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Nov 30, 2012

Paint and Putty

After adjusting the frame, lowering the engine,  pulling the steering angle tighter, removing unnecessary tabs and welding on the few tabs we needed – the frame was painted. Once that was done, the next step would be to try and make the horribly dented gas tank serviceable.


I fell in love with the shape of the gas tank the builder offered me, and even though it wasn’t too rusty inside and didn’t have any leaks, it was so badly dented I was sure it was hopeless. My skills at removing dents had never been tested and after some attempts I began a desperate search to find another like it, in better shape. The gas tank came from a small Suzuki dirt bike of the 70s, and I could not find one like it. i tried to fall in love with a tank from a Bultaco and some others, to no avail. I loved this one. My efforts to straighten the dents from this tank turned out to be somewhat success – not perfect or professional, but good enough for me to go racing. 


After finding the perfect home-based solution for using rattle-can spray paint and still having decent results, I set out to paint the tank and seat, in a design I wanted. The thing that finally made this work for me was discovering a clear coat paint that is the same as professional paint, in that it is a two-part which has the hardener component in the can that becomes released via a plunger. Shake the two parts together and it will cover any cheap spray paint with a hard, fuel resistant clear finish. My attempts at pulling the dents didn’t go so well. I elected instead to try and just fill them will Bondo putty. It turned out pretty well – certainly good enough for a race bike – or so I often reminded myself. Before I could put the super-hard clear coat on, I had to apply my design. i chose a white tank with the Yamaha ‘strobe’ in red, accented with black stripes – Like Yamaha used 50 years ago First I painted the tank white, then masked off the lines for the black boarder and painted that. Once it had dried I masked off for the red inside the back and when it dried I pealed the tape back to reveal a mini-disaster! I had goofed up the masking job and painted red over the black lines… Darn! Once that all dried, I sanded the tank down and started over. White again, but this time I used electrical tape for the black lines and some stick-on vinyl for the red. The only red I found was sparkly metal flake which turned out to be a pretty nice choice – all in all (meaning that I didn’t spend much money : -) The paint job turned out quite nice.

The remaining steps are:
1. Get the seat pad reupholstered.
2. Finish assembling the bike.
3. Start the bike.
4. Race.

One, two, three, right?

Next Chapter > Final Assembly.


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