GOT IT!!!!!!!!

ImageHere is when I presented Chuck with the “Tip” that I made just for him – you can see it featured more on an earlier post.  He seemed rather pleased.  I remain so honored that Mr. Zettner did the most incredible machine dream of my life.

ImageIt seems so appropriate to show the table and my finished bike in the same frame.  I am so proud of both my work on this remarkable table and Chuck’s work on the most astounding bike on earth.

ImageHere is the left side of the bike.  Isn’t the detail fantastic!  It rides so smoothly and so solid too.  The power in this combination really sets me back in the seat of “The Old Buzzard”.

ImageHere is the right side of the engine.  I love the flow of the pipes – and the sound too – not so loud it hurts my ears but loud enough to “announce” that a bike is there.  

ImageHere I am returning from my very first short ride – and I took off again for a few more miles.  It was so hard to stop – I wanted to ride it the two hours back home, but we had so many plans.  This bike and I  really “fit” together.  This has been an almost lifelong dream of mine – and Chuck Zettner saw the vision in my mind and his artistic and engineering abilities focused and the result is Exactly what I wanted.  I’ll be eternally grateful to this dear incredible gentleman, and to the absolute love of my life for all of her support and encouragement – Cat Brysch.  She on her trike and me on “The Old Buzzard” will share countless hours and miles together after I recover from my surgery.

The day also included several lengths of copper pipe to use for more bench stretchers, several 4′ x 8′ sheets of rigid foam insulation (1″ & 1-1/2″ thick) to use mainly in packing delicate shipments to customers, and several Very nice boards at Albuquerque Exotic Hardwoods where Jake Jacobsen does his remarkable magic on gathering such worldly woods.  Some of the woods included remarkable Cocobolo, very nice 4/4 & 8/4 Walnut, 8/4 Ambrosia Maple, and so on.  Jake is special ordering some additional full 4/4 PNG Walnut for me – it’ll be parts of another large run of Mini Squirrel Cage Winders.  I’ll be doing a very custom adjustable 4 yard horizontal squirrel cage winder soon for a customer in San Francisco – very soon if I don’t get called in early for my shoulder surgery.

I am so thankful for these two very special and remarkable gentlemen – Chuck Zettner and Jake Jacobsen.


Benches and Bikes

ImageHere is a bench that I’ll deliver tomorrow to a customer in Albuquerque.  She wanted one that was 11″ x 20″ x 20″ and left the rest to me.  This is not her first bench of mine.  So, I selected a board for the top of Spalted Pecan.  The wood is tough and very attractive with the spalting on one edge.  The legs that seemed to work is from a plank of Black Walnut.  I selected a board of nice brown Bird’s Eye Maple that I picked out from a lumber supplier when we visited the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a few years ago.  Then, what to do for the stretchers?  I had one of those “apostrophes” and decided to use a leftover length of copper pipe from a bottle tree project a dear artist friend in Canyon Lake, Texas who commissioned me for her indoor piece.  Just a side – she puts wine bottles on the “tree” and inserts clear Christmas lights inside.  The effect on that totally copper piece is astounding!  I have not EVER seen nor heard of such a feature on wood furniture.  Anyway, the combination on the bench I completed yesterday is fantastic!  I make a large number of benches each year, and a few very special ones like this commissioned one for Bethe.  I know that she’ll be very happy.

Bikes.  My Hero has came through and is about to complete my world class Chopper!  Chuck Zettner of Dawg House Customs in Albuquerque reports that it’ll be ready for me to pick up my bike this Wednesday!  What a fantastic achievement for Chuck – overcoming obstacles such as a bad speedo/tach unit.  He had to also repull new wiring thru the backbone of the bike and untold other tedious tasks.  Chuck is the most motivated bike builder on the face of the Earth, and I’m so fortunate to have him to do my lifelong dream bike.  This is the ultimate warm fuzzy that a person could have – the bike of my dreams fabricated by the most fantastic bike guy ever.  I can’t imagine any bike being more special than this one.  I’ll post photos of it when I get it home and take my first ride.  It’s such a step of satisfaction to enjoy before my upcoming shoulder surgery.  Now, the “Foster Harley” can really be matched with an acceptable adoption candidate.  Well, will a rider adopt the Harley, or will the Harley adopt a rider?  Our “Dog & Hog House” is ready to receive my bike – the baseboard heaters work so well.  I’ve been decorating the interior with metal signs of Harleys, biken in general, oil company advertising, and automotive stuff too.  Please follow my posts about adventures on “The Old Buzzard” which has been so artistically and meticulously fabricated by Chuck Zettner.  He is a true artist with the ultimate in character and honesty.  I’m so proud I have a “Chuck Zettner”!  This entire process has taken so long – and only a few months with Chuck at the helm – the original shop had it almost a year and did nothing.  Chuck’s patience with this impatient old coot is admirable and I appreciate him more than he could possibly know.  I’ll post a photo of the “Tip” I’ll present him when I pick up my bike.


Shoulder & Work

I have a date in February that my shoulder surgery is scheduled – though the Doc says it’s sure to be sooner at the first cancellation.  I’m ready.  Recovery will be quite awhile – I’ll follow instructions but I don’t expect it to take 8 weeks.  In this process I’ll be out of commission pretty well completely – I’ll not jeopardize my recovery just to do a “little bit”.  Perhaps the worst part is that I’ll not be able to ride my new chopper – that is, if it ever gets completed.  It seems that one thing after another has  either happened or not happened to impede a conclusion.  I’m not right now especially encouraged.  I’ll be updating some of my shop equipment about the time I’m back to work.  I’ve had such a horrible time with two Rikon 6×48 sanders and really poor tracking of the belt.  I’m going to Powermatic and Jet this time and junk Rikon and Delta, the only one that’s worse.  I do have several thousand tools preformed that are ready for sanding!  The past few months have seen more activity in my shop than any previous period.  Here’s to good things to come!

Pride and Bikes

ImageI take great pride in all of the work that I do.  Always have.  One particularly successful item in the things I now make are what I call “Nottles” – or “needle bottles.  The first was for my wife, Cat – she had asked me to make something to keep her fine sewing needles in, the ones that I can’t use.  So, the first Nottle (treenware, etui) was for that purpose.  Others saw her treasure and wanted one.  One of my most successful pieces was born.  They grew much longer – up to 18″ deep – and shorter – about 2” high, and people use them for such a variety of purposes.  Surprising to me was when people purchased them and then talked about their favorite old pet and that they intended to place the pets ashes in the Nottle!  Such a compliment!  This has continued all of the time I’ve been making them, all in such great variety of size and profile. The cork stoppered lid is neat to keep things secure.  Later, there were three circumstances that ladies purchased one for each of her children to divide the ashes of their husbands for their children!  I thought that this must be the supreme compliment of my work.  At a show in Albuquerque three years ago a young lady and her Mom visited my booth, lingering quite awhile at the displays of my Nottles.  As she was leaving the booth not having purchased anything I asked if she saw anything she liked.  She responded that she greatly admired all of my Nottles and could not afford one, adding that she would have used one to place some of the ashes of her husband who had died that week.  Well, you can guess what I did.  It was a magical and very emotional moment that she and I shared.  This had been my proudest moment as a woodworker.  However, another moment has overshadowed this one.

ImageThis is an example of the boxes that I make.  They may be notion boxes – some with trays, cash boxes for people to use for sales, and so on.  I never thought of the following purpose, though.  Just a few days ago the 90 year old mother of my best old friend of my past had several heart attacks.  She and her family lived just a few doors down from where I grew up in Artesia, NM.  She is a very proper English lady – a WWII Bride!  I’ve cared for her since meeting her for  the first time in about 1956.  Saturday we visited her and my dear friend Glenn at the Artesia General Hospital.  Even in her terminal condition she was bright, thoughtful, and quick witted like no one else.  She reminded us of several “episodes” of our past as children.  She was so joyous to finally get to meet my wife Cat!  When we left she asked me to “Take care of Glenn”.  Well, I’ve been his friend since 1956 and would continue to do so.  Just yesterday Glenn called to say that his Mom had been telling people that morning that she was going to be “cremated and placed in a Jimmie Hokett box”!  This was a remarkable revelation as it had not been discussed at any point.  I’ve selected a nice box and offered any that I have for Glenn to use as his Mom wishes.  I’ll also turn Nottles to divide some of the ashes for special people if he wishes.  This is the very first circumstance that someone living has made such a decision – and I know about it!  This is the most reverent and supreme compliment of my work that I’ll ever know.  I have pride in my work, and obviously others do too.


BIKES:  Well, great news.  The defective speedo/tach unit that has been holding my most excellent custom chopper is finally shipping to Chuck Zettner, my builder!!!!!!!  I’m so greatly anxious to finally get to ride my bike!  It could occur early next week – we’re totally prepared to haul ourselves to Albuquerque and Dawg House Customs to pick it up!  It can’t come at a more opportune time as Thursday I meet with my surgeon to set a date for my procedure.  I look for great success and a prompt and full recovery.

I’m Very proud of my work and Very proud that this dear 90 year old lady selected me to do her final place.  Life is good.