Sunday, February 27, 2011

A good day's work - so far, so good.......

Part-timer Steve and I did a good day's work on this frame today. This is the frame half that I had rough cut, sitting behind Justin's frame in the post below.

On a job like this, it isn't the welding that takes the time. Like painting a bike, it's all the preliminary and prep work that eats up your hours. All the tubing ends need the final trim to length, all the cuts need to be squared, stripped of their coatings, slightly beveled and drilled for plug welding.

Then, all the slugs, inserts, and tubes need to be deburred and cleaned inside and out of any rust scale or mill coatings. Next is the cleaning of every part with denatured alcohol or the like in every welding area. Now you can go ahead and assemble everything down with the fixtures, and level everything out front to back, and side-to-side. Next, measurements need to be taken front to back for length on the frame itself, and the axle plates need to be set at the same height, and the width between the axle plates set. If something doesn't square up, now's when you fix it. I try and keep all these measurements to within a 1/16" from side to side, and top to bottom.

With a hardtail job like this one, you need to split the forging on each side of the seatpost, because the angle of the old frame tubing of the top rails doesn't match the angle of the new tubing coming out of the axle plates. The old tubing is higher to allow enough room on the 4 speed frame for the electric start motor, and the oil tank. So, you need to heat the old tubing sections, and bend them down to meet the angle of the new top sections. Once that's done, you can trim the top rails to length, clean, plug drill, etc., etc.

If everything lines up, you can finally start your welding process. First, the plug welds are all done, skipping around from side to side, and top to bottom. Next, all the seam welds are done in the same manner, and I'm constantly checking my measurements as I go. With a frame mod like this, it's almost impossible to get all the welds completed as it sits, so you have to let it cool in the jig, and then pop it out, and finish up any seam areas you have left.

While a hardtail job like this is more involved in some areas than say, putting on a pre-made rigid section, all the prep work, squaring, leveling, and measuring are still the same for both. That's why I kinda smile when I see somebody on the message boards saying "Fuck, I'm not paying that much for a hardtail install, my buddy says he'll weld it on for a 12 pack!" Well, maybe he can, and maybe he can't........

These are the mild steel axle plates, vs. the stainless from the post below. Both of the axle plate sets, as are all of John's (Hardcore Choppers) castings, are a thing of beauty. Compare these plates sometimes with the ones that Taiwan Tedd sells. In another couple days, we'll have this job completed.

Two down, one to go.......

Boom...boom...boom. Three frames showed up in 3 weeks to be hardtailed. I've finally managed to get two of them completed inbetween everything else, and I'm working on the third, which I hope to finish in a couple days. Nothing looks better than OEM-style axle plates on one of these conversions. Two frames get mild steel plates, the other stainless.

The stainless steel axle plates. These will look killer when they're masked off before powdercoating, and re-polished afterwards.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You, Shortly"

If you don't know the title reference, it's a track from Jefferson Airplane's '67 album After Bathing At Baxters, with the album's incredibly detailed cover artwork rendered by R. Cobb. Most noted for his underground art and political cartoons for The L.A. Free Press in the '60's, Cobb at the age of 18, and with no formal art training, worked his way up to breakdown artist for Disney's 1957 animated feature film Sleeping Beauty, and later went on to do the conceptual designing for Last Starfighter, Star Wars, Conan The Barbarian, and True Lies, to name just a few of his prolific artwork projects for the major studios in the '80's.

The full album cover for After Bathing At Baxter's

Anyways, the "small package of value" that will "come ...shortly" are the springer parts that Fat Bob and Slippery Pete rounded up for me, that will eventually find their way into the front end assembly for my Invited Builders bike for Born Free III. Timing couldn't be more perfect, as I had just dropped off my radius rods yesterday at A-1 Stripping to get the rust scale on their insides removed, and stripped of their 82 year old chassis black paint. Thanks, guys, I'm most appreciative!

After BF III, the bike is also going up to Sturgis, to be part of the 2011 Michael Lichter/Jeff Decker exhibit, at the Lichter Exhibit Hall at the Buffalo Chip Campground. I'm stoked.

Photo courtesy of Josh Kurpius

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where, oh where, is Part-timer Stevie ?

Well, Part-timer Steve headed off to Hazel, KY on Sunday, to take CJ Allan's engraving class. I guess I'm not grumpy enough to work with, he had to travel a 1.000 mi. to work under somebody who makes Ming The Merciless look like Little Mary Sunshine, haha! Nah, I kid (?). Steve's a sharp, artistic guy, he should do just fine, and CJ told me he's gonna teach him well. Besides, I'm not losing a helper, I'm gaining an in-house engraver!

But, I haven't heard anything from Steve (or CJ) since he left. Either he's having the time of his life with CJ, or CJ's had it, and he's got him out on the back 40 digging a hole. Hmmmm....

Seriously, if you ever thought about learning engraving, CJ would be the guy you should contact. He'll give you the basics you'll need, plus some of his hard-earned "tricks", and steer you in the right direction as far as the equipment you'll need. Contact info is above.

In the mean time, here's some really early work from CJ, done for Pat Leahy. I'll have to give Pat a call, and find out if he still has this cam case cover. I bet he does.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Aw yeah, more Psychedelic Love Temple info......

I received an Email from "Harry", with some additional information on the San Souci Temple, or as most people know it, "The Psychedelic Love Temple", as David Mann depicted it in his '68 Roth poster painting.

Harry's perspective comes from being a resident close to the Temple in that time period, and I thought you'd like to read what he had sent me. Thank you Harry, it was most appreciated!
"Hi, I did a google search for the San Souci Temple in L.A. and found your article. I lived 3 blocks from the Temple & remember it very well. I was only 12 or 13 at the time, but the hippies never hassled me about being there. I remember going up on the roof and watching bands play in the stage that was built into the central circular cavity of the Temple. There was a circular glass roof that allowed natural light into the shaft and one of the triangular panes was broken. I would lie on my belly and watch the fun happening downstairs. Many famous people visited and played at the Temple. Jimi Hendrix played there, as did The Santana Blues Band as they were known back then. Santana would come down from Frisco in a bus that the band used to get around in & it had Santana Blues Band painted on the side. You can imagine my delight when their firt album came out in ’69 under the now familiar name of 'Santana' ."

"As you mentioned,'The Trip' was filmed there and I remember the Love & Sex painting on Ardmore Avenue right in front of the Temple. Being that I was only 12 or 13, I wasn’t quite ready to take the acid and other drugs that were freely offered to me. It was because I was the youngest person there that I’d go up to the roof and just watch the things going on downstairs. My older brother met his future wife at a Temple party."

"The Baron’s took over shortly after I began going to the Temple and they ran it into the ground. The hippies were all very groovy, full of acid and love. The bikers were kind of abusive control freaks who always wanted to chase me & my friends out. We had ties to a notorious L.A. street gang called, 18th Street, and we considered raiding the Temple and putting a hurt on the Barons. "

"As you correctly stated, there really wasn’t much of a police presence at the Temple. The city did manage to shut it down and left it boarded up & abandoned. It was eventually torn down in the 70’s and the lot sat vacant for years. An old friend of mine dropped acid and sat on the vacant hill where the Temple sat and meditated on the good old days there. His band often played at the Temple. From Google Maps, it looks like apartments were eventually built on the site."

"Now about the Temple’s actual location: it was located on South Ardmore Avenue, in what later became the 'Koreatown' section of L.A. Koreatown’s main streets are Olympic Blvd., Western Avenue & Vermont Avenue. Ardmore Avenue is located between Western & Vermont and the Temple was just south of Olympic Blvd., closer to 11th Street. It was pretty much smack in the middle of inner city L.A. By the early 70's the black migration out of the inner city to Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley had begun. The Korean’s began arriving & buying up houses and businesses in the early 70’s. Being that the area was economically depressed. They got everything cheap & the city was glad to make the revenue when taxes were raised because of all the new Korean businesses."

"Being that this all hit me out of the blue, that’s pretty much all I have for you at this time. Feel free to write with any other questions you may have.
Thanks for your on-line write-up, it was great to see my old stomping grounds after all these years!"

While I was out for the David Mann Chopfest last December, I had a chance to talk to Droopy some more about the time he spent at the Temple, and he related being there one night when a guy fell through the dome, got up, and walked away afterwards! I wonder if that was the cause of the broken triangle in the dome Harry referred to?

You can check out the earlier posts that I've done on the Temple here:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dennis Goodson - Tri-Hauler Bike.......

Dennis Goodson built the "Tri-Hauler" bike for his old club brother Rotten Ralph, who was paralized from the waist-down, due to a lady who hit him head-on. Ralph died a while ago, and Dennis re-acquired the bike back again. He's gone through the bike from top to bottom, and it's in tip-top roadworthy shape. It's also for sale. Give the video a watch, and Dennis' contact info is at the end of the video if you're interested in the bike.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Great Fatsby.....

Leslie West and Mountain in 1970, in their prime. 40 years later, Mountain consistently places in the top 25 all-time group polls in every the rock publication. Still one of my favorite guitarists, I was fortunate to see Mountain many, many times when they played on stage just like this clip......
Unfortunately, I saw Leslie West in the early '80's and he was a pretty sad figure. Never a small man to begin with, West was grossly way over 300 lbs., glassy-eyed, strung out on dope and alcohol, and missing most of his teeth. He could still play guitar at the intensity he always did, but at most of his concerts, he was too fucked up to either remember to, or be able to sing the words to songs he'd done a bazillion times. It was really painful to watch him perform.

Fortunately (unlike so many other fellow performers from the '60's), West went underground for a long time, lost all his weight, got sober, and got himself a new set of choppers. Still on the road with Corky Lang, his longtime drummer, and still tearing up the stage. Go see him if you ever get the chance. Meanwhile, turn this up LOUD........

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

150,000 page views.......

This makes me feel pretty good. We reached a couple milestones here on Applied Machete. We hit over 150,000 page views, and 160 followers sometime last week. Thanks to everybody who comes here to visit, thank you for all the Emails, and thank all of you that have links from your blogspots to here.

I thought you'd like to see what the alltime top 10 viewed posts have been over the last 3 years on Applied Machete:

1. Von Dutch Monday VI
2. Of Tank Girl, Pete Pepe's CFL, and Craig Fraser
3. Bending The Line
4. A Hells Angel Goes To The Smithsonian
5. Robert Tessier
6. CNC???
7. Bill Ray Wasn't The Lone Ranger
8. 1039 Ardmore Ave.
9. The Electric Chair
10. Norm Grabowski's "Six Pack"

Single downtube CFL frames.....

A rarity even when West Coast Choppers was in full swing, the WCC CFL frame in a single downtube configuration is something you may never see in person, so few were the build numbers.

Never offered to the general public as an option on a CFL frame, you either had to have one built as a shop bike, or "have an in" at WCC to obtain one.

Because WCC wouldn't sell one, a lot of independent shops took a customer's regular CFL frame, and converted it to a single downtube. But, considering the thousands of WCC CFL frames that were built, a genuine WCC-built single loop CFL frame is as rare as hen's teeth. Every once and awhile, a bare frame will show up on Ebay with the WCC pedigree, and commands a pretty good penny to obtain it. Right or wrong, the last one I saw on Ebay went for 9 grand......

Photos 7 and 8 aren't shop-built bikes, but all the single loop frames, and every bike in this post are WCC-built single downtube frames.

Mark Nelson's single loop CFL. It was at the end of this photo shoot for Hardcore Choppers Japan that mark earned his nickname "9 1/2". It's a widely-known story, but if you haven't read or heard about it, you'll just have to ask Mark. This is another one that's in my shop-built "Top 5 CFL's" list.

I saved this one for last. The photo was taken "upstairs" at WCC soon after the move to the Anaheim St. shop. From what I understand, Jesse did this frame at the beginning of the CFL frame manufacturing as a prototype design. As far as I know, there were only two of this exact style frames built - this one, and the one below.......

This is my single downtube CFL frame. OriginallyI had asked Jesse if WCC could build this frame for a client of mine in Santa Fe, and Jesse said, "Yeah, sure....". Well, I kept asking, and Jesse kept saying "Sure...", but it was through the persistent lobbying of Mark (9 1/2) Nelson, that it was finally completed in '05.

It was funny, at the time this was assembled, WCC had a "showroom" and a "shop" cam operating, and you could see what was going on in those locations on Jesse's website Chopperdogs. The shop camera happened to be pointed just right, and you could see the guys assembling this frame in the jig all that week. Everybody was positive it was a frame for Jesse Rooke. I never said anything different. Originally, I had the go-ahead to buy a couple of these style frames, but money ws tight, and I only had WCC build this one, with an option to get one for myself later on.

Well, it turned out that my client in Santa Fe decided to forgo his new build, and bought a KTM or something instead. He offered the frame back to me, and I didn't hesitate buying it, vowing that it wouldn't ever leave here again. I've had some pretty outrageous $$$$$ offers to sell this frame over the years, and I've turned them all down.

The specs on this frame are 1" up, 2" out, with a 35 degree rake, with a special spiderweb gusset cut to match. The curved downtube and backbone are 1 1/2" dia. x 1/4" wall tubing, with the remainder of the frame tubes at the standard WCC 1 1/8" x 1/8" wall tube. It was originally set up for a 200 tire, and a drop down battery box, when that battery location was a shop CFL built-only offering.

I have the original MSO (signed by Pearl) for the frame, and the original custom order build sheet for it. Another strange thing about this frame is that the VIN # for it is stamped under the front engine mount, not on the mount's front surface like other CFL's are.

You might just see this frame on the road this year, that's all I'm coping to.........

More mailbag.....

Capt. Cal, a faithful follower of Applied Machete, sent me the original article from the July '60 issue of Car Craft, on the BSA-powered kart I had in my previous post You'd do it in a heartbeat..., on Jan. 16,'11. You can read it here:

While the photo I posted wasn't included in the original CC article, nor the two models (too bad!), I was right in my guess that George Barris was the photog, as he is credited in the article as such. Thanks again, Cal, for sending along these scans, they were most appreciated!

As always, any additional information or photos you'd like to send me related to previous posts you've read is always welcomed. I'll share it with everybody as a follow-up. Send them to: