Friday, April 30, 2010

Declaring God's Glory in Our Old Age

This Psalm was written by David during his old age as evidenced by verse 18; " Now also when I am old and greyheaded...." Old and grey headed: that seems to describe an awful lot of my friends these days. It describes nearly everyone who attended the service at the rest home where I brought this message recently. Old and grey headed also describes me, and if it describes you, that means this Psalm should be particularly applicable to us.

Note that David begins by stating that he puts his trust in the LORD Jehovah. He calls on the LORD for deliverance, and reaffirms that God is his rock and strong fortress. Each of us likewise needs to trust in the LORD as our fortress; our place of safety during the storms of life.

When David considers all that the LORD has brought him through, all the trials and tribulations that God has delivered him from, it inevitably leads him to verse 8; "Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day."

When we look back on our lives and consider how God has been our strong refuge and brought us safely through so many troubles, how can it help but bring us to the same point? How can we help but say with David "Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day."

In verse 9 David implores the Lord: "Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth." You see, our trials in this life are not over once we reach old age. In fact, some of you may attest that the testing becomes more severe. The solution is the same as that found by David and stated in verse 14; "But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more."

In verses 15-16 David says, "My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only." Truly, it is Christ's righteousness that we must rely on, for as the Bible tells us, our own righteousness is like filthy rags. Because it is only Christ's righteousness that is sufficient, it follows that salvation can only be found in Christ. Once we have a proper appreciation for that, how can we help but praise God more and more, declaring his righteousness all the day!

Now we come to verse 18, the key verse for this post. "Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come." What could be a better way to glorify God, than to testify, during our old age, of all the wondrous works that God has done in our lives!

Looking back, it is easy to see how the Lord has been with us from the very beginning of our lives. As it says in this psalm, God has supported us since the time we were in the womb. Every incident, every episode in our lives has worked together to lead us to the point where he saved us. And what a great salvation! The Lord not only saved us from the life of sin that we each would have inevitably continued in, if left to our own devices, but he also saved us to a glorious eternity with him.

As the potter, God continues to form us into the vessels as he chooses.
What he has done for each of us is just one small example of God's strength and power. We should delight in declaring it to this generation and the generations to follow!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prepping Knuck Heads for Big Valves

I intended to post something entirely different, but at the moment, Blogger is not letting me cut and paste, so rather than rewriting something I have saved in another program, I will do something fresh.

Some time ago I started a series on installing bigger intake valves in a Knuckle head. This will be the second part of that series. When I left off, I had finished installing new exhaust seats. The seats from Rowe machine nicely (something that cannot be said for the 60+ year work hardened original seats. This also allows you to set the stem protrusion of the new valves, avoiding mis-matched depths.

If the intake nipples were removed for replacement (and in most cases they should be), now is the time to re-install them. I like to use JB Weld on the threads of the nipples, along with a stock type rivet. The epoxy is particularly important when porting, since some of the inner threads inevitably will be ground away. Here's a tip: from here on out, keep a set of used intake nuts screwed on to the nipples to protect those nice new threads.

Now that the new seats and intake nipples are installed, it is time for porting work, if you plan to do so. Doing this before new guides are installed allows you to do the best possible job. Disregarding the area just below the seat and the short side radius, the remainder of both ports should be shaped and finished as per the final product. I like a 50 grit on the intake, and a polished exhaust. However if the exhaust port is to get a thermal barrier coating, there is no point in spending extra time doing a fine polish.

With the majority of the porting work done, it is time to paint the heads. This needs to happen before guide installation, since the spring cups are held in by the valve guides. For a stock look, I use a semi-gloss black, and bake it on at about 200 degrees. Many of the hi temp paints available need this heat cycle to enable them to stand up to standard parts wash fluid. Nothing worse than keeping the new paint looking good through the whole process, only to have it get sticky and wipe off during the final wash prior to final assembly.

While the paint is drying on the heads, it is a good time to make sure the spring cups are ready to go. Often you will find a small crack just below the return tube. Be sure to weld these before going any further. Next, all of the gasket surfaces on the cups should be attended to. I use several purpose built forms along with a small hammer to return them to their original shapes. Don't forget to re-flatten the bottom portion that the guide will seal against. Once the cups are all in shape, they can be Parkerized if you are going for a stock look.

Guide installation, cutting the seats, and final porting work will be covered in the next installment.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Green Again

On the one year anniversary of the post that I have written which received more comments than any other, I wanted to do something special. That year old post was a humorous look at my disdain for the false religion variously known as Global Warming, Ecology, Mother Earth, or simply the Green Movement. There were a total of about 30 comments, of which over 2/3 had to be deleted because they were simply vile and/or blasphemous. It certainly went a long way toward confirming my suspicion that the Green Movement is a religion. I attacked their religion, and so they attacked mine. That Global Warming is a faith based religion has been confirmed by the fact that it has lost little steam despite the fact that it's prophets with their own Urim and Thummim (computer climate models) have been shown to be liars. And let's not forget their high priest, Al Gore. On second thought, let's try to forget him!

As I said, I wanted to so something special....but there is just not enough time. I toyed with the idea of getting someone to photograph me doing a smokey burnout on a Harley, but the logistics just were not there, one reason being I have been too busy in the shop to rouse my bike out of its winter sleep. I'll have to settle for this.

Above is a 15 year old picture of me heating the 10 inch slick on my last dragbike, "The White Knuckle Express" The bike was a 120 cubic inch Knuckle with a centrifugal supercharger running 20 psi boost and producing over 200 horsepower.

Note that in the photo, my friend, Krazy Karl, has been all but rendered invisible due to tire smoke. It is quite possible that the ecology of that little plot of land in western Minnesota has yet to recover from the combination of noxious tire smoke and fumes from 120 octane racing gas. I know Karl has never been the same.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New, Stronger Cylinders for Your Knuck

I received a set of S&S/Flathead Power 74 inch Knuckle cylinders into the shop last week, and thought there may be an interest in some comparison shots. The black powder-coating on the S&S cylinder on the left is a little too glossy for my taste, but will doubtless hold up well.

A nice touch is the cast in emblem which suggests (but does not copy) the original's MC (Milwaukee Casting) badge

Cast in number plate also pay tribute to the original, though on the Flathead Power cylinder the large "F" corresponds to Front cylinder. Note the crack in the spigot on the stock cylinder.

Even the pistons that come with the cylinders have a dome that is reminiscent of their vintage counterpart. On left is the new S&S cast 74" piston, on the right an English made replacement piston from back in the day.

Currently the S&S suggested retail for a set of these cylinders is $980 with pistons, or $850 for cylinders alone. Not cheap by any means, but certainly a worthwhile investment if you plan serious performance modifications.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Islam, Terrorism, Hutaree, and Westboro Baptist

For the last nine years I have been hearing something similar to this:
If it is a peaceful religion, and the terrorists are misguided, then why do we not hear an outcry from all those peaceful Muslims condemning the actions of those who have "hijacked" Islam?

Well, that's a pretty good question, and so I decided to add my voice to the outcry of genuine Christians condemning a couple of groups that have been in the news lately.

The first group is the so called "christian militia" called Hutaree. If what the media is reporting is true; that this group planned to kill police officers and then bomb more officers at the ensuing funeral hoping to spark an uprising, then there can be no doubt that this group is NOT Christian. In fact they have much more in common with a cult that was based around Charles Manson, than with Christians. Remember, Manson had a similar plan to spark an uprising.

The second group has been in and out of the news for the last several years, and never fails to make me shake my head. That group of course is the Westboro Baptist Church. As a Baptist myself, this one is particularly painful to me. I wince every time I hear the name Baptist in the middle of their name. This is the group that has made a name for itself by going to funerals of servicemen who were killed in action and insulting the dead and their families.

There is one thing that I would like to clarify for anyone reading this who is not familiar with the Baptist faith. Baptist churches are all independent. It is not a denomination in the sense that Baptist churches are not under the control or even influence of any national, let alone worldwide organization. Some Baptist churches are members of associations or conventions into which they have voluntarily joined together to accomplish common goals. Many other Baptist churches remain even more independent by not belonging to any type of association. I trust that if the Westboro bunch had been a member of any association, they would have found themselves out on their ear a long time ago.

The Westboro bunch seems to have one common theme running throughout all of their literature: God Hates. God hates fags, God hates America, God hates Israel, God hates the World - no I am not kidding, you can find each of these slogans on their website. I believe they missed one though: God hates false prophets. Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro group, has said " The Antichrist Bloody Beast Obama is going to become king of the world." and "Then Obama will lead the nations against Jerusalem to battle." Surely a Biblical scholar such as Phelps will embrace the Old Testament fate of one who's prophecies do not come to pass. We should not have long to wait to see if Fred really is a prophet.

Matthew 5:43-47 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

You'll have to excuse me now. I have to go pray for all the groups I just mentioned in this post!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Donnie Smith Show 2010

This past weekend (March 27&28) most of the Harley enthusiasts in the Twin Cities area gathered at Rivercenter in St. Paul for the annual Donnie Smith Bike Show. As always, the show was a big success, with scores of builders from throughout the Midwest displaying their latest creations. Unlike some bike shows, this one has also become a place for manufacturers such as Custom Chrome and Kuryakyn to promote their products. Many local shops also take advantage of the flow of 12 to 15 thousand spectators, by setting up at the event.

Custom Vincent had great lines

Since this is such an important event in my area, I tend to put a fair amount of effort into it. More than a few hours are spent in the week preceding the show, preparing my display. I generally take a number of ported heads and other performance items so that spectators can see the type of work I do.
Another thing that I do is to help with the physical set up of the show. Because of the show's size, two days (Thursday and Friday) are set aside just for vendor and show bike set up. Most often you will find me directing traffic inside the auditorium. No, not foot traffic. Trucks with up to 50 foot trailers are driven in to unload and set up. With sometimes over a dozen vehicles unloading at one time, it gives everyone a good test of their ability to back up a trailer.

My Display

Once the show begins on Saturday morning, I am well on my way to a sore throat from increasing my verbal output by factor of about 100. This year I had "The Knuckledragger" in my booth. It got a lot of attention, which in turn generated a lot of questions. I also had ported Twin Cam, Evolution, Shovel, and Knuckle heads on display.
There were a number of great bikes in the show, my favorite being a custom Vincent. Inevitably there were also a few "Karaoke Bikes" in the show as well. (You do know what a Karaoke Bike is, don't you? It's a bike so ugly that you are embarrassed for the owner even though you don't even know him) Of course some of the Karaoke Bikes wound up being award winners, so that just shows what I know.

Sunday morning before the doors opened to the public found about 30 of us gathered together for the worship service that the Bond Slaves MC puts on annually at the show. Their Chaplain always brings an excellent message. This one was no different. In a nutshell, the main point was that the book of Acts records the work of the early Church, and though Sacred Scripture ends Acts at chapter 28, the work continues, with each of us being an additional chapter. Good stuff, if you are a Christian.

Along those same lines, I had a sign saying "Free-Take One" on an air cleaner turned bowl. By way of that, I distributed a couple dozen S&S stickers, between 50 and 100 pressed pennies with the 10 Commandments on them, and another 50 or so larger coins which have the commandments on one side and a Gospel message on the other. I won't order more of the pennies, because I noticed that all the bikers at the show are so old that none of them could read the tiny print (me included). I think the larger coins are great though. Most people are more likely to take something shiny than they would a Gospel tract; and less likely to toss it in the first trash can they come to.

Finally a good (and innovative) use for those cam chain tensioners!

All in all, the 2010 Donnie Smith Bike Show was a great success and left builders, vendors, and manufacturers looking forward to next year's event!

Vintage British drag bike - oops, better look a little closer

Sweet Panhead

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