WARNING: Imminent Departure

Not only am I leaving the country (sort of) on a top secret mission involving snorkeling, I have also left the realm of wood and woodworking for this post.
This is ostensibly the original custom motorcycle 'Black Death 3' from the epically bad Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man starring Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson, albeit in an aged and distressed condition.  While the 1991 flop is considered by some to be a cult classic, it only caught my attention in Middle School for one reason: The Marlboro Man (Don Johnson) defeats the bad-guy by virtue of the fact that his cowboy boots are held together with duct tape.  So yeah, I only remember the ending.  The heavily modified 1989 Harley Davidson FXR however, is indisputably a cult classic in its own right.
Many bike enthusiasts want to feel like they own this bike so there have been a lot of working replicas created over the years, fan-made like the one pictured above, for sale by independents at bike shows, and commercially licensed with the lettering reading "BLACK DEATH MOTORCYCLES."  The latter were sanctioned by Mickey Rourke himself, who is a long time cycle enthusiast and serious rider with rumored ties to the Hell's Angels.
My friend Jay in Tennessee is building one now for a bike show in Florida, and he approached me about doing the artwork on the gas tank.  I've never painted on a curved surface like this before so it was bound to be a challenge.  After a lot of figuring and discussing our ways and means, we agreed that he would supply the tank with rough blocking and I would work from there.
Here the tank is detached from the mommy bike and begins its young affection for washing machines.  This is how I received the tank.  There were problems at the sign shop where he had his stencil made and the font is really not adequate.  But I don't back down from a challenge, even when it needs to go from that to this:
This is a screencap from the movie, so I'm just waiting for the MGM goons to come and break my kneecaps tomorrow.
I started with the yellow outlines to begin correcting the proportions of the lettering, and then painted in the white linework over light pencil in the center of each letter.  Comparing this to the original it is very clear that there should be a lot more space inside the letters.  Also, the basic shape of some of the letters is just too far off to pass, so I use the yellow to morph them as much as I can.
The layout and spacing were actually well-done, but Norm assumed I would be working inward, when in fact I plan on moving outward. This presents a major problem; above you can see how tight my spacing is already and I still have a black outline to apply as well.  Again, I use the yellow to smush things around as needed.
It's starting to get chunkier and take on the form of the original, and I'm ready for the black to bring it on home.  It goes on smooth but I need to do a lot of touching up and then make the outline super-thick for that final punch.  I'll be using marker for a lot of that and it doesn't flow well over tacky enamel.  As expected, the 72 hour window is a bit of a crunch . . . while I wait for everything to dry it's time to move on to the centerpiece. I start by penciling it in:
The initials painted on BD3 are rumored to be deceased individuals connected to Mickey and/or Hell's Angels.  Conventional wisdom says to alter them and also not to use those of anyone still living.  This is why family got some phone calls asking for the given names of some Great-grandparents who died while I was young or in-utero.  With penciling complete, I can go from primarily using One Shot enamel professional sign paint to a high-grade paint marker for detailing and touch-ups.

TIP1: you can shave down the tip of a marker for a finer point but it will wear down pretty quickly and as you whittle away you may end up with no tip at all.  TIP2: Tips on refillable paint markers are removable, making it much easier to shape them as desired.  TIP3: If you can't find the handle to your big fat #2 Xacto blades, and you are forced to push a blade down with your index finger, be sure that the blade edge points down, not up, or you may slice into the tip of your finger:
That was grand.  At least I didn't get blood on the tank.  We don't need doctors Richard Gurley Drew invented adhesive tape in 1923 (no offense, Mom).
So it's really close to finished as pictured here.  I think after this I did another round of touch-ups and made the black outlines even thicker.  Norm should be sending nice high-res images soon, and at some point a few pics of the final product, of which I am but a crumb.
The jokers were fun.  Here they are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.3x life-sized.

Rest In Peace
9John and Jean Runyon
8Frank Deegan
8Bessie-Mae Runyon
8Jack Hess
8Dorothy Hess
AJoe Strummer
AYou (we all go some time)
AJohn R. Cash
SchellendeutschschweizerBlatt.svgNicholas Eilenfield


Outhouse Rocker!?

Fig. 1: Thirty-five dollars worth of good will inside a polyhedron

I ventured into a Goodwill in Asheville a few weeks ago, in search of pots and pans and work jeans.  Yeah, it's like that - no shame.  A very nice fellow customer pointed me around to the back, where he said I could find pots and pans even cheaper.  Sounds shady, right?  Well it is not.  Turns out this particular Goodwill has a spectacular bulk wing where you purchase items by the pound!

Here's my haul:
*the shallowest frying pan I've ever seen
*2 qt sauce pan
*venting pot lid (without matching pot)
*nifty wooden cutting board by Crestwood - not moldy, score!
*spatula with lathed wooden handle
*five foot length of metal tube with threaded endcap both ends
*two foot by eight foot light beige carpet remnant for feet wipe and shoe storage
*purple folding clip-on motorcycle passenger seat (perfect for table sans legs)
*two VHS tapes for the kids: "The Steam Locomotive" ca. 1940 & the beyond silly "Wee Sing in Sillyville"  (passed on Braveheart as I don't own VCR or TV)
*computer speakers
*stereo & unmatched speakers, i.e. top of the line GPX stereo w/ speakers by peerless brand Venturer
*rocking chair customized for use in the OUTHOUSE!!!***
*neato zipper sunglass case perfect for protecting work glasses
*three pairs work jeans that fit
*pimpalicious brown leather jacket that fits
*plastic Darth Vader helmet
Fig. 2: Darth Shaft wuz here

*** Okay, the rocking chair is probably not custom designed for use in the outhouse, but that tiny seed of possibility is positively thrilling!  What we have is, I believe, a vintage factory-milled hand-assembled rocking chair, likely 60s, maybe early 70s or unlikely late 50s, quite sturdy and well-made.  Factory markings or pasted slips are absent.  The fresh wood you see from the top view is crudely screwed on from the bottom, clearly not original and fueling my desire that this is actually a rocking plopper.  However, it did come with a medallion of pressed paperboard, visible under the Vader Helm in Fig. 2, suggesting a missing insert panel.

I will remove the tacked on plywood scab and get to the bottom of this . . .
                  ] rimshot [
. . . seriously, I will conduct some carpentry forensics to see how an insert panel may have been attached originally.  If anyone has run across a perfect specimen please comment your findings below.
] j [

ps - no offense to any actual pimps out there, or to anyone who has been pimped or otherwise adversely affected by a pimp.  Please allow that 'pimp' is a new bastardized verb and adjective creeping into our silly language.  Expect it in Webster's by 2020, courtesy of MTV.