Friday, December 25, 2009

Hoping for Merry Christmas For All!

Its a cold rainy Christmas morning here in the Carolinas. If it were a bit colder, there'd be a foot of snow out there. But instead the wind chimes are singing as wind and rain pelts The Chopper Compound. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. And hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The sun threatened to come out for a little while this morning. But no, the clouds are taking over once again. And it is colder than yesterday. I really shouldn't complain as I talked to my buddy Tony with SATA Spray Equipment up in Minnisota and it was 23 below zero there.
Today I'll be finishing up the paint sample for Tony Schumacher's bike and airbrushing real fire. The other half of the shop will be finishing up the prep work for the Constitution bike. That bike is going to be so cool. I like doing projects that make people think about things. I'll be posting updates about that project here as it gets worked on. Some very classic and timely words will be airbrushed on that bike.
So for now, I'll share a few cool pictures I've collected.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

and here in the rain forest

The weather dude said the Carolinas have gotten more rain in Dec so far than in all of Oct and Nov. After living here for over 14 years, I can say, I have never seen this many cloudy mucky days. Normally we have more sunshine than clouds.

This is worse than Seattle.

But we all keep working.

I still have a bunch of holiday shopping to do. I did make a cool decoration. All you a wine bottle, emptied and dry. A shirt strand of miniature lights, and some glittery garland. Stick the garland and lights in the bottle and plug in the lights. It looks so cool.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meanwhile in the woods............

It was a very nice day here at the Compound. I started the smoker up first thing this morning. I got this Brinkman Smoker about 12 years ago and never used it. Today is the second time it has been used. Living in the Carolinas, there's no getting away from BBQ. They have these very intense BBQ competitions and these guys are very serious about it. They'll start the night before and cook all night.
Well 14 years of Carolina living has inspired me to try my hand at smoking BBQ. I had a Boston Butt soaking overnight in a tasty brine of water, white wine, soy sauce, Kosher salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Got the smoker going good, added water soaked wood chips to the coals, slapped that roast on there and let it go all day. I had a mixture of water, white wine, marinade and more fresh thyme in the smoker's water pan.
It was a perfect day for cooking outside. Sunshine streaming through the woods, a light breeze to take the smoke away.
And there was more smoke in the studio as I airbrushed real fire flames. I'm using Artool's True Fire2 Shield's from Mike Lavalle and they totally rock. I loved his first set of True Fire Shields, and combine those with the newer ones...I'm getting great results. Pictures to be posted soon.
Off topic, there is a lost golden retriever dog in our neighborhood. Roxie was on vacation with her family in a park just down the street and got lost. Its created quite the search and we've even been looking. People all around the country are following this search online. Local folks have been checking the shelters, everyone is pitching in and there's been Roxie sightings. But so far no one can catch her. Now National Geographic is filming a documentary on the search for Roxie. They might be stopping in here Saturday to talk to us.
And Saturday is also the big holiday sale at a local Potter, Marshall Art. And I am taking Saturday afternoon off to bake cookies with my godsons. So Saturday looks to be a pretty hectic day here in the backwoods of Waxhaw.
Kris Krome has been hard at work on the Tony Schuacher bike, welding and welding. AndI'm getting some great ideas for the paint. You can see pictures of the build progress at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cold, rainy day here in Waxhaw. It feels like winter. Working in the warm shop. Tried out a technique for painting a parchment effect basecoat. I'm pretty happy with the results. The samples are almost ready to get sent out to the customer. I'll be taking photos throughout the paint precess, so they can put into a how to feature. There was realy only one product that made this effect possible. Water based automotive paint. I used Auto Air. It dries slower than solvent based and it easy to manipulate and mover around on the surface.
Lots of new products arriving in the shop. Having the right tools makes such a difference in how a particular technique is done. I think all the years I worked without a computer, no printer. Knowing the location and hours of every copy machine in a 30 minute drive from my studio. SATA hooked me up with quality spray guns in '04. Until then I sprayed with anything I had and many times, I paid dearly for it in wasted time and materials. I finally got a plotter in '05. And little by little my shop gets more goodies that make the job so much less of a hassle.
I know there are some shops that start out with a big budget for tools and such. But for most of us, it takes years, buying little by little, to collect the tools that make your workday more effective.
Ok back to work.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Chopper is Famous!

Well sort of. Actually it did appear on the Sept 2004 cover of Easyriders. But that was a long time ago and most of the time, I forget just how neat a bike it is. I mean, I love my chopper. But I don't treat it like some kind of priceless artifact.
It does not sit in the living room, pristine and spotless. It sits in the shed with a sheet over it. There is usually road grime on it. I'll take it out once a month and ride the snot out of it as it is a total blast. Last year I rode it 150 miles to the Smoke Out and rode it back in the rain. It has seen quite a few rain soaked miles and even a nightime hailstorm in the Black Hills. At the Sturgis Rally it is my only form of transportant there and I'll put around 1500 miles on it during Rally week. Aaron Stevenson took some pretty incredible photos of the bike during the Easyriders photoshoot. I used one for the cover of my first book.But that was over 5 years ago. I don't enter the bike in shows, in fact I only ever put it in one bike show, the 2004 Easyriders Show in Charlotte, where it went up against 158 other bikes in the Judged Class. I took home a second place, which was very good considering there were only 13 trophies. But every so often I get a surprize and a photo of the chopper will show up someplace. I was reading Cyril Huze's blog and saw a banner ad for Motorbooks. And wow, there was my bike.
There was time when I could not even dream of having a bike like this. And there it is, 100 feet from me, outside the door, sitting in a shed. Maybe I should display it in the house. Naw, too much trouble to take out and ride.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Adventures in Painting

Its always an adventure in this line of work. That is, if you look at it the right way. Things are happening so fast here. We are working with some great companies this year, House of Kolor, SATA and Artool to name a few. These companies are coming out with some great new products and our shop is trying them out. I just unpacked some shields from Artool and I am so stoked to play with them. House of Kolor is hard at work on their new Shimron2 line of VOC Compliant paint and we'll be testing that too and posting how it is working here for us.My buddy Kris Krome is hard at work on the bike he's building for drag racing champ Tony Schumacher. He's under a welding helmet most hours of the day and I'll be seeing him in two week when I fly up to Flint for his big birthday party. My buddy Stogie, just got back from his 9 month long cross country m/c adventure and he'll be there too. I can't wait to hear his road stories.I updated the Links page on the website. You can go there to check out the sites of the companies and people I talk about.
But today is another day of painting flames and paintwork in general. The sunshine has gone away for the weekend and there's talk of snow in the Carolinas.
Tonight I'm taking my 2 godsons to downtown Waxhaw, for pizza, christmas lights and hot chocolate. I'll try and take some pictures of the lights as it is absolutely wonderful.If you live near Charlotte, NC, please make time to visit Waxhaw to see the lights and enjoy our little antique town. We have some great restuarants, cafes, a kickass coffeehouse, and lots of cool little store full of crafts, antiques, jewelry, and neat stuff in general. These pictures posted are of Downtown Waxhaw.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Good day for Airbrushing.

After a few wonderful days of sunshine, the Carolinas is back to its regular schedule of rain and cloudy days. I'm sitting here, laptop perched on my lap, sipping a cup of tea on this damp cold day.
Last night was the last night of Sons of Anarchy until next season. We went all out, ordering pizza and wings. Yes that is all out around here. Its been turkey city for the past week. I can't believe the way they ended. Brutal cool and totally unexpected. Jax freaking on the dock as the boat pulls away and Gema on the lamb with Unser. Oh and it was brutal cool how that box truck pulled up to block the Mayans and it said, "Unser Moving and Storage."
The FXRG gear article and photos are safely in the capable hands of Chris Callen and on the way to the colorful pages of Cycle Source. We just got the new issue of Cycle Source and as usual, it kicks ass with wicked bikes features but the issue is an end of the year wrap up with their Top 10 of 2009, as in Top Builder, Top Bike, along that line. My vote for Woman of Year helped the lady I picked, win! Chris has built up an amazing magazine.
In fact there are only 2 magazines that come to the Chopper Farm and get read cover to cover. Garage magazine is one and that brutal cool mag deserves its one blog entry. But Cycle Source is the other. Chris has such a passion for what he does and it truly shows in the end result. Check out Chris and the gang at

Late last night, I watched the season finale of Sons of Anarchy. It was an hour and half long and FX fit in 45 minutes of commercials. So I played on the computer during them and made banners. One for my photography work.

One for my buddy Kris.

One for my awesome friend Athena.

And one for me.

So today its back to painting fire. Lots of work in the shop and come very cool projects coming up. New stencils and shields from Artool arrived this week. And Mike Lavallee's Tru Fire 2 Shields will be getting a workout today. I can't wait to try them. Very soon there will be a new section of the Crazy Horse website that will be showing how tos as we go through projects. I'll also be doing a series of How tos for publication. More on that later.