Troy Fabrication / FXR Rebuild

Spent the past few days working on my FXR. Not a major redo, but lots of mild mods and little detail stuff. Steve at Troy Fab has been a huge help. Been down to his shop twice in the past 4 days and we’ve churned through a bunch of stuff with his expertise. In the process I’ve taken a bunch of video which I’ll be throwing together, in the mean time, here is a mini teaser. More on the FXR in a few, for now check out Steve’s website and support one of the most honest and customer friendly businesses in this big ole moto world we live in. Check him out at:

February 21st, 2012 by grail21 in Projects, Video, Metalwork | Comment (1)

Metalworking Tips

LatheHints_01.jpg MachinistTips_PM62_01.jpg

October 4th, 2010 by grail21 in How To, Metalwork | No Comments

The wizard at work…

Custom Motorcycle Handlebars
Jay Roche a.k.a Special 79

May 9th, 2009 by grail21 in Metalwork, Moto Art & Pics | Comment (1)

Tigman At Work

Tanks By Tigman Welding

April 10th, 2009 by grail21 in Welding, Metalwork, Moto Art & Pics | No Comments

Metal Coloring and Bronzing Free Ebook


I’ll admit to not really reading through this latest ebook, but the subject falls perfectly inline with the D.I.Y. Knucklebuster attitude, so I figured I’d post it. I’m not sure how often you’re going to need to know how to color metal and bronzing, but when you do, you’ll have this book to help you through. Granted, this book is from the late 1800s and new techniques have been developed BUT as always, there is plenty of good knowledge to pick up within these pages. Plus, who says the new techniques are better than the old ones? They might be easier, but is the final product actually better? I’m not sure, but there are plenty of examples of craftsmanship that have lasted the test of time. Anyway, enough rambling…

To download the PDF file, click the following link: Metal Coloring and Bronzing

To learn more about our free ebook series, go here
And to see other free eBooks that have been posted, go here

August 1st, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Metalwork, Books | Comment (1)

Fabricating a motorcycle fender

From Fay Butlers Shop, using the yoder power hammer.

June 3rd, 2008 by grail21 in YouTube & Internet Videos, Metalwork | Comments (2)

Fay Butler Drops some metal working knowledge

I’ll be posting a whole bunch of these short videos of Fay Butler; metalworker extraordinaire and Massachusetts resident, dropping knowledge and showing you how it’s done. This one is all about laying out a pattern and cutting a blank on some sheet metal. More to come soon.

May 30th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, YouTube & Internet Videos, Metalwork | No Comments

Modifying an old motorcycle gas tank


Our pal cole sent in these pics and a real simple run down of what’s going on with this project he’s kicking around his shop. I dig seeing this stuff in progress, figure you will too. Here’s some notes and pics from Cole…

• Found some junk in my carb (I’ll just put a tank liner in….)
• Might as well shave the left fuel cap….
• I looked in the hole and see that it has a tank liner and it’s peeling badly
• I cut out bottom of tank to scrape out old liner
• While I’m at it, might as well section 2 1/2 inches out the middle of the tank….

Stay tuned for a possible rib down the center of the tank, a hand made tunnel, and a custom made petcock bung at rear of tank!


May 28th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Home Built Motorcycles, Metalwork | Comments (4)

Taking the rise out of risers

Risertech 10
Article by Noodelz

The frame I’m building with right now has a 6″ downtube and 4″ backbone stretch so needless to say it’s kind of a “stretch” to get the bars with short straight risers. So I piscked up a set of 4″ with 1″ pullback to get my bars back towards me. They were too high but had the right pullback so I shortened them to where I wanted them.

Read more…

April 15th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Metalwork | Comment (1)

How to make your own stainless steel fender


It’s fair to say that there are many methods of working metal by hand that are slowly becoming lost arts. While CNC, CAD, waterjet and automated welding machines (among others) all have their place in production environments, and may even be necessary for certain one-off parts, the fact is, these parts lose the soul that gets pounded into them when they’re built by hand. If you’ve read this site for any amount of time, you know which side of the fence I fall on. I dig advances in technology just as much as anyone, but my heart belongs to methods of building that don’t require a computer. That’s why I get a grin on my face when I see someone like J.B take the long, hard road getting himself a fender. Instead buying one off the shelf he taught himself how to build it… all by hand, using nothing but hand tools. Did I mention he’s only 18? I’m not sure what you were doing at the age of 18, but I’m going to bet you weren’t building bitchin’ stainless steel fenders by hand. But it gets better - no only did J.B build a killer fender, he documented the whole process with pics so he could share the process with all us jamokes who feed off seeing this stuff. So click on the read more link below to watch J.B take a flat piece of stainless steel and turn it into a rockin’ fender.

Read more…

February 19th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Metalwork | Comment (1)

Metal Meet 2006

Check out these video highlights from Metal Meet 2006. Real cool stuff, pay attention and you might even learn something. Hopefully I’ll make it to one of these events one day.

February 16th, 2008 by grail21 in YouTube & Internet Videos, Metalwork | No Comments

The Amateur Mechanic’s Workshop eBook

Burt Munro 1

Here’s another tasty old book for you to download. Chiming in from from the year 1874 is “The Amateur Mechanic’s Workshop”, which is dubbed “A treatise containing plain and concise directions for the manipulation of wood and metals, including casting, forging, brazing, soldering and carpentry”. Well alright cat, get your learn on.
Click to download: The Amateur Mechanic’s Workshop
(Photo: Anthony Hopkins as Burt Monroe, the quintessential “amateur” mechanic)

February 13th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Metalwork, Books | Comments (4)

Shaping metal with hardwood slapper

Quick video of some metal shaping using a buck and a hardwood metal slapper.

February 12th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, YouTube & Internet Videos, Metalwork | No Comments

Ron Covell At Mooneyes Show Japan

One of the masters of metalshaping showing how it’s done on the english wheel.
Ron Covell at the Mooneyes doing what he does best. Video courtesty of

February 7th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, YouTube & Internet Videos, Metalwork | Comment (1)

Old books for today’s backyard motorcycle builder: Oxy-Acy Welding


I am an information junkie. When it comes to anything I’m interested in, I want to know everything about it. I’m constantly on the search for new information, new ways to learn things, the history behind how this became that and why it works that way. So I’m always on the search for cheap or free ways to get my hands on that info, which is one of the reasons I spend so much time scouring and searching the web. For an information junkie, it is the promised land.

Recently, I’ve come across a huge stash of old books in PDF format, that I believe provide a huge amount of insight and knowledge to the backyard, do it yourself bike builder. These books cover things like Oxy Acetylene welding, metal casting, the use of specific handtools and much more. The books are old - from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, which you might think makes them outdated - I think it makes them even cooler. While time, and technology may have evolved new techniques, possibly even better techniques - it does not make the methods that were done in the past any less effective. Having recently returned from Europe and being surrounded by homes and buildings that have been standing for 400+ years reinforced that belief in me. Just because methods and practices may have evolved, doesn’t mean the old way of doing things was wrong - it also doesn’t always mean the new way of doing things is better. But that discussion is for another day (or the comments section of this post…)

Part of the fun of learning something is being able to share it with someone who has the same passion for it as you do. So over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting these books to the site so that you can download them yourself. Hopefully you’ll learn something from them, maybe it will even help you solve a problem or figure out a better way to do something with your current build - if nothing less, I think you’d find it an interesting read from a historic prospective.

So the first book up is an old ditty from 1918 - Oxy-Acetylene Welding Practice by Robert Kehl. As the title pages says its “A practical presentation of the modern processes of welding, cutting and lead burning, with special attention to welding technique for steel, cast iron, aluminum, copper, and brass.” Bitchin.

And it’s all yours for free - just click the thumbnail below to download the PDF.
Be on the look out for more books to be posted in the coming weeks.

Oxy Acetylene Welding Practice

February 6th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Tools, Metalwork, Books | Comments (9)

Metal Shaping / Tuck Shrinking Sheet Metal

Great video by Kris Pinkerton where he demonstrates and gives a great run down through the process of tuck shrinking sheet metal. Check it out.

January 25th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, YouTube & Internet Videos, Metalwork | Comment (1)

Lathe Operation Manual


I love the internet because with a little effort you stumble across things like this: the U.S Army’s Lathe Operation Manual for machinist. I’m a knowledge junkie, especially with anything that is or could be related to bike building, so coming across this kind of stuff (for free!) gets me psyched. Hopefully by sharing it here I make it a little easier for some folks to dig their teeth into. So for all you D.I.Y junkies here is something meaty to chew on. Enjoy.

Click to download: U.S Army Lathe Operation Manual

January 23rd, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Metalwork, Books | Comments (2)

How To Mig Weld


Of all the different types of welding, MIG welding is probably the easiest to learn. Yank and crank, super easy. However, if you’re a newb without any prior welding experience, you’re probably feeling a little clueless with the shiny new Lincoln 110 Santa brought you. Have no fear - we’ve got you covered. I posted some basic MIG welding videos before, back in October, but now I’ve stumbled upon another site which is just as handy. Go check out for a ton of great info, tutorials, videos and knowledge. Great info for all welder, especially for those of you who just “picked it up” along the way.

January 21st, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Welding, Metalwork | No Comments

Metal Casting


The idea of metal casting has intrigued me for a long time. When I stumbled on it made the idea seem much less difficult and actually quite do-able. Tons of do-it-yourself projects from making you own furnace on the cheap to mixing molding sand to the actual casting process. There is so much info on the site it would take days to get through it all, plus a bunch of mini-books available for purchase (priced reasonably). While I probably won’t be getting around to trying this myself anytime soon, I’m definitely putting this on my “to-do someday” list.

January 3rd, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Motorcycle Websites, Metalwork | No Comments