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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Next Projects Progress! DUM, DUM, DAAAAAAAH!!!!

No, I did not post yesterday. Three reasons.  First, some friends of ours offered to treat us to Saint Patty's day festivities, and we ended up in downtown Dunedin for Flanagan's Saint Patties Day festival.  WOOF!  I had NO idea it was THAT big an event!  I figured we'd go to the pub, have a few drinks and eat some Sheppard's Pie.  WHOA no!  The whole city center is blocked off, there are tents everywhere, live music everywhere and people EVERYWHERE!  It was a hoot to rival Chicago! Angela was the bell of the ball, be splendored from head to toe in Green, white, orange and gold, and many folks told her so!  She was quite the lovely little Irish Leprechaun! Of course, the next morning I was dragging a wee bit, so I sent Elijah in to open up, just so I could imbibe a little more coffee (no, straight coffee NOT Irish coffee!)
Reason two: When I did arrive, as he had closed the night before, I had to do some straightening up, and check out a couple last minute repairs that had come in. Also, to give him his hit list for the day, as he had to do a Bullet run for materials.  Once I get going on actual "work" I don't like to back track and sit down and do my "morning chores" of computer updates.  Yes, I am ritualistic that way.  Not to mention the fact that I had started the "truck" the day before (will get to that in a few mo's) and was itching to get back to it.
Third reason: Inexplicably, there are times in this business that everyone and their relatives seem to just drop off the face of the Earth.  We all of a sudden go on "silent running" and are dead in the water.  Well, this week has been that way.  Right down to all the repairs that came in Sat-Mon, are still sitting here, finished, and waiting.  There were literally hours yesterday, where we didn't see a soul in here, OR the rest of the plaza.  Very strange, and inconvenient.  True, it gave me unfettered time to work on the current project, but HEY, I'd love a distraction now and then.  Not to mention feeding our creditors.  We finally got to put out an "under 100", thank God. Been FAR to long with only higher end rides out!  Makes us start to look like a snobby "Boutique Bike Shop" and we SOOOO don't want to appear like that!  *SHUDDER!!*
After the last project bike slide show we got a LOT of great feedback, and several requests for more of the same.  SO, always more then willing to feed my ego, I present the latest newbie that abstensively would be for sale, but primarily is going to be for show.  I say that, because it will take one brave soul to ride this contraption on a regular basis.  Not so much the weight, more the stability!!  In retrospect, having such a long, rigid body sitting on a short rear wheel base...enh...not so much.  But it sure looks damn cool!! Oh, and mind you, she is NOT completely done!  I have to put the railings on, hang the rear basket, do a final clean and touch up the paint, and perhaps some pin striping, but I really wanted to share where we are at so far.
We started off with a partially stripped down tandem.  The wheel set had already been transplanted to a cruiser we built a few weeks back, so that part was done.
Here's what we had to begin with

After only about ten minuets we get her down to this.

At this point, I reversed gears, and opted to go through the components first.  I have never done a project like this before, and whereas I had a visual image in my head as to what the finish project would look like, I did not have "formal" plans or diagrams.  I don't work that way.  When I'm working with leftovers, spare parts and one HECK of a lot of "junk drawers" I'm pretty much making it up as I go.  Having already determined the original three speed idea was not going to work, I settled on the single speed.  Once I had the majority of the parts I thought I would need, I went about removing the decals, a full sanding (oh THAT was fun!) and the prime (four coats) and setteling on fire engine red, three coats of that.  I am saving the final coat for touch up.  This red covers REAL well, but I KNOW I'm going to be dinging it up through the construction, so save myself the hassle of screwing up a finished paint job. 
Here's where she was at...

With the rear end in place, and locating the necessary bearing packs (not the newer 15mm, but old school 3/8, as that is the diameter of the axel shafts I have (working with what we got, remember?) as well as the freewheel drive and the ever elusive lock block (I dropped that bloody thing TWICE and took some serious searching to recover it!) I turned my attention to the front end.  Here was a REAL trick.  This ride was a 26", but as the rear wheel base would be 24", I wanted to try and keep it level and replace the front fork.  Trouble is, with the length of the steering tube, and even though we have a  plethora of spare forks kicking around, locating one turned out to be impossible.  And believe me, I had Elijah dig through ALL of them, and after several times of having to DEMONSTRATE the difference of 24" VS 26" (*sigh* SO sad!) we couldn't find one.  At this point, I was momentarily stymied BUT turned it too our advantage.  Brainstorming, I realized this thing would be better off with front disc brakes and shocks anyway, more stopping power, as there would be no REAR brakes!  I found (what I thought was) the perfect pair.  Only problem?  Threadless neck, which means wider steering tube.  Thus began a frantic search for the right bearing cups to house it, while still fitting the frame.  Here's one of the bloody drawers I had to dig through (I watched almost ALL of MST3K "Bloodlust" while doing so!)

About part way through the third drawer like this, I found a matching pair that would work.  So I turned my attention to cleaning and prepping (and in the case of the wheel, painting) the front end assembly...

Yea, don't berate me!  I am MESSY when I work, but I know where everything is!  It's when I clean that I get flustered!  Heh! Of course, the next challenge was, that even though I had the perfect forks,  I realized that somehow the star bolt that is supposed to be in the steering tube was missing.  Removing one of those things is hit or miss.  Far to often, tapping it out results in snapping it in two, here's the culprit....

The most effective way we have found is to flip the forks upside down, insert a long socket extension in it (we have a mushroomed out one, that's sole purpose is blunt force trauma!) and "WHACK IT WITH A HAMMAH!!!" But, remember to "lube your tube" as to help extraction go smoothly!  Once we sacrificed another set of forks for the cause, we had the choosen one, good to go!

After having taking so much time to make the headset work...I didn't bother to thoroughly test the shock!!  ARRRRGHH!!  Once all put together and road tested, I discovered they were blown!  Yes, there was a BRIEF moment there that I said "Screw it!  Close enough for government work!"  BUT, common sense got the better of me, so I underwent ANOTHER search for a set of replacement forks, which again turned to my advantage, as the set I went with looked a lot better ANYHOW! 
Now I tuned to her rear end!  I've always been a butt man anyway!  (SORRY DEAR!!)
As you'll see, I went with an aggressive tread, primarily, because I have a set of NEW 24" tires, that really pop, so I figured what the heck! Once the wheel set, axels and drive were in place (and I relocated the lock block!!!  Not to mention a proper fitting set of'd think with all the bloody washers we have, that part would have been easy, but NOOOOO!) I mounted the lateral and horizontal supports.


Normally,  on a rear end like this, the lateral supports are braced under the seat, but in this case, I had to come up with something else.
Here's where some folks are going to scratch their heads and say..."I don't knooooow"
With NO long square metal stock available, nor any serious metal sculpting tools to speak of, I opted for the next best thing.  As the bed of the truck is going to be made out of wood, why not the support!
Famous last words.

At this point, the hunt was on!  It's been a long while since I had any use for my woodworking tools, so it took some digging through the tool boxes in the back to find what I needed!  Luckily, it was all still there.  The first two by four I had, I bored out WRONG!!  ARRGH!  I always forget to measure twice!  SOOO, had to dig around out back to find another, slightly weather worn one, but it gave me more length anyway, so that made me happy!  In order to reinforce the center support, I opted for ome old school seat clamps, tapped down past the stop, to lock it against the frame...

I knew keeping all those clamps would come in handy!  This support allowed for stabilizing the rear end (he said with fingers crossed) as well as mounting the rear bed too.

Of course, any such modifications have more and more "issues" that crop up, needing to be dealt with.  As the chain's path brings it close to the frame, and rear housing, the added slack needed to be picked up.  Luckily, it already had a tensioner, but given the fact that the rear sprocket is about six teeth larger then the original, and we reduced the front chainring down to a 42 tooth, the chain was hitting the bottom of the housing.  SOOOO, something had to be done!  Here's where ingenuity gives way to daring stupidity!  Having no other way to reroute the chain, I had to grind down the lower part of the housing.  Problem is...I have no angle grinder, not since one of the boys burnt it out a while back.  So...I improvised!  Taking the grinding wheel from the table grinder, a long bolt, washer and nuts.... I made my own!

Again, like I said, stupidity...but it WORKED!! 

Not as clean as an angle grinder, but with a file and some paint it will be fine.  At least the chain aint' hitting the bloody thing anymore!!

Now, I turned my attention to the horizontal support for the rear of the truck bed.  Again "would or wouldn't wood work?" (oh that was fun!  Say that five times fast!).  The struts I used have been sitting in my three wheeler parts for well over five years now and I'm glad I finally got to use them!!  I took another chunk of 2 X 4, trimmed it to 24", drilled out the pilot holes, then counter sunk both sides to plop in some metal axel washers for strength....

Yes, some maybe saying "Gosh, that is rough looking wood" and you'd be right, but believe it or not, aged wood CAN be stronger!  And again, we are TRYING to do this entire project with stuff we currently have.  So, after some adjustment to the set nuts, and a healthy use of a level, we have the horizontal in place....

Now, we undergo the task of prepping the 1 X 4 for the bed's deck.  These boards are the remaining stock I had left from the wheel rack we built a couple months back (you know, the one that partially fell down...oh...THAT doesn't bode well!).  They were once used as framing for poured concrete slabs, so before we could sand, we had to knock off some excess concrete!  Loads a fun! 

Luckily, we had just enough to make the deck the width I wanted, basically not to exceed the width of the rear end.  I have to be able to get this monstrosity in and out of our narrow door, you know?  We used one length to attach them at the rear end, and counter sunk it half way so it covers the raised support strut bolts and we can sandwhich it together....

After assembling the deck, and cutting it to shape, as well as using 2 X 2's for support in the front, we went to sanding.  I did not want it "perfect" just no splinters, or rough parts that could scrape your knuckles.  Again, I'm digging the rough hewned look!  Once that was all done, we used a deep red stain to REALLY bring out the wood, and each board being darker or lighter in nature REALLY made it POP!!

So, there you have it SO FAR!  Now, I have to hook up with Terry, my man of a thousand scraps, and see if he has anymore scrap 2 X 4's and a table saw I can use.  I have to rip them down into 3/4 widths and 2 X 2's to make the railings, and additional lower supports.  Then top it off with some vintage style signs.  This one will make for a fun little "show off" for a while, or until someone ponies up enough cash to make me part with her.  It's an idea I've had rumbling about in my vacuous head for some time, and it's hard to keep from looking at! 
OKEY DOKEY!  That's about it for now, I'd show you the DAILY BANGER SPECIAL we built on Tuesday, I was writing this most recent post, it went to a new home.  No fret though, we got two more in as well...although one of them IS a higher end Iron Horse! OH well! 
See ya soon!!!

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