The “Iron Oak Leaf”?



Plain Jane

Well, how do I begin?  This is not sawdust.

No matter how much I try, I just can’t get away from the “greasemonkey” side of The Bronze Oak Leaf.  And even when the work is fun, I still get dirty.

This is “Blueduck”, my ’04 Sportster.  Bone stock, except for the 883-1200 conversion kit, complete with the gray motor and two-tone paint job that is standard on this particular model.  I know; kind of ugly.  That’s what I thought, too.

And this is what happens when you stop over to your brother’s shop for 30 or 40 beers on a Saturday night.

Brother: “Hey, I want to build this, this, this, and that.”

Me:  “Hey, when is it my turn?”

Brother:  “What do you want to do?”

Me:  “Pull the motor off the bike and paint it.”

Brother:  “See you at 8:30 tomorrow morning.”

11:30 the following morning:


Sick, right?

And just like that, my shop is now to be devoid of sawdust for the next several weeks.

So here’s most of the motor.  We stripped it down, degreased, primed and painted.  We used VHT Wrinkle Plus paint, and it turned out better than expected.  It went on glossy, and after a couple hours it wrinkled up beautifully.

We let the paint cure a good long time, and that allowed me time to polish.  I polished every piece of shiny stuff on that bike.  It took several evenings after work, and it was worth it.  As Paul Sr. says, “it just ain’t cool if the chrome don’t shine.”

My son and I also took the opportunity to degrease, wash and wax the frame.  Hey, you came this far, right?


Now, on to the blue in “Blueduck”.  Through a fortuitous phone call to one of my brother’s friends, we found out we could have the tins painted for what seemed like a pittance.  Up until now, I just figured body paint was out of my reach.  I’m not afraid to spend a little money for aesthetics, but I don’t usually break the bank on such things.  Sometimes “good enough” really is good enough.

So while the tins were out for paint, we had plenty of time to put ‘er together.

She was already shining pretty good before the tins came.  We even got it running before we put on the gas tank.


Yep, that’s our fuel tank

Well, we had to wait awhile for the tins to come back, but it was worth the wait.  The color was perfect, the paint job excellent, and, well…

…I’m happy.  Oh- one more thing; I’ve never liked the staggered drag pipes on a Sportster.  I didn’t like them on my ’79, and these weren’t any better.  So, a little overtime and…


…BAM!  They look great, but will require some tuning due to the larger diameter.




Complete with leather

Well, it was  a lot of fun.  Naturally, as soon as I got it put back together it snowed.

So, time to push it back into the shed and get busy being busy again (until it warms up).

Oh, by the way; here’s a quick pic of the latest stool I promised my brother-in-law before I got hip-deep into this project, next to the stack of lumber reserved for my niece’s hope chest.  I know, right?


Don’t worry John, it’s coming.  I just got a little distracted.


















About Sam

Young, good-looking, manly--you get the picture. Novice woodworker with just too much rolling around upstairs to keep to myself. Random thoughts, philosophical questions, the occasional flash of insight or just dumb luck that needs to be shared with anyone who cares.
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