It does what it says on the tin?

I don’t get cross.   Don’t believe any of those rumours about me being a grumpy old man.   I am generally a placid fellow.  However, sometimes something shakes my tree. Let me give you an example.

I decided that assistance would be needed in removing the paint from the tank of Little Project so made my way to the paint department of our local Halfords.   For those outside the UK, Halfords is a chain store that specialise in vehicle and bicycle spares and maintenance.   It’s an obvious place to go.

Perusing the shelves I came across this.

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Wow!   New double strength formula AND all purpose.   And in the section of the shop that sells every different type of car paint that you can imagine.   If you’ve a 1975 banana yellow Ford Cortina they have the exact touch-up paint for you. I dipped into the slim pickings remaining in my wallet and purchased a tin.   Eager with anticipation I raced home to put on my (no longer pristine) boiler suit and watch the battle between Nitromors and petrol tank begin.

It is with some sadness that I must report that “New Double Strength Formula All Purpose Nitromors” that is purchased from the paint department of an automotive repair shop has a small line of print on the back that says “not suitable for car paint”.  What the heck is that about! Why isn’t it called “Nearly All Purpose Nitromors”?  Why is it sandwiched between “Isopon car body repair paste” and “Anti-rust primer – Grey”?  Oooh.   I could crush a grape.

I also purchased some “Hammerite rust remover gel” (tag line – Brings back to bare metal). It doesn’t.   It just makes your rust look green and shiny for about three hours.

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Never daunted I used a combination of a hot air gun that I didn’t know I had and a detail sander and this eventually removed most of the paint.   The rust proved a little more challenging but after an extended sanding period I was left with just some dimpled and dark metal.

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Which I filled.  I’ve never done any filling before, the stuff that I used probably shouldn’t be unleashed in the shed with all of the doors closed, I was high as a kite by the time I’d finished.   It made the last little bit of sanding quite an entertaining event.   After a restorative cup of tea I braved putting some primer on the tank.

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And I have to say that I am gob smackingly pleased with the results.  You can’t actually tell that good old “Bodgit and Scarper” has been messing around with it.  I should also say at this point that my respect for professional painters has gone up vastly.   To have the patience to do this sort of work day in and out must involve a dedication that is beyond my ken.

I am pleased to report (although it is terribly boring for this blog) that the other painting that I have done has also come out well.   As a youngster I could never get the hang of spraying things.   I suspect it is an age thing.  I debated quoting the bible here, Proverbs 19:11 (NIV), but there are so many different translations that all say something slightly different.   What I was aiming for is that as one gets older, the rashness of youth matures into a patience that can’t be imagined from the small numbers.  It’s either that or I don’t have the energy to go charging into things anymore!

That’s it for today.  If you’ve arrived at the story of Little Project by mistake because of some of the references I have made, bless you for getting to the end of this post.   There’s only another 40 or so for you to read.

Have a good week.

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Wet and dry

I’ve taken a brief Easter pause in the pursuit of Little Project building to escape from the never ending winter of the UK and head to the far warmer climate of Madrid.   I can thoroughly recommend Madrid as a city for a weekend break.   It is small enough to explore on foot, the food and drink are affordable and the locals are all beautiful and friendly.   It also helps no end when you leave a snowy Heathrow and 3 hours later you are in shirt sleeves enjoying Paella and a bottle of wine in Plaza Mayor.   This square is roughly 450 years old and has been used for bull fights, football matches, public executions and was a scene of some joyous slaughter and torture during the Spanish Inquisition.  There were no Honda CT125’s in sight and there is no record of one ever being there, but then the details of small agricultural motor cycles passing through the square are a bit sketchy.

For some reason it was not deemed appropriate to spend our brief holiday travelling the shadier backstreets of Madrid looking for second hand motorcycle shops that may or may not contain bits suitable for Little Project. But I maintained an internet interest by bidding on and winning a brand new rear wheel rim.   I have been baffled for a while by the term “NOS”, turns out it means “New Old Stock”. So I have a NOS wheel rim that is excitedly waiting for a trip to Coleshill to be joined with a freshly blasted hub by a set of brand new spokes.

Things are starting to look up.  There is nothing more to remove from the frame.  Absolutely nothing. In fact, it has moved from the (slightly oil stained) floor of the shed to a temporary new home on the workbench. Look!

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Obviously it is having to share the workbench with a miriad other bits of stuff but we are into cleaning mode now and that is only one step away from re-assembly.

I took the brave decision to invest in some paint.  Mostly because I’ve become a tad disillusioned with breaking things and wanted to be creative.   The swingarm is slowly edging it’s way back towards its orignal colour.   Remarkably the chain guide came off in one piece with no sheared bolts and just the tiniest hints of rust holes all along it (nothing that can’t be fixed with some creative metal bending) and has magicked itself from rust colour to shiny and probably quite inappropriate black.  Where it wasn’t rusty there were hints of black paint so that’s what I’m going to go with.  I think I’ve found a match for the rest of the frame.   Time will tell as to how whether I can apply paint as easily as I can purchase it.

You’ll remember the forks.   Little Projects forks are proving to be more of a challenge than I expected.  “Take off the restraining bolt at the top of the stanchion and the spring will come out”.  Erm, nope.   Well.  Yes on one side and no on the other.  From this I deduce that one of them is in a much worse state than the other (although I’m not sure which is which).   I have applied considerable pressure to the non-removing spring and it just isn’t coming out. It is currently full of WD40 in the hope that some force of nature will ping it out over the coming weeks.

Regular readers may be thinking “What about the set of forks you bought of Ebay, Just in case?”.   Ha.   They were slightly mislabelled.   I didn’t realise this until I had cleaned them such that they have more sparkly bits than a Liberace convention.  They are just a bit too large for my yokes.   On the positive side, I have possibly the cleanest set of forks in the country for a 1983/4 Honda XL200R (part number Showa KB9003 if you are interested) and new ones are selling for around €650 per leg so I suspect they will be back on ebay before too long.

I haven’t heard from Seat for a long long time.  I visted the remarkable Australia Post tracking website with my handy tracking number only to be told “Sorry Bruce, you can’t track this parcel. Have a stubby instead”.  The site suggests that surface delivery is definitely two or three months.  Ross posted the parcel on 18th Feb which was a Monday in Australia so I don’t suppose I should start worrying until 18th May – That’s a Saturday so I might have a weekend of toment.

One last big thank you to Les Kibble at LJ Motorcycle Repairs Ltd who not only removed my wheel bearings painlessly when I could not but also did it for free.  Whenever you are in the Twickenham area and you need a top motorcycle mechanic and all round nice chap, Lez is your man.