Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More tunes......

I'm stuck waiting for a delivery, can't run the machines, can't go grab a bite, probably shouldn't practice my troglodyte in undies ballet moves here in the shop so what hte hell. More tunes!

These come to us from another great friend of mine Troy who built the amazing 'Willow' CB360 that I'll be featuring here as soon as I know it's not going to screw him out of a print gig. I'm gnashing at the bit on that one....but I digress.

A standout in the field full of derivatives.....

Still in a semi-holding pattern so how about a tune or three.....

I learned about this kat from my friend Mike D. As far as lyricists are concerned this guy is a powerhouse. It's all about the subtext folks....

I like this one a lot, I 'grew up' on the family cattle ranch and really did love all that stuff so it strikes a cord. Doesn't hurt that this guy can write.....

And finally, in the interest of equal billing and all that shit; something perhaps more...visually...compelling.
You may need to turn down the volume....but you know, a picture equals a thousand words or some such rot..

Monday, August 29, 2011

Some more, albeit slow progress ......

  I had some more progress on the Sakura project, so I thought I'd play show and tell.
Here's the points cover nicely sandblast finished and accented with my hand made brass cup washers and stainless screws.

Here's the stator cover in counter point to the lovely wrinkle black on the main side cover. I added the brass accents to it too.

Here's the oil pump cover that some of you may have heard me pissing and moaning about in another venue. This is an integral part of the oil system on this engine. The pressurized oil from the pump enters a port at the bottom, axially and flows up to an outlet that dumps into the centrifugal oil "filter" which really is more of a rotary separator for those of you refugees from Chem. 101. From there it's ported back into the cover then up to the main oil galley at the base of the cylinder where it's then fed to the main bearings and up to the head. The internal porting required for proper function was a little hairy to get right but I did. The fins in this case are completely functional as they increase the surface area by ~220% and should help cool the oil on it's way to the important parts of the engine. Oh.....and it looks cool too with more stainless and brass!
Here's one of the few pics I have showing the 4mm recesses being milled in to allow the brass cup washers to seat into the individual pieces in a nice snug manner. You can also get a peek at what the machined pieces looked like before surface finishing. Raw baby....RAW!

Here's a shot of what the cup washers(sic) look like. They are a wee bit time consuming to make but the final product look so good it's more than worth the effort!  Actually, you all could lend a little insight if you're so inclined; I've been going back and forth about whether or not to add them to the screws holding the black side covers to the main cases. I like the idea but don't want to go overboard. Thoughts on cup washers, flat washers or none on the side cases? Let me know here in the comments it you feel like it or hit me up via email: homagemotoworks@gmail.com  

Addendum: initially I'd planned on leaving the main engine cases as they are, the faint patina that I liked so much at first looks like hammered dog shit now when shown next to the nicely finished bits. That's what happens when you start dressing parts up on these old bikes....other bits start looking shabby. Damnit.....
so chances are good I'll yard the engine out (it's really easy at this stage) and spruce up the main cases and cylinders a bit. Go big or go home...right?

No sense in letting it go to waste.......

"Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer" -Henry Lawson
Now THAT'S fresh! After racking and bottling, a wee dram is left without a home. There's no excuse for wasting half a bottle of damned good beer!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Do you hear crickets? I hear crickets.......

Been a bit quiet and light on content these past few days, but I'll have some nifty stuff to post up here tomorrow or the next day.

Also, stay tuned for another bike feature, some of you know of this one...I've snuck a couple pictures in for flavor but we're going to drop the big'un on ya soon be ready. In fact if i can finagle it, I'll have a couple nice 'features' in quick succession.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Another excellent quote for my collection, hope you dig it too.

"It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life." - Elizabeth Kenny
Let me tell you this; if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before and people continue to disappoint them. - Jodi Picoult

Monday...err...Tuesday.... is a good day for beer......

Here's the beer I started in late July, ready for the next step in the process. Yay beer.....
The racking process entails siphoning off the beer to leave behind any byproducts, usually inert yeast and various proteins.

If you click this picture you'll get a better idea of one byproduct we'll be getting rid of. Roughly circled are those nodules of crud I mentioned above. MMMmmmm.....not.

First bottle! I did what pretty much every brewing newby does given the chance. I went for the spiffy flip top bottles. They cost extra.....lots extra.
36 bottles plus a 'growler' for approximately $30 total not counting the bottles....and this ain't Coors light!

This bottle is deceptive looking; this is a liter size bottle (~32oz) as opposed to the 16.3oz bottles I used for everything else. Mr.B pulled it out for me when there was still some beer to be bottled. I think I'll call it Bubba.....

This was supposed to be my pointless Monday drek....now it's Tuesday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Read as: Get some, bitches!

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." 
- Teddy Roosevelt

(edit: added a strategic comma)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I should probably feel bad about the things that make me laugh

I'm pretty sure this makes me a mean man for laughing at this video as it looks like she cleans her own clock pretty well.

That's gonna leave a mark...........
I can find nothing that indicates that this video is faked, anyone else have any info on this one? I should check with my personal "SNOPES guy" before posting stuff, apparently I'm an easily duped idiot. This is indeed staged for some movie or another. Thanks for the heads up Michael!

I lucked out in college, I never woke up bleary and crusty needing to chew my arm off to escape some horrific beer-goggle growler. I have however received frantic whispered phone calls from a buddy who did though, and that was pure gold. 'You gotta save me, get my ass outta here pal!' is worth a lot of free drinks on Saturday night!

Some gifts are simply more fitting than others......she kinda reminds me of my ex-wife....

Wha....uhhhh......hmmmm. What he said......that sounds about right. Errr....carry on.

Reminds me of the first time I had dinner over at Miss Kitty's house, minus the footy marks of course....
Mrs.B keeps a sparkly clean house.

This joke sucks but you'll watch at least three times.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rats part 1

Well, back again. I’m a little late this time, as it’s been a busy few weeks. I’m looking at a new job which is awesome. I got rid of the XS I talked about last time, but picked up a near mint, 6k mile 1975 Yamaha RD200 in trade for it. The RD is BADASS. I get a lot of flak for my love of the “baby” bikes, but I couldn’t care less. This thing is a blast and a half. I’ve put about two-hundred miles on her in a hair under three days and every second has been great. She runs like a top, and sounds like an angry hornet in a tin can.

Getting this bike has really messed with my head though. I’m a “buy junk, cut it up, ride it till it breaks” kind of guy. This bike is so clean and pretty, in all its 70s goodness… I can’t do it. I can’t cut it up. So, she’s staying as is for now. I have some winter plans to dress the little smoker up, but nothing that can’t be pulled off so it can go back to stock.

Anyhow, you folks don’t give a shit about my obsession with bikes built for kids, haha.

So, we’ll move onto the stuff I really wanted to blather about:

First up in the bullpen, we have some awesome fuckin’ music. I have been trying to immerse myself in some great stuff lately like I used to when I wasn’t worried about rent and bills, keeping the wife as happy as my degenerate ass can, jobs, and family B.S. You know, "the usual". One artist that has really gotten into my head is Izzy Cox. I don’t really know how to explain her style. Its folksy, voodooish, sultry, bluesy, kinda deal. As if that makes sense…

Check out the track “Bad, Bad Woman” and I think you’ll get it. 

It was the first song of hers that I heard, and I was sold by the end of the first verse.

Another thing that’s been weighing heavy on my mind is this goddamn obsession with “rat bikes” and “rat rods”. It’s all bullshit and definitely not a real style. When I see a real steel 32 Ford roadster that could be a monster hot rod, reduced to a haphazard, unsafe, and half-assed attempt at this disgusting excuse for a trend it makes me want to take a 20lb sledgehammer to it. Yeah, yeah “it’s my car I’ll do what I want” and all that. Well you know what, that’s fine, but do it to something nobody gives a fuck about. There’s a million Toyota Corollas out there you can hack up with a sawz-all and paint flat black. Leave the real classic pieces to people who actually respect the history and gravity of these machines.

The same goes for bikes. I have stated before that IN NO WAY am I a professional anything, and especially not a pro builder. But you know what? I still know that cutting half of the sub-frame off of an 80s CBR600 Hurricane, bolting some horrid hockey mask headlight on it, and rattle canning it flat black doesn’t make it a street-fighter. It makes it a waste of a perfectly good, near perfect handling, high powered (and now vintage) machine that someone with some actual common sense would make faster and lighter. Not ugly and ill performing.

The same goes for the chopper and cafĂ© guys. Please stop ruining bikes, in an attempt to build something beyond your capabilities. I’ve been there. I’ve made some really stupid fucking mistakes, and poor judgment calls in my history with bikes; and every time I regretted it. And if I didn’t regret it right away, a guy much smarter than I’ll ever be made me realize how dumb it was.

I guess that’s it. People nowadays don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks. And sure sometimes you have to think that way to keep your head above water. But other times you need to swallow your bullshit pride, shut up, admit you did something fucking dumb. You learn from it and move on. You keep growing your knowledge and your skills. Then someday, when that sixteen year old kid next door is about to do something dumb, and ruin a classic, you can be that rad old head who shows him a better way.

Eh, what do I know? Not much, trust me on that. But I can tell you that its crime that talented folks like Izzy Cox are still playing coffee houses in their hometowns, while every day another retard with an auto-tune machine and a flat brimmed hat gets a five million dollar contract. It’s also a shame that there are twenty magazines sitting on the news-stand with bullshit wanna-bes on the covers showing off their death-trap customs, while the kats out there who are real artists are barely making enough coin to keep the shop doors open.

It’s a mad, mad, mad world my friends. Crack a beer, fire up a Red, and watch it burn.

Or get off your ass and make it better. You’re call, but whatever you choose, don’t half-ass it. Even scum-bags can be respected, but only if they're dedicated to what they do.

-Mike D

A note from the Mgmt:

I like Mike, he tells it like he sees it; no candy coating, no fluff and no bullshit. Today's installment brings up an interesting question, one I'd like to hear the opinions of others on: 

What do you consider a 'Rat Bike'?  

Is it a lack of paint? Is it a mass of dead animal furs and body parts hung on with bailing wire? Rust, oil leaks, mismatched parts? I'd really like to hear your thoughts!

This is what I think of when I think 'Rat'...
Dead animals? Check!

Fur and antlers? Check!

Bailing wire and Elton John's training glasses? CHECK!

Looks pretty ratty to me...


Rats part 2

Probably not Mike D.....

Also not Mike D!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tanks a lot......

Update: Well, as much as it sucks, it looks like I will bow to the input of others. I'll be redoing the front mounts to: A) add more surface area underneath and B) to drop the front of the tank just a bit more. I dig the slant but enough others have pinged in that I figure they may be on to something...

I messed around with several mounting options when I settled on this tank for Sakura. Unfortunately the two I most favored just wouldn't work out. My original plan was to weld some new cups into the tunnel and use some S90 pucks as they are nice and small. Sheet-metal's just too thin on this tank, I tried a test bead on the front tabs that are no longer there.....burned thru....several times. So I cut'm off.
I wanted then to add a piece of 2.5" exhaust pipe split in half and just run a big brass wingnut in the front and rear....but again, the sheetmetal woulda blown thru quicker than the Govonator and a bag of coke.
The tank in question

So off to the toolroom to whip out some carved brass mounting points. The ones up front will carry 1/8" or so of silicone rubber to damp vibrations and give the tank a soft place to sit.

Pretty simple, they slip over the OE frame pegs (ground down a touch) and are milled to fit the shape of the tank underneath. Since they are gonna show I figured I might as well make'm look nice. These will get some appearance work and a nice dulled out polish finish.

For a dinky little piece this ended up being kind of a pain in the ass to get milled. The backbone mics at 1.712" .......not a standard cutting tool size and I didn't want to fuck with a boring bar just to cut a relief like this so I used my handy (hurkin' big) 1.5" 6 flute cutter and dithered off to each side of axis by .105" and it settles down on the backbone pretty well so I'm good with this one.  A notch was milled out for the tank peg to drop into and then some 'extra' material was cut away to give it a nice shape.

The peg actually sits in deeper than in this pic, I needed to grind down a goopy factory frame weld just a touch, now it's nicely seated.

I really like the way this came out, it's nice and simple but the tank is suddenly very solidly located on the frame. The plan is to add a leather belt with a nice brass buckle, bolting it under the rear mount and splitting to two narrower belts up front to flank the filler neck. I may add a small leather bag to the belt for incidentals....but we'll see how it looks without first.
So for now here's how the tank will sit on the bike. I like the slight upward slant, it beats the generically flat bottom most guys seem to want unless running some kind of peanut tank. Set up as it is, I'll be able to fit all the electrics except the battery under the tank in the tunnel. The only way I could see myself raising the back up any higher would be if i ran into some clearance issue with the reg/rec but I'm pretty sure it's not gonna be a problem. If it looks a little gappy up front, never fear..I am planning for a pair of old school oil filled coils to fill the space on each side.
And now for the REAL reason you're all here........From the always pleasant diversion: Bonjour Madame

Laundry day never looked so good

I really need a vacation there...
I think it can be salvaged....

Monday, August 8, 2011

The great divide.......

So...what do you do when you have a pair of S90 forks that gotta come apart and one that's just plain stuck? Improvise....that's what!

So how DO you get it done? One Hi-lift jack (holdover from my 4x4 days) held in the bench vice, a monkey wrench and a pair of vice-grips. Bolt the axle clamp to the jack's arm and the monkey wrench to the top bolt of the fork, vice-grip that to the base of the jack....start jackin'.....MUCH easier than trying to reef it apart by hand.

As a side note, man are these things rudimentary! No damping rod at all, just a sort of bypass at the very bottom of the slider that closes off the damping holes drilled into the bottom of the tube when mashed down to the bottom. Frankly not much in the way of real damping at all, but what did you expect from a 65 honda that weighed 150lb ready to ride? However.....
They will work great when grafted to the front of an old ToteGoat minibike. Dad's buddy Sheldon is putting this together for a kid and needed some kind of front end as the regular "forks" rusted away to nothing.....literally. In truth all I needed to do once I got them unstuck was to turn down the tubes from 27mm to 25mm so they slip up inside the now cut off steel fork tubes. To top bolt holds them in place at present but I think I'll make a mod to add a little clamping action as well.

Totegoat......it's kinda fun to say over and over again until a grouchy old man just leaves the shop.


Yup...that'll do it!

...think I'm gonna need that......

And now for something completely different

I like beer. I don't drink large quantities of it though because a beer gut it tough to get rid of. As such I make sure I only drink good beer. You're not likely to ever find any 'Macro-brews' like Budweiser or Coors light etc, in my fridge.

I've been pretty interested in making my own after enjoying some homebrew the inlaws made. These are also the same folks that got me into making wise....wine (nobody's gonna make ME wise!). So here's a quickie pic dump of my first batch in situ:
Here's the initial boiling, there's a couple cheese cloth bags with steel cut oats in the water (note the floaters that escaped) This was boiled for a good while...kinda lost track, but won't do anything but yield a bit more flavor and color so that's ok. At this point several pounds of liquid malt is also added for the sugars and flavoring. Handy propane burner makes all the difference in the world, you can do this on your stove but beer in process has a unique smell.

Now it's time for the hops, apparently this part of the process is called....(wait for it) 'hopping' the wort. Different strains of hops have different flavors and smells and are a major part of the way various beers taste. These are very nice 'Crystal' hops from the Willamette Valley if I remember correctly what I was told. The is a cream ale, supposed to have a nice hearty 'body', creamy texture and very little hoppy bitterness. These were boiled in the 'tea' for 15 minutes then scooped out.

I missed pics of a few steps; after it was boiled and strained of solids the resultant 4 and a half gallons of beer soup was then cooled with a coil of copper tubing connected to a garden hose. No waters is added to the mix here, just cold water passed the the tubing to bring down the temp. Once it was down to ~75 degrees it was time to pour it into the primary fermenter. That's a fancy name for a 7 gallon bucket with a water trap on top.

Here's the....stuff.....in the fermenter, floating in the liquid is a hydrometer that gives an indication of it's initial gravity which if I remember was something like 1.14 'somethings.' This was topped off to a level five gallons with the rest of the distilled water we bought at first and wine yeast is scattered on top of this, the lid and water trap are then put on (not shown) and you leave it alone for a couple weeks. During this time it's not unusual for it to 'blow', the yeast eats the sugars in the liquid (I believe this is actually called the 'must' and it is.......musty. Anyway the yeast chows on the sugar and poops out alcohol and CO2 gas which foams up a lot. sometimes blowing the water trap and lid right off. Be ready.  The water trap lets the CO2 out but keeps oxygen from entering.....cuz that'd be bad. 
Here it is during the first 'racking' where the now very beer like liquid is siphoned off leaving a sludge in the bottom made up of used up yeast, odd proteins and gunk that settles from the 'tea' that we made initially. If you have a vegetable garden or flower beds, put this shit in t he soil. Plants go berserk with this as compost. Ma & Pa B regularly get 10 pound zucchinis and 50 pounds of tomatoes out of their garden. It's kinda crazy..... Anyway, once this has been racked it's set back in it's corner for secondary fermentation; basically the remaining yeast in the brew is stimulated by the agitation of the fluid and goes to it one last time adding just a bit more kick to the alcohol level. Other than a slight vegetable undertone to the flavor, it's fine to drink right now though it's 'cask' style....non-carbonated and a little weak for homebrew at around 7-8%alc. Final should be closer to 10 or 11%.

Then you barbeque. Nice inch thick steaks seared rare, grilled red potatoes and some damn fine grilled peppers, filled with three kinds of cheese and crisp'd up nicely. And yeah...that's also three fingers of Glenfiddich. The B's don't fuck around with cheap beer or hooch. Sunday dinner on the deck is always a nice time.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Work type updates......

Bob: Your type I head is here, I'll get the valve guides situated (I'm pretty sure I can get the bashed one repaired, it's not in a critical area. Then I'll get to porting on it, you'll have a nice punchy 350 to terrorize the neighborhood!

Rich: The material for your manifolds is in, I've got the slugs cut but that's all. I'll get them started tomorrow morning, hopefully wrapped up in the next few days as time allows.

Maxxie: Your hub is here and I gotta ask....did that moron from Caferacer TV bash it with a sledgehammer? No......really...... 
Don't sweat it, cleaned up on the lathe just fine. I'll get your disc fitted up later today mate, then on to the caliper adapter. No more hammers though....m'kay?

Lou: Hang in there buddy, it was good to talk to you the other night. If I plan my timing better 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' won't want to stab me for making dinner late...haha!

Ben: Your motor mount plates are done for both bikes, I'm doing the external finishing today on the KZ pieces then they're ready to go. When you're ready, throw me a couple bones and they'll be in the mail.

Some progress

Sorry it's been a few days, I've had my hands full with Life Shit(tm) and not much computer time. I did however steal a few hours to slip the freshened up engine back into the frame, looks pretty nice if you ask me.

The engine is in the frame, it was in such good shape internally that I just couldn't bring myself to tear it apart. This is a ~3000 mile motor, the cams aren't even burnished yet! I stuck and inspection camera into the spark plug holes and the bores still have nice crisp crosshatching as well. After I verified that the compression is good and the rings aren't stuck or anything (it's been sitting for a while) I cleaned the exterior crud off and hit the side covers and the head with Eastwood's lovely wrinkle black. I decided to leave the rest of it factory, it's got a slight patina that I am really enjoying. The motor just looks like it has a story to tell.....makes me smile. The tank is only sitting on the frame at the moment, I'll wait to finalize it's mounting later, once I have a seat that doesn't cram my balls up into my gut. The back of the tank will be raised to 'level' it, leaving a HUGE space under and beside it that will house all the electronics and possibly even the battery. Tomorrow I'll be making my aluminum engine brackets that will match the other finned parts I've made. I also have a pile of nice stainless fasteners for the engine and major frame elements. Stay tuned.....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Some days are good days.....

I spent all day Saturday with this

Over in the clean part of the shop I get to play with this kind of thing.