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Sunday, June 25, 2017

I need a bigger compressor

I had a little spare time this afternoon so I figured I would attempt some home soda blasting.  Using my little Michelin compressor (which works great for tires and painting) and a cheap blasting gun with hopper I had at it.  I might have done better with sifted baking soda, but the bottom line was that there wasn't enough velocity.  A larger compressor will likely be my next kijiji purchase.  At least I can see the potential from what little came off from this side by side comparison.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I don't use photoshop.....

 I do however, love taking pen/pencil to paper and letting my imagination run wild. Below is the mock up for the Matchless/AJS 500 project illustrating the direction I have decided to take. 

 While my updates have been quite lax, work has been going on steadily behind the scenes.  This has mostly been in the form of parts acquisition, which I am hopefully almost done with now.  

Can you spot the differences?
Editor's/Author's Note:

I have decided that after 4 years a slight format change is in order;  I am going to post more often with fewer words (I am sure there will be some exceptions) and more photos. 

New Tool!

I have wanted one of these for a long time, a good quality home built (Canadian) drill press.  

I lucked out and found this beauty for $50.00 from a retired machinist who lamented the lack of decent tools available these days.   I promised him that I would look after it and provide a good long term home.  After 41 years she runs smoothly, with lots of power and will likely outlive me! 

It feels good to use a tool that was built within 50 miles from my home, built within the community to a high standard.   I love finding British, Canadian and American tools and preserving them.

Boycott China.  Boycott garbage that is destroying our environment and piling up in our landfills.

Made in the west matters.  Keep your tools sharp and your neighbours working!  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekend Work...

While I didn't achieve everything I wanted to on the weekend, I did get a few jobs done.

The first one had been bothering me for some time.  The right cylinder head had a long since seized spark plug stuck in the threads.   This was a very old KLG F.E. 125 which had probably been there for 50 plus years.  I started applying PB Blast over a year ago and would periodically take a stab at loosening it up.  I decided that it was time for some more radical action! 

The first step was to find 4 screws and washers to drill into a thick block of wood.  I made sure the washers would seat just below the head of the screws in order to prevent damage.  

I then secured the block into a work bench, found the appropriate socket and a large 'breaker' bar.  This is a large wrench lacking a ratcheting head.  


With the increased leverage, I was able to get it out although I did fight me.  I was quite pleased that there were no crossed threads.  Now if only I could get those valves out.  

The second accomplishment was the polishing of the AJS timing cover.  I have started getting better at repairing/cleaning up damaged pieces.  I find myself in a zen state while performing the repetitive movement and feeling the change to the surface.

Here is what I started with.  The cover had been cleaned up prior, in order to see clearly what needed attention.

The scars ran deep!  I imagine a combination of poor storage and having been dropped at least once.   While I would be wrong to erase fifty-plus years of character, leaving it this way was a touch too tatty.  

I began by putting a small flap wheel on my Dremel multitool.  If you lack one of these in your arsenal, I highly recommend getting one.  They are great for jobs like these where the work is confined and somewhat detailed.  Not to mention the multitude of other hobby related uses.  The variable speed option is quite handy as you run a lower risk of gouging the surface material.  I start by applying thin strokes over the damaged area, applying no pressure.  I let the flap wheel do the work and do it gently.  The more uneven the surface, the more work it is to even the surface.

This photo illustrates the piece after much of the grinding had been done.  I like to make a few passes over the area to smooth the surrounding out as well.  It is always a good idea to run a finger over the surface for feel.  I wear a mask, safety glasses and gloves as I don't want to breathe or wear aluminium dust.  

Normally I would start sanding with wet/dry emory cloth, starting with 400 grit and working up to 2000.  

This time I took a different approach and used a couple of different sanding sponges with soapy water.  This worked very well in my opinion, allowing me to cover the whole piece evenly, especially over and around the two humps.

This also saved quite a bit of time as well.  I did use a 1000 grit emory cloth for finishing purposes.

At this point, the worst of it had been removed, leaving only minor blemishing that I could live with.

Finally, I took some white compound and polished it out with my bench top buffer/grinder.

Needless to say I am quite pleased with the results!  One of the great things about restoring motorcycles is that if a single task meets an obstacle, one can move on to something else while waiting for a solution, part or tool.  Small jobs have a magical way of building you up and keeping the spirit of the project alive.

Until next time....

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


No Sleep, Dreams for Me

Great Unfinished Work Haunting

Ghosts needs completing

Whirlwind of Vision

Ideas of complication

Still my busy hands.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Matchless by any other name....(redux)

Let me start by winding the clock back to almost exactly one year ago;  In the throes of winter, I found myself bored, tired of sitting idle and started perusing Kijiji.  The result was a van full of Matchless/AJS parts that had been left forgotten in a loft for almost three decades.  The basis of  two potential projects present, I was very pleased.

I always wanted an AMC twin, mostly because my father had one and he spoke highly of it.  They are a little different which also appeals to me.  I hope that my father can swing his leg over one more time, even it is just a quick rip up the block.  It has been a steep learning curve but there are excellent resources available such as manuals and parts books online and a great club.  The members of the AMC community are outstanding as well and I can't say enough about them!

My original plan was to make one bike up then save the remainder to build a second bike later on.  I read a great deal about the volatile nature of the G12 engine and decided to start with the safer 500cc (G9).

While I did have a great mountain of parts to work with, I have had to acquire a lot more!  These include extra wheel hubs, magnetos (did get a great deal on a lot of 4) nuts and bolts, seals, headlight, tank, cylinders, pistons, valves and tools and much, much more. This has been a piecemeal operation which recently included the purchase of a set of clean AJS model 20 cases.  At under a $100.00 CDN from a seller in Canada (who also sold me some Jampots, Thanks Ray!) I figured the Model 20 Frame should have a Model 20 motor even if the difference is a semantic one.  A '55 Frame with a '54 motor isn't concourse, but it is a nice pairing nonetheless.

So there we have it, with a few items from Walridge Motors and some cases I am now building a Model 20.


Clean, thanks to some simple green and elbow grease!

Another upshot is that these cases have proper serial numbers which were lacking on the 2 engines I already had.  This may make registration less of a headache.

I hope to have a roller by the end of April, once I rebuild my first wheel and my first engine without any assistance.  Daunting tasks, but challenges that need to be met and overcome.  The men that were 'there' in the first place shrink in numbers each year.  I see it as a responsibility to learn the old ways and skills in order to teach the next generation.  God willing, there will be a next generation to teach!

While it is entirely possible to get the bike done this year, the real push needs to be on finishing the Beetle and driving it for the fall.

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Triumph Bonneville Bobber Launch Party....!

Welcome to my 50th post!  When I started four years ago, I had no idea how long or how much I would end up writing.  I just knew that I had thoughts, ideas and dreams that I wanted to take to paper (the virtual kind) for the sake of prosperity.  A lot has changed since then;  I have moved, found a good job and gotten married.  The bikes have changed as well,  moving from some Japanese bikes to an all British stable (and one German car).  I am very happy with things and have high hopes for the future!  Throughout 2017 I will have some long overdue updates;  Even though there may be long gaps between posts sometimes, there are always things going on in the background.

It seems appropriate that the topic of a 50th post should be about a party.  Not just any party, but a Triumph party!

I was invited to the launch of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber event last Friday at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.  This was on the merit of having purchased a new bike from my local dealer a few years ago, however it is still nice to be asked out! 

It was a very well planned event, everyone got a free drink and trays of hors d'ourves were available to guests.  I always love seeing new bikes and for me the street scrambler and T120 Bonneville (in red and silver) were the stars of the show.  Triumph clearly have an ear to the ground and a keen eye on the budding custom scene of the last few years.  My beloved Scrambler was due for an upgrade after a decade, especially with Ducati and Yamaha throwing their hats in that arena.  The bike fits the bill nicely, I won't go into technical detail here but from what I have read the bike is a winner.

I do grow tired of the drab, matte paint schemes. Where is all the glorious two tone paint?  Thankfully on the T120 it is abundant and stunning from every angle.  This to me is the true measure of Triumph's success. Showing us all that can be whilst remembering all that was.  

As for the Bobber that all the fuss was about?  It was nice, but didn't really excite me although the crowd certainly loved it and I suppose that is the most important thing.   I will let the pictures do the talking for me...

An old friend met me at the gate.

There was no expense spared with the 2017 catalog, very high quality  glossy paper was used. 

Who doesn't love Snoopy?  This would look great on a gas tank...

Quite a pleasant paint scheme up close

Triumph has a new Bobber, apparently. 

Easily the most beautiful bike in the room...

The Triumph bus parked behind the main stage

The Bonneville Black.  It certainly delivers what it promises!

And again

Fortunately I didn't need this to escape the venue!

Beautiful from every angle. 
Until Next time!