A childhood photo of the world’s only female Ducati Master Tech, Hannah Johnson, hanging out with biggol’ bikers.
Rust Bucket Project: The Bondo Bike
At the Deviants CC compound in Vancouver, WA… I spent a few hours going at the BSA frame with an angle grinder yesterday. My mission was to remove the bondo from the frame so I could see what is really going on with the structure of the hard tail, where I need to cut and start over again.
The welds look pretty old judging by the wear and tear, and Wolf told me they were probably stick welds not something more fine tuned. Whoever built this bike must have fancied themselves a sculpter because they chose to use the bondo crap to shape it instead of metal. Seems silly to me.
So here is the starting point… I spent some time first removing all the extra bits like the sprocket, oil tank, and rear fender.
I was seriously amazed to find that the bolts were less seized (though completely rusted) than many I had found while working on the old XJ Maxim.
It’s ready for the beatdown…
I’m pretty sure I covered what was left of bare metal in their shop with paint and bondo dust, along with some metal shavings and rust particles.
At this point it was clear just how much stuff had been shoved onto the bike in order to cover shoddy welds and angles.
I didn’t think I’d finally be able to practice my fascination with archaeology while working on motorcycles! After I cleared a lot of it out to bare metal I used a flat head screwdriver, chisel, and hammer to break loose some tough bits in hard to reach, awkward spots.
Then I went back to grinding…
It appears that I may have uncovered the original tank mount? I cleaned it up the best I could, some bondo still survived, clutching to the crevasses.
Now on to tackle the hard tail… which is clearly as horrendous (if not moreso) than the top.
Time for the chisel.
Here is a great, and GROSS example of why you don’t do this whole… building a motorcycle with bondo thing. That’s rotten, gross, old, nasty bondo that’s gotten water in it over and over again for who knows how long.
The other side matched, in fact it was actually way more gross.
After chiseling out the other crevasses, I emptied out the steel tubes of their gross crystallized bondo chunks. It was pretty messy.
Here’s an after shot… I still don’t really understand what they were thinking with a lot of this “design”. It looks like they had one arm Willie hack it up with a saw and weld it too.
Aaaaand about three hours later, that’s my stopping point for the day.
More on the BSA / Rust Bucket project later.