The musings of a cantankerous over the hill greasemonkey who, though already old, is rather old for his age. I'll bust greasy knuckles out in the garage or argue politics with anyone who will stand for it....

Friday, December 13, 2013

Parts Gathering Continues

I just found the coolest dash for the Hardtail Project. It's a repop 1937 dash with a Do-All Gauge salvaged from machine tools being scrapped by the Air Force. I may skip running a speedo just to have this one....  photo 00f03ffa-67d1-43f4-941f-af618750dba5_zps2a8e442b.jpg

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Girding For Winter

Made some more progress in my mini workshop/tool room in the barn. I still have the larger bays but this room will have room for the Bridgeport, the South Bend, a seven foot workbench and my handi-lift or a motor stand for bike projects or a car engine rebuild.  photo 3964ea3f1867f6efcd4f6b66645c0085_zpsb9ac2230.jpg  photo 38ffc6bfc92981f441fda300b9c2734a_zps722e88bf.jpg Over time, I partitioned off the room and insulated it in the walls and ceiling. I got the heater fired for the first time Saturday  photo 8b34c7967e7680a4efb10fc494414182_zps04a3f76c.jpg I have had tunes out here but always draped over shit and in the way. Picked up an ultra-chic shelf at goodwill for a buck and got the tunage up out of the way.  photo 2eb3968df020da614c3fe338dc7a1aa3_zps87d6a496.jpg I THINK it will be a nice place to work, but I have confirmed that it's a great place to drink beer and listen to music... :?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Disposable Society

A decline in tool use would seem to betoken a shift in our mode of inhabiting the world: more passive and more dependent. And indeed, there are fewer occasions for the kind of spiritedness that is called forth when we take things in hand for ourselves, whether to fix them or to make them. What ordinary people once made, they buy; and what they once fixed for themselves, they replace entirely or hire an expert to repair, whose expert fix often involves installing a pre-made replacement part. Shop Class as Soulcraft, Matthew B. Crawford

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Turn It Off

@MarkDePue: The news channels have mastered the art of cramming one hour's news in an 8 hour cycle. ~Jim Koval

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Realms Beyond Reason

"I think present-day reason is an analogue of the flat earth of the medieval period. If you go too far beyond it you're presumed to fall off, into insanity. And people are very much afraid of that. I think this fear of insanity is comparable to the fear people once had of falling off the edge of the world. Or the fear of heretics. There's a very close analogue there." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


"It's the primary America we're in. It hit the night before last in Prineville Junction and it's been with us ever since. There's this primary America of freeways, jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars. And people caught up in this primary America seem to go through huge portions of their lives without much consciousness of what's immediately around them. The media have convinced them that what's right around them is unimportant. And that's why they're lonely. You see it in their faces. First, the little flicker of searching, and then when they look at you, you're just kind of an object. You don't count. You're not what they're looking for. You're not on TV." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Paradox

"Nothing personal in it." Here is a paradox. On the one hand, to be a good mechanic seems to require a personal commitment: I am a mechanic. On the other hand, what it means to be a good mechanic is that you have a keen sense that you answer to something that is the opposite of personal or idiosyncratic; something universal. In Pirsig's story, there is an underlying fact: a sheared off pin has blocked an oil gallery, resulting in oil starvation to the head and excessive heat, causing the seizures. This is the Truth, and it is the same for everyone. But finding this truth requires a certain disposition in the individual: attentiveness, enlivened by a sense of responsibility to the motorcycle. He has to internalize the well working of the motorcycle as an object of passionate concern. The Truth does not reveal itself to idle spectators." ~Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The New Basis of Civilization

"In a wholesale transformation of the old Puritan moralism, expressed by Benjamin Franklin (admittedly no Puritan) with the motto "Be frugal and free," the early twentieth century saw the moral legitimation of spending. One symptom Lears points to is a 1907 book with the immodest title The New Basis of Civilization,by Simon Nelson Patten, in which the moral valence of debt and spending is reversed, and the multiplication of wants becomes not a sign of dangerous corruption but part of the civilizing process. That is, part of the disciplinary (emphasis mine) process. As Lears writes, "Indebtedness could discipline workers, keeping them at routinized jobs in factories and offices, graying but in a harness, meeting payments regularly." Robert B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mechanic's Feel

"There's what's called, "mechanic's feel," which is very obvious to those who know what it is, but hard to describe to those that don't; and when you see someone working on a machine who doesn't have it, you tend to suffer with the machine." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Moral Victory

I had an awesome week away for a little Western UP snowmobiling and friend time which is always a therapeutic exercise. My time upon the return before heading back to the saltmines today was spent largely examining my bellybutton and trying to gird for my return to the ranks of the gainfully employed. I did allow myself a little shop time Monday to mock the motor into place on the hardtail project. I set an old superglide tank on just to make the bike look a little more like a bike for imagination's sake. The plan is to run 3.5 gallon tank shift fat bobs but setting the motor in place made the process seem a lot less impossible. I'm happy....

Friday, February 15, 2013


"I like the word "gumption" because it's so homely and so forlorn and so out of style it looks like it needs a friend and isn't likely to reject anyone who comes along." ~ Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Student

"The college student interviews for a job as a knowledge worker, and finds that the corporate recruiter never asks him about his grades and doesn't even care what he majored in. He senses that what is demanded of him is not knowledge but rather that he project a certain kind of personality, an affable complaisance. Is all his hard work in school somehow just for show- his ticket to a Potemkin meritocracy? There seems to be a mismatch between form and content, and a growing sense that the official story we've been telling ourselves about work is somehow false." ~Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sentries of the Past

"It's strange how old, obsolete buildings and plants and mills, the technology of fifty and a hundred years ago, always seems to look so much better than the new stuff. Weeds and grass and wildflowers grow where the concrete has cracked and broken. Neat, squared, upright lines acquire a random sag. The uniform masses of unbroken color of fresh paint modify to a mottled, weathered softness. Nature has a non-Euclidian geometry of her own that seems to soften the deliberate objectivity of these buildings with a kind of random spontaneity that architects would do well to study." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Mentor

"His Orange bus, with wheel wells cut away to accomodate large off road tires in the back, was a chaotic treasure trove of superb American handguns, Snap-on tools, and VW parts. The darkness behind the cab carried a sharp note of Berryman's B-12 Chemtool on top of a more subtle smell that is generic to mechanics-- a mixed up aroma of various petroleum distillates that had been oxidized by combustion, thickened with road grime and ripened on a substrate of shop rags to the point of acquiring substance." ~Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft

Transmission Mock Up

Set the transmission in for fun. The Ratchet top gets a little tight to the oil tank but it'll loosen up with the hand shift top on...

Friday, February 1, 2013

An old Hardtail Project

Six or eight years ago, I started putting this together and got sucked into the current of "Project Drift" I think I started thinking about all the tweaks that would make it more "cool" and the desire to impress made completion elusive. I wish I would have just bolted it up and put a plate on it back then. That won't happen again. Once you get comfortable with your inner dork, this shit gets easier...


"To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The right bits at the right time!

Snagged two old beer tap handles. One will most certainly be the hand shift knob on this bike....

Suspension and Brakes

Two pot rear brake, Jay Brake front and a funky semi-elliptical front spring. Not unique but pretty infrequent, I figure...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ya Gotta Put the Oil Somewhere...

Fabio modified an OEM style rigid oil tank to mount to the frame with some gussets added and bungs in the tank. Also added a battery box so the stock tray can be omitted and the rear fender support of the assembly can be eliminated..

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Heartbeat of America

1979 74" Dual Plugged Shovelhead motor going in the Hardtail.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Peace of Mind

"Peace of mind isn't at all superficial,really," I expound. "It's the whole thing. That which produces it is good maintenance. What we call workability of the machine is just an objectification of this peace of mind. The ultimate test is always your own serenity. If you don't have this when you start and maintain it while you are working you're likely to build your personal problems right into the machine itself." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A new project

I have been gathering parts for a new project some time now. Ever since I read an article where Kevin "Fabricator Kevin" Verkest did a magnificent job hardtailing a swingarm shovelhead frame, it has been stuck in my head to build something with one of these frames one day. Last year I got a good deal on a frame from a friend and had it shipped right to Kevin. I have been gathering other items since. I picked the frame and front end up from Kevin yesterday and couldn't be happier. He set up the wheels and brakes and fabricated a method for mounting an OEM rigid style oil tank to the frame. This thing is gorgeous and ready for me to get busy ironing out details and getting it together.