Sunday, April 20, 2008

jetting the carbs

Apparently whenever you open the flow on your exhaust by attaching loud pipes you may also need to adjust the fuel to air mixture in your carburetor. So with the help of my friend, James Calvery, we dug into the frame to pull out the carbs and fit them with different sized fuel jets and needles. The Sabre has two carbs that fit SNUGLY in the frame on top of the engine and under the gas tank. We figured it'd take a couple of hours to do it but it took about 4 and a half. There was fudge to consume and stories to tell of course.
The key to this project was to bum James' garage, tools and expertise. He wasn't intimidated by the 15 hoses attached to the carbs. I was. My favorite part of the night was watching him ride the bike through his sleeping neighborhood at midnight at full throttle shooting blue flames out the pipes! Think "Grease 2".

the concho cowboy

The Sabre came with several accessories like a windshield, an after-market seat, and saddle bags. The problem was the bike was overwhelmed with rivets, conchos and leather tassels! Some guys like that stuff but I think those are also the guys who wear do-rags and t-shirts with wolves on them. So to remedy the situation I spray-painted the saddle bags (they're plastic but look made of leather) with flat black rustoleum then sealed them with a satin clear coat. They look pretty good and match the seat nicely.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

down with skate ramps up with tree houses

Three years ago we built some skate ramps for skaters in Brenham. Then the City of Brenham established a tennis court skate park for the same skaters. So we found ourselves with some ramps no one wanted and in need of the space the ramps occupied in the shed next to the Student Center. Recently I was cutting a tree down that was growing up right next to one of the live oaks in our yard and noticed it created a pretty good tree house area in the live oak. So Kyler Crenshaw and his truck met me at the shed and we took ramps apart and dumped the 2x4s and plywood in my backyard. The original plan was to have one platform that Dylin, Levi and friends could reach by a ladder from the ground but once I measured the distance and it came out to be 8 feet high and it seemed that might require too much climbing so I planned for the second level.

Some more facts:
-A dark stainer/sealer was used so the tree house would blend into the tree naturally.
-Only one 3" screw was drilled directly into the tree to keep from damaging the tree.
-All lumber used on the tree house is recycled skateboard ramps.
-Most of the 3" woodscrews used to build were also reused from the initial ramps.
-The ladders and slide were donated from some friends who were trashing their daughter's playset preping for a move.
-The "theme" of the treehouse is rustic and simple so it'll lend itself well to being a fairy house, castle, fort, or even a turkish prison!

born to be mild

Last year we sold my $20,000 pick up and I bought a bicycle to get to and from work and ride around town. It wasn't long before I realized the limitations a bicycle has as a primary means of transportation. The main problem was the amount of hills in our fair Brenham. So seeing as hundreds of guys from Houston spend an hour and a half riding up here just to ride around some of our nearby scenic highways on a Saturday, how great would it be to ride out here everyday? Needless to say I'm stoked to have a motorcycle again but I didn't want a "project bike". I really needed something dependable but I also needed to pay cash for it so insurance would be cheap. So several months of looking steered me toward the Honda Sabre VT1000. It's considered a middle-weight cruiser, known for it's dependability and easy maintenance. I found a 2002 model on craigslist in late February in Austin.

The real "project" aspect of the bike will be to see if it will continue to work as a daily driver (or rider) and continue to be cost effective. Other than the original cost of the bike I spend $90 a YEAR on insurance and get about 35 miles to the gallon (thanks to the loud pipes and a carb rejet). Oh yeah, it's really loud! I'll be updating the blog as I go but for now I am almost two months into owning "Shiny" (Dylin named her) and I have had nothing but a great time on her so far.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

coop de ville

my friend justin let us borrow his chic "omelet" coop (which is made in switzerland i think) for some chickens we were gonna be getting in on the condition that i help him build a small condo for the chickens he would soon be getting in. so we burned a saturday together building this beautiful thing. it will house 20 or so chickens and the simple design is a corrugated metal shell over a 2x4 frame on top of a treated 4x4 base. an ample percentage of the $170 material cost went into two beefy casters that will make it possible to rotate the coop around their backyard that'll keep killing grass to a minimum. so justin got a lot of bang for his buck, the chickens got a nice pad and i got a couple of free meals at the chappell hill diner and a sweet farmer tan.