to red - the first use of color-changing paint the vendor says.
Is it genuine? Probably. I hope so - but in today's climate & since forever some folk have put profit first so I suppose that's where having providence comes in. The Ebay listing is fascinating reading so go search Von Dutch Triumph on Ebay.com..
Monday, 9 March 2009
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Currently all over TV screens, this ad drives me nuts! OK nobody wants hoards of folk driving around uninsured, crashing into law-abiding Freemasons and stuff but - get real dude, this is crazy crushing cars! Not only does the crushing consume energy but the energy wastage replacing them is f'kin criminal. I mean we are facing global meltdown as it is, if carbon fuel use continues un-checked so this is a real dumb-assed policy. Fine the offenders, fling 'em in jail or how 'bout auctioning off those cars? Just crushing 'em that's sabre-wielding Big Brother bullshit, not to mention totally insane.
Jeremy Clarkson. Fuck yes, get this jerk off of the TV now and into Room 101. There isn't a thing in the known solar system that he can't taint with his "witty banter" and smug commentaries. I don't care how cool the subject - hand built third scale Ferraris, the Confederate Airforce, I just gotta watch with the sound off or I'm going to throw something at the set. Top Gear (R.I.P.)? That's dumbed-down to the point it's target audience has gotta be hormonal X-box generation teenagers with the attention span of a crack addict. I mean how many moody opposite-lock clips on 100 ft wide runways does a guy need to see? Wanna see stuff blown up? Watch YouTube. Shit.. Then there's his dress sense! Or is that a joke that I'm not getting? My condolences to his wife and family, you have my sympathy. I mean that. Ain't I a bitch..
Saturday, 7 March 2009
I really took my time & got the minimum orange peeling possible -for my hands anyways. I reckon I should be ready to flat back & polish in 3 weeks when the clear has fully hardened. Then I will get to the pin-striping. I'm considering gold or even brown to get the balance back to a 70's flavor.
Friday, 6 March 2009
It was exciting hitting the tank with a weirdo green shade - shot thru a washing machine ball bag.. It's edgy & it might be crap-ish or it might be amazing.. Whatever, I made sure the masking was really sharp and accurate so I have leeway with the other factors.. I ain't Robert Pradke so I'm not expecting awesome results. It's better than black I'm certain.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
It's the little details all over this bike that make it special - hopefully the pics will do it justice. There's some interesting contrasts too: amazing hand finishing but also a few bolts that haven't been trimmed as neat as we would probably do given time of course.. testament to the super-short build time.
It was weird somewhat, because when we got back Hiro was asking me what Shinya might have used this and that machine for and were they any good? The main engineering on the production bikes is done in Japan and so I guess they wouldn't know so much about one-off builds. Great crew there in Vegas though & they couldn't have made me feel more welcome!
Unfortunately I didn't get to hear this engine make noise. We brought 3 bikes out in a trailer but I did get to ride one of them for a few minutes anyway. Till it ran out of gas.. As I admired the astonishing workmanship Hiro told me there was machinery in the Zero plant in Vegas that Shinya used on the Biker Buildoff - untouched since that day apparently.