Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shaping my custom tail

While cylinders were off at the shop getting bored, I started working on my tail end covers.

The end goal is a custom fiberglass rear end, frame coverish, seat mounting thingy. Whatever you want to call it, the rear bodywork. I'm starting by making a wood pattern, which I will layup fiberglass over to create my mold. I will then lay up a 2nd fiberglass piece using the mold so I get an exact replica of the wood. This is a very time consuming and tedious process. Kinda like everything custom I've been doing to this bike. I'm learning it all from scratch, and it's taking forever.
I glued a bunch of wood together, notched it out, cut it to length and fit it up on the bike. Here's the raw shape I started with:

Starting out it is obviously very square. I started figuring all the different angles and marking them out. The next step is to rough sand down to those angles using my angle grinder with an 60 grit disc. I'm making this all up as I go along and every time I go to cut, I'm deathly afraid of messing up because I would have to start from scratch all over again. Maybe that's an exaggeration. I can always fill in with bondo, but the less I do that the better.

As you can see, I've covered my workshop in a layer of wood dust. That's quite a change from the oil, metal filings and paint that's been in there to date. Wood is so much easier to work with than metal!! Wow.


Civ said...

Take great care to seal the wood before you lay up the fibreglass and use a quality 'mould release' agent matey. Trust me (as someone who didn't and then couldn't get the mould off the buck without smashing it out!)

Pete Alderson said...

why not shape the tail with clay or something a bit easier to work with than wood? just curious....

great to see this project though! i had a 1990 Vx800 years ago and I loved that bike.

Stephen said...

Civ: thanks for the feedback and recommendations. This is the first time I've done anything like this.

Pete: I saw some photos of similar work by the wrenchmonkees at, and just went with wood. I'm screwing parts of the original bodywork to my wood buck and couldn't see this being possible with foam or clay.

stev4n said...

You used a good resin for the fibreglass moulds l see