Its been a long time since Ive made a post. Ive been very busy with my new business and this project was the most ambitious one Ive ever taken. This CB450 Cafe started from 3 incomplete rust buckets. There were many obstacles that came about that caused this project to be shelved due to frustration. But after 2.5 years, this bike was finished and on the road!
I based the bike around the Black Bomber K0 Chrome paneled fuel tank. Ive always loved this tank as its iconic shape gave it it’s sinister nickname. I chose to use dark natural tones for the color scheme. Dark bronze powder coating for the frame, while the engine, wheels, tank and seat pan were a flat black. Accents were done with polished aluminum, and a slight touch of brass and copper. The seat was made out of a Dark brown distressed deer skin leather and the tank straps came from a 1940s WWII german era messenger bag.
I added a lot of touches to the bike which may not be necessary, but made the bike fun for me. This includes a brass headlight visor with a custom rock grill, bar end turn signals, dual vintage Lucas glass lens tail lights, leather wrapped grips, and copper drain lines on the carburetors. The headlight was from a 60s era moped with an integrated speedometer. The rear of the frame was chopped off and the battery and all electrical components were moved under the custom seat pan. I wanted the bike to look open with little to no wires showing. The exhaust was a custom 2 to 1 with a flat black heat shield. The headers surprisingly have turned to a brass tone that matches the visor and tank emblems.
I am sure that I will add more fun touches to the bike, bike as of now, I plan to use my little spare time riding it. For a detailed description of the build process, click HERE.
Special thanks to Jason Hemp, Paul Scheissl, and Brian for the help with fabrication, building, or mechanical assistance, and Gene Lee for the amazing photos!
I have always had an insatiable itch to modify, customize or tweak everything I own. I will look at something I own and see how I feel it ‘should’ be and if I don’t make it so, it will torment me. This was always the case with my BMW R/75. Don’t get me wrong, I have done a lot of work at that machine, but I never went ‘all out’. The BMW has always been the trusty stead that brought me and my girl around. However, that always meant I couldn’t chop the frame and put a solo seat in. In other words, I couldn’t fully cafe the bike, so I had to settled with a partial cafe and vintage mod. I love the BMW, but I always wanted something more custom.
Shortly after moving into a house in San Francisco with a large garage, I began thinking about a new project. One day I get a text from a friend linking to a Craigslist ad for 3 rusty and incomplete early 70s cb450s. The task of converting all that into a complete and running bike seemed incredibly daunting to me, but I was easily persuaded and the next thing I knew, my garage was filled with rusty parts.
This one was the only engine that I could get to turn over, so it was chosen as the base for the bike.
The bikes were taken entirely apart. Each part was sand blasted and polished, or powder coated. All in my garage on a shoestring budget. I DIYed a sandblasting booth using a Rubbermaid bin, a $30 sandblasting gun, and a $75 used compressor. For powder coating, a $40 Craftsman powder coating gun, and the largest used toaster oven I can find. The toaster oven was perfect for anything that can fit in its 12″ x 12″ space. For larger things I got a little more creative. I definitely do not recommend doing this, but I made a wood box large enough to fit a motorcycle frame and lined the inside with sheet rock rated to 220 degrees. The sheet rock was then lined with tin foil. I made a manifold out of a steel pipe that connects to a propane tank. The steel pipe was drilled to allow the propane to flow through. When lit, it created a great heating source. To avoid direct flame from hitting the actual parts, I used a metal rain gutter guard as a shield to place over the open flame. With some tweaking, I was able to get the oven to 350 to 400 degrees! Did I mention the sheet rock was rated to 220?
Polishing and powder coating are very meditative processes. I found a lot of joy in taking something old and rusty and making it look as new. Its very convenient to be setup to do both of these processes in your own home. You can then powder coat any piece you want any color you want it. This can allow for an OCD level of color control and coordination, down to every bolt, washer, or nut. I wanted a darker color scheme but wanted to stay with natural tones. The frame was powder coated a dark bronze while the rest of the bike was either flat black or polished aluminum. I used a dark brown distressed leather for the seat to compliment the bronze. The tank straps were re-purposed from a 1940s WWII era German messenger bag.
I taped up the engine and sandblasted it while it was all together. The engine seemed to run well, so I didnt want to tear it all apart. Since it wouldnt fit into my sandblasting rubbermaid booth, I tipped my powder coating booth on its side, placed the engine inside and crawled in the sandblasting gun! This was another thing that I would not recommend. I had a beautifully clean engine afterwards as well as a crick in my back that lasted a week and half.
The tail end of the frame was cut off and I welded a raised platform that served as the base for the seat pan as well as the mounting area for all the electrical components. I used a full size battery and relocated it to fit very snugly under the seat hump. I had to raise the platform an inch in the back, to allow enough clearance for the wheel to not rub if the shocks get fully compressed. I used a piece of wood to act as a spacer to raise the fiberglass seat pan up to line up well with the tank. It was important for me to have these lines match up for continuity. Im referring to the back of the tank and the seat hump. I feel that if you draw an imaginary line continuing from the top back of the tank, it should meet with the rear seat hump. This makes the bike look balanced. With the pipe sweeping towards this direction as well, it makes the your eyes want to move towards the back of the bike.
Performance wise, this thing is a beast. I can see how this bike dominated the circuits when it first came out. It has some great pull and handles very nice. I consider the bike finished as it looks clean and runs, but projects like this never fully end. I will be upgrading to an electrical ignition and upgrade its charging systems. I have a few aesthetic details I still want to add, but for now this bike will be spent on the road more than on the bench it lived on the last few years.
So we moved into a new house this year. Well, a new ‘old’ house since it was built in the 1920s. The house has some charming elements to it like wood flooring and moldings, but also some annoying elements like leaky faucets, 2 prong outlets, and a large fireplace that has been made non-functional by an overly paranoid land lord. Unfortunately, the fireplace is right in the center of our living room which was the only sensible spot to place the tv and entertainment center. The one big problem with this is the fact that I cant stand the way modern technology looks in contrast with all the antiques we have! So I was on a mission to find a way to hide all of these components and hopefully make something cool in the process. I quickly sketched out a drawing for a wood facade/cabinet and a way to encase our new 37″ flat screen HDTV. I quickly went out and bought all the wood and parts, but lost motivation quickly as I slowly recalled why I hate working with wood. It makes a huge mess!
The project went very slowly and sat in the garage for a couple of months. I then received a new motivational force. I was contacted by the Discovery channel to participate in an episode of a new show. They wanted to film me and my art in my house! But they wanted to do it in a week and a half!
So I had to make this mess…
Into something presentable…
I didn’t finish everything, but I did enough to hide everything in time for the filming. I still wanted to make small stands to place each squid display on. These would be directly on the sides of the cabinet and would hold the squids at a much lower height. The tops of the squid displays would be at the center height of the TV. This would make the whole display look more balanced. However, since the filming has completed, that extra motivation I had to complete the project is gone, so the unfinished pieces will have to sit in the garage for now.
Since we don’t plan on living here forever, I had a budget for the project. The structure of the cabinet utilized cheap woods, but it was skinned with high quality pieces and nice Victorian trims and moldings. I used a metal grate like material for the doors on the lower cabinet. This was to allow me to still use the remote control on the cable box, Stereo Receiver, and DVD player..etc.
I then made a piece that encased the entire TV and added closing doors that fold open and reside to the sides to allow viewing of the screen. To be able to use the remote on the TV, I had to cut out a hole to expose the sensor. Victorian style wood knobs were added as the finishing touches!
Id like to still add more details to these pieces to make this appear more so like my original concept, but we will see when I get to them. So expect an update in the next year or so?!?!
Having grown out of my first bike, a Honda cb350, I was on a search for something bigger and older. Although it was only a few years older, I was enamored by all the little details and I saw a great potential in this 1971 BMW R75/5. I purchased this bike almost 10 years ago from a very knowledgeable BMW enthusiast in Santa Cruz. It has gone through many phases since and will probably go through many more. My tastes seem to endlessly evolve, and as a result, so do my toys.
Below, you can see the bike as how it was purchased.
The bike was built from the frame up with all the aesthetic details of a 1971 /5, but houses a 1976 /6 engine. As the 70s developed, in my opinion, details began to be sacrificed for cheap plastic counter parts. For example, the /5s had the beautiful headlights with the integrated instrument panels, while the /6s started using the plastic instrument clusters.
(Above)Top view of my /5 headlight and instrument panel. Compared to the plastic panels added to the /6s (Below)
The first thing I did when I purchased this bike was sell the Krauser Saddle Bags and the 8 gall touring tank and find a nice toaster tank. The distinct chrome paneled tank was the main reason I coveted a r75 in the first place. In fact I love all the bikes in the 60s and early 70s that had a similar chrome paneling. This was when chrome was used correctly. As a detail and not a main color! No offense Harley guys….
The handlebars were then lowered to the euro style for a slightly more aggressive look. Again, I’m sacrificing comfort for style. These bars were more recently again lowered to black clubman style bars giving the bike a touch of a cafe feel. To create a older look, I added a Fender Plate otherwise known as a “Pedestrian Slicer” to the front fender.
Clubman Bars and Pedestrian Slicer
My obsessive search for rare and/or unique accessories came up with some good finds over the years.
-Headlight chrome protective bar
-Originally only 200 produced, Elephant ear beveled front fender.
-Header and Muffler grilled shields. (Originally made by Krauser?)
-Buco Saddlebags (Typically found more on /2s)
-Bar end turn signals (Originally used on /2s in the 60s)
With further attempts to take the 70s out of the bike, I removed all the turn signals. Although these aluminum signals are sought after and can fetch a decent amount all polished up, these little rectangular lights didn’t flow with the curves of the bike. I then went with the Bar End turn signals, which has lenses on the front and the back, which were used as the only signals for the /2s in the 60s. To add additional signal lights, I wired up the outer likes on the buco saddlebags as well, while the inner set on the bags serve as additional brake lights. With the bags off, Im going to have to trust drivers behind me to notice the bar ends.
(Above) Bike with the old turn signals, Euro Bars, and Tail Light
(Below) Bar end signals only, Clubman Bars, and older style Tail Light
The Tail light was a little more involving then a quick swap. A modified fender was required to fit this style light. Long story short, I purchased an old r75 fender in rough condition for 20 bucks, cut a chunk off the rear of the fender, and fiberglassed the hole to give it a different angel to allow the new light to be mounted properly. Painted, pinstriped, and clear coated, and it looks as if it was made to be this way. Paint was all done with rattle cans, the secret is with the clear coat. Its UV, chemical resistant and as strong as professional quality clear coats.
(Above) Fender in progress
(Below) Fender and Tail Light Finished
I know, I need to get the R75/5 seat badge…
I still have quite a few plans for future upgrades or modifications.
-Mounting antique styled spotlight with rear view mirrors (Trust me, it will be cool!)
-Working on a custom leather tank cover/bag
-Considering a different seating style such as a sprung saddle and a small Pillion in the back.
-Mikuni carb upgrade for quicker throttle response and a little more oomph at the top end..
-Different set of pipes (Just want something a little louder)
-1000cc upgrade??? hmmm
Ill keep updating this post as I progress through these projects, but as of now, here’s a few images!
A little over a year ago, I made the decision to start a new project in the form of a motorized bicycle. Little did I know how obsessive this project would become. This project took a hold of me so strongly that my mind seemed to permanently dedicate some percentage of my brain to be constantly working on it. Even sleep did not release me from its grips. Id lay in bed half asleep with dream induced visions of designs and concepts that mostly made no sense once I woke up. But tirelessly and with enough waken time dedicated to the project, the bike evolved into a fully functioning vehicle.
Most of the countless hours involved with this project, were not necessarily dedicated to aesthetics, but to performance as well . I broke my usual trend towards ‘Form over Function’. Instead of placing all emphasis on making something look wicked cool, and not caring about how well it worked, this bike actually meets my standards for how I want it to look, and its performance is top notch too!
Instead of trying to replicate an era or style of bike or motorcycle, I wanted to create something completely new. I do have many inspirations though. Mostly from old machinery and the details that once existed during a time in which everything was made by hand. Well before the invention of plastic, which has often been hailed as an ingenious development that allowed many things to then become mass produced. However, my perception involves plastic being the invention that made the world ugly.
Anyways, back to the bike…
Customization is not possible without accessories! Here is a list of things Ive added. Most of these items were either fabricated from scratch or a modification of some other object.
-Leather bat shaped skirts for the wheel fenders riveted in place with copper rivets.
-Antique brass bicycle lamp with a custom made visor as a headlight. Fitted into the housing are 52 LEDs powered by a custom battery housing that is hanging under the fuel tank.
-Miniature ‘Pedestrian Slicer’. This is the front plate on top of the front fender that antique motorcycles used as a license plate. Mine is still awaiting an emblem.
-Copper tubing as fuel line. The copper line was used in antique motorcycle and the looping pattern was actually functional to aid in preventing particulates from traveling from the tank to the carburetor. (This is very difficult to make without the right tool and strangely, I found this tool in a bag on the sidewalk!)
-Steel and Brass toolbox. Open on the right side with a skeleton key. It currently holds a tool kit, but may be used as a battery and charging system at some point)
-Antique glass fuel filter.
-Motel T tail light housing as the tail light. Fit with LEDs and works as a constant light as well as with a brake light.
-Custom made Brass air filter cover
-Wood fuel tank side panels.
-Brass fuel tank knee panels.
-Rear flip up kickstand.
-Red Jeweled Kill Switch
-Vintage style Saddle
-Vintage bicycle horn and glass reflectors.
-Brass or Copper hardware anywhere I can add it!
Performance wise, the bike is built around a Chinese 66cc 2-stroke engine. It has a jackshaft allowing the motor to drive the pedal side chain. The benefit of this is that you can now use traditional bicycle gearing! I have installed on the rear wheel a 7 speed nexus internal geared hub. Thats right, I have 7-speeds on this motorized vehicle! Front and rear suspension and full hard rubber mounting of the motor makes for a super smooth ride. An expansion chamber, custom head and tons of tweaks bring me to a top speed of about 45 mph (measured via gps on my android). I can probably squeeze a few more mph on this, but San Francisco does not have a long enough flat road! The tank holds about 3/4s of a gallon that can easily take me 90+ miles. The gearing improves the versatility of this bike drastically. I haven’t found a hill that I couldn’t climb. The big test for this bike was to ride it in the annual 49 Mile Vintage Motorcycle ride in San Francisco 2010. For those familiar with San Francisco, this ride included riding to the top of Twin Peaks and Coit Tower. In other words, this bike was able to climb the steepest hills all awhile keeping up with full sized motorcycles!
After 500+ miles clocked in on the bike, Ive received a good amount of attention. A true head turner you can say. I am humbly flattered every time a small crowd forms and inquires about what they are looking at. My response nowadays is more of a robotic speech that has entered into route memory in my brain from having answered the same question so many times. I believe there is a strong niche that can easily become a community or sub-culture based on this type of locomotion. A true vehicle for the subversive…..
There are many people that have made motorized bicycles, but only a few have used it as a medium for art and self expression. Ive toyed around with the idea of offering custom pieces. All will be top notch in performance as well as incredibly unique. If you are interested or just want to be on my email list regarding these vehicles, hit me up at Paradox@ThetentacleParadox.com or simple go here
This is my rifle, there are many like it, but this one is mine…
With the coming zombie apocalypse, everyone needs a rifle. In all the zombie novels, ground zero was always in China. However, if you are familiar with 6th st in San Francisco, you can see its already beginning there.This is within a mile from my house, so I had to be sure that Im ready. My weapon of choice was the SKS.
there were several reasons in which I chose the SKS.
-I like the all wood and steel of old firearms.
-They are old
-Im not a not a big fan of american guns, I like ‘Bad Guy’ guns..
-They are very customizable
-They are Cheap! Around $350
-It uses, in my opinion one of the best rounds. 7.62×39. Big enough to do what you need and cheaper then 9mm pistol rounds!
-and finally, they have a bayonet for those up close and personal moments
Since I cant seem to ever buy anything and leave it stock, I did a bunch of mods to both aesthetics and functionality.
This is what I did…
-Changed the wood top fore-grip to a metal vented one. Purely an aesthetic modification that makes it look ‘meaner’.
-Refinished the wood stock and stained in Blood Red! I actually used a few drops of my own blood. Sounds morbid, but I actually cut myself (on accident silly!) while prying open a very old can of wood stain. I then let a few drops of blood fall into my stain mix. The true secret to getting the red though is clothing dye.
-Polished the Bolt carrier, trigger, and mag housing to a nice almost chrome shine.
-Made a pouch that mounts to the butt stock to hold 2 stripper clips. Thats 20 rounds. This was made with rubber, and a bunch of rivets and eyelets. Functional and looks wicked at the same time!
-Changed the front site to a glowing red Williams Fire Site for better visibility.
-Removed the rear sight and installed a Tech-site with a small .41 aperture. Increases accuracy drastically.
Here is the before pic:
And this is the final product:
For all the purist that want to complain that I destroyed the historic value by changing it up like this, well…I didn’t! Every part I changed, the stock and all the parts I polished, were parts that I purchased spares of. I have all the original matching serial numbered item of the original and can put it all back in a good 5 minutes..
The Antediluvian Keyboard is a representation of an interest in civilization and technology from a time that has been forgotten, twisted, or even denied. A time in which only biblical stories, crypto-histories, and ancient artifacts surrounded by controversy are the only clues to this culture’s achievements. I had this in mind when creating the aesthetics of this functional piece. And with this, the final product was a merging of organic materials and technology.
This full sized keyboard was created from an old Model M clicky keyboard solidly made in 1986 by IBM. I was inspired to use this keyboard after seeing the success of it having been modded in a different fashion by an artist named Jake Von Slatt. The keyboard itself is superbly designed and very hefty compared to modern keyboards. Each key uses its own mechanical spring/switch, giving it the solid ‘clicking’ sound when typing. The first Model M keyboard I acquired had a couple flaws to it, so I ended up buying a second. One thing Ive noticed when opening up these 20+ yr old keyboards is that they always contain 20+ yr old Doritos crumbs!
The project took a full month of many tedious hours. Creating the design and template required great patience which is something I’m not used to practicing. The first piece I made was the face plate utilizing a very thin hobby grade sheet of wood (poplar). It needed to be thin enough to allow a slight curve when added to the keyboard. The tricky part was to make a template for all the holes of each key! Yes, you read that correctly, each single key fits through its own individually drilled hole on the faceplate. The template was by far the trickiest part to make especially since the final piece is curved. After the wood was drilled for each key, I stained the wood ebony and added a very slight red tone to it. I like the way this color turned out for it gave a good contrast with the brass details that I added later. To hold the faceplate down and retain the curve, I actually drilled 3 holes through the keyboard itself in which I used to attach the faceplate to securely.
Next, I then stared at a box I had filled with the 100+ plastic keys that I pulled off the keyboard, took a deep breath and started grinding away at them. I know there is probably a better and faster method for modifying these keys, but again, since I do not have a workshop and am lacking in many necessary tools, my dremel and bench grinder had to do. I used the dremel with a saw blade to cut the skirts off and then I used the bench grinder to grind the keys down to about the size of a typewriter key. I did this for every key.
The next step was to create the fonts and graphics for each key. This was tediously done in Illustrator and printed out on high quality glossy paper. Each graphics was then cut out with an exact-o-knife using the glass from one of the typewriter keys as the template. Two and a half full sets of vintage typewriter keys were then taken apart and put back together, but with a new graphics cutout installed in each. I then used black silicon to attach eye typewriter key the keyboard key stalks. After this, I needed to take a mental break from this project to ensure a future stable state of sanity.
Once my ability to even look at the keyboard returned to me, I knew it was time to work on the frame. I decided to carve the sides out of wood which will eventually be the support for the keyboard’s frame. I quickly hand drafted a shape that followed the curve of the keyboard itself and allowed for two support feet and a mount for these Reedbuck horn tips that I planned to utilize. The pieces were then cut from 3/4″ oak with a scroll saw. Mini Victorian molding/trim was then used to decorate the feet and horn mount edges and small brass claw feet were attached on the back to legs.
The wooden sides were then drilled to fit 4 rods. I used 2 metal rods and 2 wooden dowel rods. One of the metal rods was securely attached using a lot of jb-weld to the lower end of the keyboard. The length of the rods were longer then the keyboard itself, allowing it to protrude 1/2″ from each end. The 1/2″ ends fit into the freshly drilled holes of the side pieces. The 2nd metal rod was the same length and also connected the two side pieces together. It was located higher up which allowed the keyboard to just rest on it. Once resting on the top rod, it was secured only through gaffing tape to the underside of the keyboard. The two wooden dowel rods were just used to hold the 2 decorative brass tubes that frame the top and bottom of the keyboard. Before permanently fixing the pieces together, I then proceeded to stained the sides with the same shade as the face plate.
I wanted the LED’s to retain its functionality, but the original lights were green. So after a quick trip to radio shack, I removed the existing LED’s and soldered in red ones. I then cut a faceplate for the indicator lights from brass sheet metal and drilled holes in it. After much polishing, I attached jeweled red indicator lights and connected it to the keyboard. Each light gives a BRIGHT glowing red indication for the activation of the Caps Lock, Number Lock, and Scroll Lock. I couldn’t capture the brilliant red light in these images. I think it turned out really nice!
All that was left now was to add the final decorations. I cut the horns to the correct length using a dremel. Be warned that this creates a very awful smell akin to burning hair or fingernails! It was then mounted and a brass trim was added. Brass rivets normally used on leather, a custom wood and brass spacebar, and Victorian doll house trim and parts were used to add the final touches.
And finally its finished and now everyone knows where Ive been for the last month of my life!!
This portion Originally written in January 2009, but laziness/business prevented it from becoming a full blown post until now.
So for a week and a half I was able to watch this guy inside his egg. He appeared fully developed and I could not see a yolk. I started to become concerned that he was unable to escape from the egg, which is much tougher then bandensis eggs. He was already responding to its environment and even following shrimps around. One day I saw him hovering in the egg in a manner that resembles how a baby bandensis would look if it was starving to death. So I decided to break the egg and release the baby. So far, a week later he seems healthy and has been eating live mysids.
I put a short video together. Im still not positive on the ID for this guy, but the egg had a diameter of 1.25 – 1.5 inches and the cuttle itself was about 1/2″. The egg was surprisingly strong requiring a decent pinch and tear to open.
March 03, 2009
Pretty sure it is Latimanus. A very interesting species so far. The behavior reminds me of officinalis . Seems more personable then bandensis and found to be hovering around more often. It was shy at first, but quickly warmed up to me when he learned I was his source of food.
The most fascinating aspect of this species is the attack posture. When preparing to strike, Latimanus will flair out the two largest tentacles. You can see this in some of the pictures here and the video.
I haven’t had time to take the best pictures, but here is what Ive got so far!
I was at a local flea market not too long ago and saw a large taxidermied deer. On closer inspection, I saw a big crack on its nose as if it took a big tumble off of someones wall. Because of the crack and the fact that it was at a flea market, I was able to haggle with the merchant and purchased it for $40!
Tiffany and I decided to make it into a project for us. I made the wood frame and the harness while Tiffany painted the deer’s eyes, mouth, nose and horns! What do you think???!?!
So a couple weeks ago, I get a call about the arrival of a mystery white cuttlefish egg. There were three possibilities of what this egg may have been. A flamboyant, S. latimanus, or S. pharaonis
After a couple weeks of development, Im pretty sure it is S. latimanus! Did I mention the common name for this cuttlefish is the ‘Giant Cuttlefish’. This species gets to be 2 feet long! Ive never heard of anyone having ever kept this species.
The egg size is more then 2x the size of Bandensis eggs, the baby with plenty of yolk left is 3-4x times the size of bandensis hatchlings and its still not hatched yet! I will take care of this one until it outgrows my available space, which shouldnt be long. Rich will probably then take him to throw in a 150 gallon system and when it outgrows that, we will need to hope the academy of science will take him!
Here is a size comparison. The bandensis on the right is 1 weeks old which is already 2x the size of freshly hatched bandensis!
Here you can see the cuttle on its side with the remaining yolk still attached.
Here is an egg size comparison between the Latimanus and Bandensis