Saturday, January 3, 2009

Harry Bear (Harold Baer)

Harry Bear was a custom painter in Hayward, Ca. and the personal bike he built was featured in the June '73 issue of Custom Chopper magazine. It's a classic combo of slabside Shovelhead shoehorned into a '33 VL frame. It uses a Paugho "axed Harley" tank with the filler neck relocated to the center, and a '36 ford spare tire ring fender. It was also the first bike I ever saw with a tooled leather seat and p-pad. I always liked this bike.

Speaking of VL frames, I'm still hacking off the bad mods on my frame - just page down a few posts. I've modified countless VL frames to put Big Twin engines in for people, and every frame is a different challenge, a different conversion. I got the bad section of seatpost cut out, but before I could do that, I had to get the remains of the pogo stick out of there. Whoever hacked it up before just whacked the post off flush with the frame, and welded the seatmount over the top of it. It took me FOUR HOURS to get the pogo stick out, it's probably been in there for over 70 years. I used Kroil, heat, an air hammer, a long punch, a sawzall, and a large assortment of swear words, but like I always say "No muff too tough...". It's out several pieces, but it's out.

I also started removing all the weld and crap in the backbone/seatpost area, too. They never put any gussets in here, they just ran stick weld bead on top of weld bead then they ground it down to form the gussets there. I think they thought all the frame junctions were cast iron instead of forgings, and the rod they used was hard as a rock. I tried cutting it all out with the sawzall, using Lennox "firetooth" blades, but the welds just laughed at that - about an 1/8" deep cut, and there were NO teeth left on the blade. It all came out with a cutoff wheel, and a detail grinder. This is going to be a challenge to rebuild this area, and have it appear "stock".

I got some 1 1/8" dia. thick walled DOM tubing, and turned it over to the machinist to make me my slugs to splice in all the new and repair tubing. See, this frame is "old" spec tubing. The OD is 1 1/4", but the wall thickness is a little over 3/32". Plus, the new tubing will be 1/8" wall DOM, so I had to have him run me some slugs with a different OD on each end for the splices. When I get the slugs back, I'll post up some update pictures on the repairs and mods for you.

No comments: