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.
Mister street fighter Alan (good friend) decides to put a Ducati 916 seat unit on his GSXR. I said “what’s that got to do with me?” “Well, I want you to turn the square back lights into round inset lights! Can you do it?” he said. “Of course, but you find the lights you want to fit!” “Deal.”
A few days later he turns up with the light housings. Now the work begins.
Turning the square holes into round ones was straight forward. Making the housing to mount the new lights on was not. It means weldingplastic mounts into the seat unit that would take a plate with the lights on and come out with ease once on the bike, not fouling on the frame.
It all went surprisingly well; Alan was over the moon when it was finished. The only reservations I had was the red paint work on a blue and white paint scheme. Turns out Alan had a problem too with the paint work because the next time I saw the bike it was black with polished metal work. Now it looked really sexy!
The other day I had to nip out to get some materials. A bit of an under statement as it involved a journey of a hundred miles each way. As we were going up the by pass at the beginning of the trip there was a metallic clanging sound of something hitting the under side of the truck which slowed progress as I considered whether or not to stop and check. Needless to say I didn’t as the van felt and ran OK.
Ninety odd miles later . We stopped at a well known supermarket for a break. To be met by a shushing noise. A quick look round the truck did not show anything untoward but the shh persisted; then I noticed that the rear near side tyre looked soft. In that short time it was half flat, the air was coming out that fast. I can’t believe it – another puncture! and its the new one! I will not repeat what was said but I think you can guess!
I ran round to the cab pulled out the jacking kit and got it in place just before it went completely flat. Ten minutes later the Tyre was changed.
Before we returned home I wanted the puncture repaired, so tracked down a tyre shop and took it in. “No prob’ mate have that done for you in a jiffy”. Then things went sideways I saw him call over a colleague and then me. It took us all by surprise. I was told that I had been extremely lucky that it had not blown apart when it happened. The pictures speak for them selves!
The owl was very hungrey.so we gave it some chicken cat food. The brown stain on her front is the gravy from the food.. She is sitting on my shoulder for this feast.
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 came as a shock to find an owlsitting on the fence looking at me as I came out of the door. He/she just sat there, then opened his wings and took off heading towards me I ducked and as I did he landed on my back Wow! I moved back to upright slowly and as I did he walked up my back until he was on my shoulder.
Jac was standing beside me when this happened she could not believe what she had just witnessed not only that but the owl allowed her to stroke him, while she was doing this she managed to get the number of the ring he was wearing and the web address, to cut a long story short we ended up at www.ring.ac which tracks ringed birds across the country. We emailed them and waited for an answer.
But what now? I moved my hand up to stroke the owl and as I did, it gently pecked at my hand so we decided to find it something to eat. It had started to rain so I moved back in to the workshop with the owl still on my shoulder and waited for Jac to come back with some food.
Once he got the hang of it he tucked into a bit of real chicken pieces cat food. When he had decided he had had enough he flew off my shoulder on to a ladder that was standing at the back of the workshop, he looked quite happy so we put a bowl of water down locked the workshop and waited for some info.
The following day some info started to come in. It turns out he travelled from Thetford, Suffolk. Quite a way! He was spotted a couple of weeks earlier by another local in the area.
At around about midday Weirfeild wildlife Hospital in Lincoln ( www.weirfield.co.uk ) came to pick the owl up. We were informed he had been let back into the wild from captivity but had not gone back to complete wildness.
It was a great experience and a shame to see him go. You never know he may return when they let him loose again.
We were asked to customize some Suzuki GSXR upper side panels. This a story from warmer times.
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.
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 seems that you are not. We had a gent in the Monday before the start of TT week. He had his Ducatti re-sprayed ready for the trip. Some cracks had appeared in the plastic that the sprayer said had been plastic welded.
The spray job was great but there was a problem with the so called plastic welding. It was a bit of filler and fiber glass smeared across the back for support hence it had re-cracked, no surprise there!
Just recently another customer was almost suckered by a spray shop saying they could plastic weld. When they started talking about reinforcing the back to stop it cracking further, he decided not to go back because he lost trust in them. He felt they did not know what they were doing.
Plastic welding has been around for a long time. It is recognised by insurance companies as a proper repair meeting their very high standards. It is also part of the NVQ, SNVQ, National diploma, Higher National diploma and Foundation degree for motor vehicle engineering and yet some repair shops still bodge repairs; there is no call for it; this is part of the reason we do not spray, you can see we have given you the ‘real deal’!
We have seen over the years repairs using super glue, rivets with metal support, soldering iron and super glue, filler and fiberglass and wire ties. All valid temporary repairs by the DIYer but have no place in the professional workshop.
If you are paying large amount of money for a repair you should expect the best, it’s not always a good idea to go to a one stop shop; once the paint is on you do not know what you have paid for. It may be a great finish but will it be let down by the foundation crumbling.
I know, I know, it is this offices nick name for peanut butter. How this happens to be I don’t know but it makes people smile and chuckle. Bringing out a number of Witticisms on the subject of wind. Things like, ‘who has seen the wind, neither I nor you, but when the leaves hang trembling, the CEO is passing through’. And – ‘Here comes windy miller!’ – even if their name is not miller. – ‘There’s a stiff breeze in here!’. You get the jest of it I’m sure!
What has prompted all this hilarity?- a jar of peanut butter has appeared and – you have guessed it – no one is owning up to this heinous crime or who is having it in there sandwiches. The investigation is a foot.
I should apologise to all those who find this sort of talk offends their sensibility’s – ‘Polite Society’ is not amused by such vulgarity. All I can say is it makes the situation worse for those who find it funny, leaving them in fits of laughter at your disapproval.
All this talk about peanut butter brings back fond memories of travelling across the States – the land of all things peanut!. At a point in that journey I was living on peanut butter, jam and cheese sandwiches for all my meals, – I don’t remember it being that windy though! Ha! Ha! Ha! Having said that, maybe that was why I was travelling by myself!!!
This is a new one on me it is extra roasted and very course cut. It is very moreish mmmmmm!
I think it is probably me who is responsible for the peanut butter and having a convenient senior moment – ha ha!. Oh! just before I go, can anyone tell us what the problem is with cold bake beans with a salad this too breaks some people up?.