Thursday, 18 January 2018

I’m a lumberjack…


Some of you old-timers may remember when I posted about the big blow we had back in 2012.

Well there were four large pine trees that survived that storm but which were making me increasingly nervous with their proximity to the house. No good could come from the potential energy stored in a 100’ tree when applied to the roof of a house. And as subsequent wind storms snapped large branches off and bent the trees to near-breaking (in my opinion) stresses, I realised it was time for them to go.

And today was the day.

With a local arborist doing the heavy lifting (i.e. climbing) while I pulled on the end of a rope to control the direction of the fall we managed to get them all on the ground in three hours. Two  were already showing signs of rot in the core, so it was time.

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It feels good to have one less thing to worry about, except now I have to clean up the mess. I expect any further project work in the garage will be delayed for a few days.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Orange peel

Some say old dogs and new tricks are incompatible but this old dog is getting quite an education while painting my Kawasaki tank.

I can’t believe I’ve circled the sun this many times and never really did any serious painting of anything that wasn’t big and flat, i.e. a wall. But I have, and so this could charitably be considered my introduction to rattle can painting.

I did finally choose a colour I liked and laid down the first couple of coats. Of course a gloss paint immediately highlighted a few minor imperfections that needed to be fixed – back to sanding, filling, and repainting. That was disappointing but not unexpected. This is, after all, a learning experience. And I have lots of time before riding season is upon us again.

More concerning was the surface finish of the paint. It was nice and glossy, but not shiny as the surface consisted of many small undulations. Baffled as to the cause, I was halfway through the description to my body-shop friend when he said “Orange peel. You’ve got orange peel.” He was right, it does look a bit like this (but not orange).

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And so it was back to the books Google to find out what I was doing wrong, which, apparently, was nearly everything. (As I said, a learning experience.) The main factor seems to be temperature, which is a lot more critical than I realised. Likely my garage was too cool, the tank was too cold, and the paint wasn’t sufficiently warmed before spraying.

My garage is heated but I sure don’t keep it at 65-70 degrees, the minimum recommended painting temperatures. So I’ll have to crank up the thermostat for a couple of days to get everything nice and toasty warm (after sending a blank check to my propane supplier) and try again. After first sanding it all back down to a nice smooth finish.



Sunday, 14 January 2018

How did I miss this?

Between 1981 and 1983 Honda came out with a fold-up motorcycle that was designed to fit in the back of their subcompact cars of the time. Why anyone needed to carry a spare motorcycle in their car was never really made clear, which may explain the very short life span of the Honda Motocompo.

Available in any colour you wanted, as long as it was white, yellow, or red, Honda sold a few more than 50,000 of the little 50cc scooters before pulling the plug in 1983.

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They are hard to find on this side of the Pacific – I don’t think many were imported – and those that do infrequently come up for sale tend to command prices skyward of $3K, which makes it an expensive conversation piece indeed. But it seems some can still be found in Japan where the Motocompo has developed quite a cult status. They are collected, customised, and raced in local competitions. After-market parts and accessories are readily available (albeit expensive). And the uniquely Japanese styling concepts can result in some pretty interesting creations.

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Looks like a blast and makes me wish I had one just to tootle around on.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Patina is overrated

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Don’t for a minute assume I’m comparing myself to Vinnie. For a starter, I have both my ears. But the sentiment behind the quote is still valid.

When I picked up the ugly duckling a while back it had a rather large dent in the tank along with various other battle scars. I had never really done any body work/painting and so I was tempted to just call it ‘patina’ and forget about it. But then there was this other voice, the perfectionist me, telling me to try to fix it. What finally made me decide to go for it was the acquisition of a couple more tanks, backups if I really messed it up.

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So I jumped in with both feet. The first job was to build a stand to hold the tank when I was working on it. This turned out to be a great move as it made the job much, much easier.

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With the tank secured in place I was ready to try my hand at body work. A body-shop experienced friend offered some guidance and before I knew it I was welding a bolt on the tank, with some trepidation, to pull the dent out. And it worked like a charm, rewarding me with a very satisfying ‘pop’ as the metal returned near to its original shape.

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I ground the bolt off and then it was on to the filler. After sanding much of the tank back to bare metal the Bondo went on, smoothing out the ripples. Apply Bondo, let cure, sand, repeat several times. Eventually it not only looked smooth but more importantly it felt smooth.

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The first indication whether the prep work was (or wasn’t) any good came once I applied the primer. Sure enough a coat of paint highlighted a few rough spots so it was back to the filler and more sanding and then primer again. Eventually I was happy.

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But now, what colour to paint it? Didn’t want black. Didn’t want the original rusty red. Didn’t want another bright red like the Harley. So it was off to Canadian Tire where I spent an inordinate amount of time standing in front of the rack of colour-matched paints, trying to make a choice. In fact I think it took me longer to decide on a colour than it took me to decide to buy our last house. But that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

The voice isn’t silenced yet, but it’s getting there as I’m quite pleased with progress to date. Now you’ll just have to wait for the reveal.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Happy New Year. Really?

Right now the wind is howling outside my window as the temperature is in a downward plummet to something like -30C again tonight. (-40C or colder with the wind chill).

Jan 5 weather

Day 4 into a head cold, a box of tissues is my constant companion. Anti-histamines have become a basic food group. Nothing works.

Between naps/periods of unconsciousness I tried to do some work in the shop, only to run out of material part way through repainting the Kawasaki gas tank. I don’t have the energy to drive into town to get another can so it will have to wait.

And we’re only 5 days into the new year. It just has to get better, doesn’t it?