Wrapping up my present to myself.

Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl

I had known when I bought my motorcycle, that I didn’t want a red bike. But it was too good of a deal to pass up. I wasn’t interested in painting it, because that seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth. Instead I bought a 5’x5′ piece of 3m Matte Copper vinyl, so I could try wrapping it.Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl

It took two evenings, and was quite interesting to do. I couldn’t manage to wrap the tank in one piece, and ended up doing it in two pieces. I was amazed at how much it changed the look of the bike.

Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl

Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl
One unexpected part of the project, the “Suzuki” lettering on the tank had been clearcoated over at some point in the bike’s history. AS I couldn’t remove it, I wrapped right over it. This resulted in an interesting ghost effect on the tank that I quite like.

Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl

Cheap transportation replacement acquired!

On Saturday(while I was a state away buying my new bike), a good friend pulled out in front of a car that was going much faster than she thought, and they hit her in the driver’s wheel, spinning her car and totaling it.

Cheap transportation replacement acquired!

She got away with a few nasty bruises, and her toddler in the back seat was completely unharmed, despite her car seat being twisted 90deg on its base by the impact. Her car however is a writeoff, and with liability only she’s unlikely to see much, if any, payout from the accident.

I loaned her Box, and drove the ‘64 pickup to work. She needed safe cheap wheels fast, so off to Craigslist I went. Her only requirements were FWD or AWD & new enough to have the LATCH car seat system.

Cheap transportation replacement acquired!

I got lucky on my first search and found this 2002 Chevy Prizm. With an auto trans and grey on grey color scheme, it is pretty damn boring. But it has only 162K, everything works including the a/c, there is little rust, and I got it for all of $1100.

Cheap transportation replacement acquired!

Both she and I would have loved to get her something more interesting, but sometimes life doesn’t give you much choice in the matter. At least it is better(and newer) than the turd of a Focus she got from her ex-husband, and should be reliable enough to let her save some money for something nicer down the line.

Bought a new toy with less tires than usual.

I’ve spent most of my life terrified of the idea of riding a motorcycle. This year I decided I was tired of being irrationally scared of something, so I took a motorcycle riding course to decide if it was a rational fear or not. The end result? It turns out to I do like it.

Now that I decided I wanted to ride a bike again, I needed a  bike. After a pile of research I decided I wanted a 500-ish cc standard bike with an upright seating position. To this end, I ended up buying a 1996 Suzuki GS500E with ~17K miles for $850. It needs a bit of a tuneup/carb adjustment, needs a new gas door lock and a PO drilled out the back of the muffler, so it sounds like a bike with holes in the muffler.

But it runs & rides well, and has brand new tires & rear brakes. I am already researching parts for repairs & upgrades.

So I repainted my basement door this weekend…

The basement is bigger on the inside…

This was the basement door when I bought the house. Ugly, rotting and two shades of beige(I believe these colors are “spoiled putty” and “depressing temp cubicle”).

The long term plan is to rip this whole thing down and rebuild it to be less terrible, but that is really far down the priority list, so in the mean time it needed some sprucing up. First I patched the rotted door & damaged sill with some aluminum, then I scraped all the loose paint off the door. You can see the doors are faced in T1-11, which is about the worst surface for the project, it is both a rough surface and has vertical grooves ever 5-ish inches. But sometimes you have to work with what you have.

Next came a coat of primer, tinted to help make the blue brighter. This was already a massive improvement. This and the blue were both slathered on very thick to try and fill the tiny cracks & splits in the wood to both smooth the surface and improve the durability of the whole project.

Then the blue, this was the first coat, it was too dark for pictures by the time the 2nd coat went on. The color is Behr “Sapphire Lace” from Home Depot, this or their “Jazz Blue” are good matches for Tardis blue.

Then came the masking. You can see I’ve already masked & painted the black for the “Police Box” sign at the top. This website was useful for doing the faux panels on the door.

Then the painting started. I’d love to say we had some plan for how to get to the various colors, but honestly it was a lot of “eh, that looks about right.” We took some of the blue and in one cup added white to lighten it, and in another added black. We painted the vertical lines, then added more tint to shift the colors further and once the first paint had dried we masked the corners and painted the horizontals. The window ”glass” is the same colors as the lower horizontal on the panels.

Painting completed. The window muntins were done slightly darker to make them stand out more. I ended up having to do a lot of touching up of paint bleeding under the tape due to the rough surface. I’m going to go back and edge the windows just to make them a bit crisper.

The sign lettering is simple stick-on vinyl lettering from Ace hardware. While the font isn’t perfect, it is pretty good, and the letters being slightly thick helps as this door is wider than the actual Tardis door.

With handles installed. Aside from the window edging this is done for right now. I’d love to add the door sign but the only one I’ve found that looks like it would stand up to being outside is 16” tall, and I need one that is 12-13” tall.

At this point you probably think I’m a huge Dr. Who fan, but actually I’m not. I like the show and enjoy it if I happen to catch it, but that is about it. I did this because a friend suggested it for that ugly door and it is exactly the sort of silly and whimsical project I love taking on. It is the same reason I make planters out of motorhomes, stick matchbox cars to my wall, and have teeth on my snowblower.

New England joys

Things are a bit frozen over here at the garage of improbability. Work on outside projects has stopped dead, and inside projects are moving at a crawl at best.

With luck it will start to warm up in the next few weeks and things can get moving again. Until then I’ll just hope I don’t need to get anything out of the shed.

Digging into the new cab

Got the new cab tilted on it’s back, and started digging into the underside.

The outer rockers have been replaced already, but whoever did it didn’t actually fix the rust under them, just covered it with new rockers. I knew about this, so I’ll have to cut the new outer rockers off to properly fix the stuff behind them(inner rockers and lower front pillars).



Also found rust in all four cab braces, floors in front outer corners, cowl vents, & cowl panels below vents.



Annoyingly, I found out the cab corners *were* replaced, but done very badly and covered with bondo. Those are coming out too, to be done right



As bad as this all looks, It is still better than my other cab. I have everything to fix it except 1 cab brace & the lower front pillars. I’m going to form the patches for the cowl vents as those are invisible under the fenders.



I’ve decided that the cab is a low priority, I’m going to get all the rust *on* the truck delt with, then swap the cab over. However I wanted to mess with the cab a bit, so I decided to knock something easy out first.

This cab was from a deluxe trim truck (like the other ’64 I had), so I need to weld up the 4 sail panel screw holes, and the 4 larger side trim holes. I may put the side trim on this truck later, but if I do I’m going to used double sided trim tape.



For the small sail trim holes I just removed the paint and filled the holes with the welder & ground them smooth.






For the bigger trim holes I’m making small circular filler pieces and welding those in. A skim coat of filler and these should be perfect.


Bedside Grind

Sunday I decided I wanted to do something that would make the truck look better, and not just make the parts in the garage look better. So I broke out the D/A and angle grinder and stripped the passenger bedside. The truck has been repainted once, and the top coat of fawn came off with no effort, the newer primer and original paint/primer put up more of a fight though. I did manage to get it all stripped in one day.

I did find filler behind the wheel and one spot higher up in front of the wheel, but the filler was in good shape and looking at the backs of the panel it appears to be smoothing small imperfections and not massive dents, so I left it in place rather than grinding it out only to have to re-do it.

The paint did not want to come off the bedside cap for anything so I left it for now. I’ll have to re-grind this whole area when I install the ’50 Pontiac lights, so I’ll worry about it then.




There was two spots of rot in the wheelwell, which I knew about. I  also found some pinhole rust in the bottom of the bedside cap. Nothing dire though.

Once it was stripped, I coated it in Masterseries anti-rust paint as we have thunderstorms predicted for this week. I’ll just grind back the Masterseries when I get to he rust repair & bodywork.

Truck temporary assembly & cab acquisition


DSC_3239I put some of my junk parts on the truck so I could use it. I have to admit it looks pretty cool like this. I drove it up the Boston to drop of some shelving that has been sitting in the truck since the fall, and I got more thumbs up and compliments with the truck like this than in any other trip.




I put the hood on shortly thereafter, as having the engine exposed while the truck was parted outside seemed like asking for trouble.





Got my “new” ’66 cab home the next Saturday. I ended up paying only $400 for it, and the guy threw in a beat up aluminum grille for free.




Rounded up 3 of my friends to load it in the truck and unload it into my garage. The unloading was full on 3-stooges madness trying to get it out of the truck inside the garage without smacking it into the roof beams.




Once it was in my garage, I finally was able to dig deeper into the new cab and see whet I now had.




It came with the full dash(lessheater stuff), AM radio, steering column & wheel), and a set of nice blue sun-visors(the center mirror looks nice, but the ball & socket is rusted solid). I’ll be keeping the wiper switch as it appears to have a washer switch built in, other than that everything else is getting sold to help put some money back in the truck fund.


DSC_3252The biggest selling point for me is that the roof is perfect inside & out. No dents or rust(the rust at the front edge of the inside roof in the sun visors pic is surface rust from where the scraped the paint getting the windshield out). All the roof should need is a quick sand & re-prime for some tiny surface rust spots, new sealant in the gutter and to be painted.




The bad now, there is rust in the floors at the outer edge, though not much.




The cab has also had cab corners and rockers done, but they put the new rocker on over any issues under there, and made the inner rocker out of scrap steel and barely welded it to anything. So the outer rocker is coming back off so I can re-do this area.



There is also this mystery patch, so that has to come off to find out what is going on there.



The only rust not in the floor I’ve found so far is in the driver’s drip rail(but non in the passenger side, weirdly). Once I remove the rusty one, I’ll either scavenge the one off my old cab, or cut the rusted section off the drip rail and weld on new metal.