That wasp has one big sting.
We receive lots of enquires every week. Some turn into jobs while others are looking for information. We treat all contacts with customers the same. We listen to what they have to say and direct them accordingly. Even those calls that sound like a wind up!
Earlier in the year we had a phone call from a man that wanted a toilet seat repaired – Yes that’s right – toilet seat, and yes I thought it was a wind up. Even so, I listened to what he had to say. I got the impression that as he was relating what had happened, he suddenly realised that what he was asking was a strangely funny request. His voice changed, it now had some amusement in it. The conversation between us then turned in to a bit of a joke. Even so it was a genuine enquiry for a repair.
I had to admit that it was not a repair we did on a regular basis and if he was serious about it, then he would need to bring it along for us to look at. He was as good as his word. A couple of weeks later he turned up.
We talked and joked about the phone call while we looked at and tested to see if it was a thermoplastic. It proved to be otherwise, in fact we do not believe it was a plastic at all but some kind of stone composite.
He pressed us to repair it. It was not a job that we really wanted to get involved with. But agreed in the end to have a go with a two pack urethane. I assured him that we would not put it on the shelf and forget about it, but he would need to allow a couple of weeks so we could plan how we would repair it and once planned carry it out.
I had the impression when he left us that he didn’t believe that we would be in-touch in a couple of weeks. To his surprise we called two weeks later and to our surprise he was very pleased with the result.
It had been a wet damp day and with it getting dark at about four I had decided to shut the workshop early as we were up to date with work and had no bookings for people to drop or collect.
It was early spring when we had a call from a gent about doing some
custom work on a Suzuki GSXR. He wanted to give his side panels that Yoshimura look. The out line was would we be able to make a series of air vents and weld them into the side panels. I was more than interested as one of my first custom jobs was a GSXR of roughly the same year. So I have a bit of a soft spot for these bikes.
Over the weeks that followed it became clear that there was not the budget needed to allow us to fabricate the vents from plastic and weld them in, as the customer wanted. Which was a shame! When it comes to making parts from scratch it is labour intensive. But all was not lost the customer had discovered a set of fibre glass vents that matched what he wanted to achieve and asked us if we would be able to make them fit.
After some weeks the vents turned up at the workshop and with a bit of trepidation I opened the package. I have nothing against fibre panels but I have seen some really bad ones. These surprised me, they had a quality finish and looked the same size. On very careful inspection one was slightly smaller than the other and they curved more than the panels they were being fitted into; which in the end lead to an over complicated fitting arrangement.
Once the holes were cut to shape in the side panels, some plastic material was cut to fill the gap left by the original vent. Then a lip was cut into the plastic where the new fibre vents would sit. If they had not been made with an exaggerated curve this part of the job would not have been necessary. It took two of us to bond each vent into place. When this was set the vents were then fibre glassed in with a water proof matt to stop weather degradation. When the fibre glass was dry we used a special flexible filler to fill between the two materials to reduce the chance of cracking.
It is always nice to hear that the customer is happy with the results especially when it is done long distance.
Lets hope there is a change in the weather soon.
A distressed looking man is walking towards the doors of the workshop, in his hands are two plastic shopping bags. We unpacked the bags and laid out the contents piece by piece on to the work bench. I started placing the jigsaw of a faring together, the shape it formed was that of a Honda CBR 600F side panel. On closer inspection it became more complicated, there were a number of pieces missing, some of these major.
I looked at him, he said “I was told it could not be done” I replied ” The only limiting factor is price” A smile crossed his face the first bit of good news in his quest to put his pride and joy back on the road. ” This is why we say bring it in let us see it in the flesh.” It was not a lost cause. After fixing the price, he left with a happier look, to return in a couple of weeks.
We had our work cut out, first thing to do was to fix all the bits together so the main part of the faring was in one piece, then we could start fabricating the missing parts, these would be cut from sheet plastic of the same material, if it is not the same type it will not weld together.
We are not like other repairers in that, we do not use two pack fillers to replace parts that are missing in thermoplastic products which a lot of faring’s are made from. Other repairers will do this were they can get away with it or say it cannot be done. If you have a vintage farings on your bike would you not want the best repair possible for this rare item? I know I would!
When you use the same material to repair a breakage it should act in the same way that it did before it was broken. If you introduce another part whether it’s filler or fiberglass it will change the way the panel acts and can cause the repair to fail in the future.
When the man returned he did not believe that it was the same panel until I showed him the back with it’s fine lines of weld. He was very pleased with the result.
Author | Editor | Father of Thor | Veteran | Military Spouse
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