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Old 02-17-2011, 01:00 AM   #15
tenorjazz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA
Oddometer: 263
I would like to step back a little and bring this project up to date by giving you a little back story.

Last summer, my friend Dave, got me down to the vintage motorcycle trials and motor-cross. It was one of the most fun weekends I've had in a long time. I've always wanted to have a trials bike, but the stars never lined up correctly and it never happened. A few weeks later, at a second show, I knew I wanted to get a bike and was lucky enough to meet a guy who had what I was looking for. My hope was to find something I could restore, from the ground up, and that's just what he had. (see the pictures on a previous post). With the purchase of this "new" bike in process I got a surprise when Dave offered to give me a bike to ride, for as long as I wanted. All I had to do was "restore" it. So that's how I ended up with 2 65' Bultacos to restore.

OK... now how does somebody, who has never restored a bike, go about setting up a workshop and learn the skills to take on such a task. First let me say, I'm a pretty handy guy, having built many things over the years. I've also spent some time in a machine and sheet-metal shop, where I picked up a few skills. On top of that I have been a potter for about 40 years. So I'm pretty good with my hands and have a far amount of tools. So I figure, how hard could it be.

Here's a list of skills and tools I wanted to put together for this project:
1. Welding - I'm not a great welder, but over the years I've learned how to stick steel together with a torch or wire welder. Last year someone loaned me both a gas welding rig and a big MIG welder (check)
2. Painting - I've done a lot of spraying in my pottery business, but that is very different from what I would need for restoring bikes. However, I do have a small spray booth and a compressor (more on this later). I still need a lot of work on this.
3. Powder Coating - I've read a lot about powder coating and it seems like a really good idea, but I don't think I can afford to pay someone else to do it. So I found a gun that was better than the bottom end guns, but is not as expensive as a pro gun. I find the application is very similar to spaying pottery glaze and I have ended up using a pottery kiln to cure the powder coating (works really good).
4. Polishing Metal - It is amazing how bright you can shine up a piece of steel or aluminum. I'm still trying to figure this out, but I've had a couple of things turn out pretty nice. I did have to get a polishing wheel.
5. Media Blasting - Now here's a challenge. Blast cabinet, got a cheap one from Harbor Freight that is sort of OK, but leaks a lot. Also got a "tank blaster" to do things that won't fit in the cabinet and "soda" blaster for the carburetor and other "fine" parts.

I'll come back to some other tools and things later, but this is a good time to talk about problems.

1. My original compressor didn't make nearly enough pressure or volume to run a blaster, so I needed a new compressor. In the end I actually need to tie both my compressors together to get enough power to run the blaster.
2. Powder Coating and probably painting (I haven't gotten into this yet) require extremely "clean" air. That means NO water, NO oil, or any other little bits of things. I spent nearly a whole month trying to get my powder coating to work without "fish-eyes". I ended up installing 4-5 filters and water extractors but I finally have really clean air.
3. Polishing has something to do with magic!! I have been able to get a few things up to the level I want them but right when I think I have it figured out, the next piece doesn't work.

So over the last couple of months I have been learning how to polish, powder coat, weld, and blast, as well as tear a motor completely down and put it back together (well I'm in the process). Can't wait to have the motor up and running and then I get to learn about shocks and forks and wheel hubs and brakes and all the other things.

The cool thing about working on a Bultaco is that it is about as simple as it gets, but the final product should be an incredibly fun bike to ride.

If anybody is interested I will go into detail, with photos, to show the good and bad of my progress.
Life is short, live and enjoy it !!!

05' BMW R1200GS - If you can only afford one bike...
06' VStrom 650 - Fond memories (gone)
06' Suzuki DRZ400 - Wish I could afford two bikes (gone)


S.O. Bikes
07' VStrom 650 ABS (Silver)
05' VStrom 650 (Red) - Sold to get one with ABS
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