The Four Fifty - Items filtered by date: February 2013

Old School

I love Photoshop. As a professional photographer I use it every day, and I probably only use about 10% of it's true power. Retouching is my main purpose; removing a wrinkle here, a blemish there. Occasionally removing a whole object like a tree, or car, or that crazy uncle photo-bombing someone's wedding day. It has also come in useful for imagining what certain colors of gas tank might look on Natasha. I'm a big follower of silver, black, and red. Let's just say silver is a predominate vehicle color for me. (Everything since I was twenty has been silver, aside a white Toyota Previa minivan... but we won't talk about that.)

I was going to just repaint the tank silver again, in keeping with Natasha's original colors; maybe including some nice detailing. But when I started messing around in Photoshop with a Hue/Saturation layer, suddenly I saw Natasha in a deep red; could it be called Russian Red?

But a solid color just seems a little too plain. So I printed out a few different angles of the tank after I had colorized the tank red. With the aid of a extra fine pen and a new black sharpie, I started to throw out some ideas. I couldn't imaging doing this in Photoshop. Maybe Illustrator, but since I'm not going to spend a week being myself up to a decent speed learning that program, I decided it was easier to do it the old fashioned way.

Sometime the simplest things can bring the greatest pleasure. Yes, after a while I started to get a bit tired of filling all the black squares, but the end result was mock-ups of a few ideas. I am definitely more enthusiastic about the chess board pattern across the top of the tank. We'll see what the custom painter I found in Pittsburgh has to say about that. It's got to be easier than doing flames or skulls, right? 


Steel Mustache

So there are times when I struggle with not getting wrapped up in Perfection. I've been working very hard at controlling my OCDness and just letting the flow of the bike take me where it wants to. I noticed today that I was slightly out on the brake/turn signal bracket; I mean you wouldn't notice it unless looking dead on from behind. I know I cut one side of the rear frame about 1/16" less than the other, but the Suzuki welder for that day sometime in 1980 was a little off with his measurements as well, so it was something to be tolerated. But of course that small error gets built into successive components, each one trying to compensate for the previous. There is something to be said for doing it right the first time.

I know the error is there, and it bothers me, but I am leaving it. As much as I want to cut everything off and start again, I'm not. The brake light/turn signal combination under the seat isn't as graceful as I want, but it works. And if there is anything about cafe racers, it was that FUNCTION always outranked FORM. But still, I think there is room for balance of those two elements.

On the next GS450, I'll do it differently. Yes, the next bike will be another GS450. I think it's good to specialize. Every builder has their favorite model, and so I think the GS450 will be mine. With each successive build I'll add to my knowledge. Who knows what the sixth or sixteenth iteration will look like?

Current hours on build: 10.5

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Rebuilding, restoring, and recycling classic bikes into unique custom-made cafe racers.


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The Four Fifty

170 John Street

Friday Harbor, WA 98250

United States

(360) 298-2374

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