Once upon a time there was a young man by the name of Clarence Elias. He had a wonderful career in the fields of geology and civil engineering, playing his role as draftsman, cartographer and photographer and, in later years as writer, programmer and manager. He spent his career solving other people's problems - to their deadlines, on their budgets and to their standards of excellence.

On Clarence's 60th birthday he retired. Free at last! Now he could solve his problems, to his deadlines, on his budget and to his standard of excellence. Only thing was, he didn't have any problems! Ah, the nights poor Clarence lay awake, tossing and turning, trying to come up with a problem.

And then, in the wee hours of a cold and frosty morning he had it! Why not fabricate a motorcycle? Yes! A Harley-Davidson! Of course, it would have to be a bit smaller than his Harley Road King because his shop was so small. How about 50%? Yeah, that sounded about right. And what about equipment? Well, he had an old belt drive lathe, a gas welder, a drill press and a good vise. That should suffice.

Now, Clarence knew virtually nothing about working with metal and therein lay the intrigue - to start with no knowledge and no skill, a tiny budget, no plan and no time constraints. Wow!

The project is coming along quite nicely, but at a snail's pace, constantly interrupted by extended road trips on his Harley, by friends who stop in for coffee, or by the spontaneous need to create a home page. The project has grown to include three little hogs; a Road King just like his, a police bike and a butt-kickin', bad ass chopper with an attitude problem that he has christened "Captain Canada".

No detailed plan has been made and the precise outcome wasn't really clear at the outset. It still isn't. The three little hogs will not be accurate scale models, rather caricatures but retaining reasonably accurate proportions. Component design normally happens with a pencil on the back of a pack of smokes. When the component is complete and has been tested, Clarence backwards engineers it and makes an AutoCad drawing. When (if) the three little hogs are finished he will have a complete set of shop drawings.

A great deal of Clarence's time is spent designing and building tools. At this point he has constructed from scraps a variety of "Rube Goldberg" type machines. Since his exposure to The Metalworking Group he has learned that home-built machinery is not necessarily ugly. In trying to rise to the quality standards of this august body of craftsmen he has started putting a bit more effort into making his machines look and behave like a finished product. If you'd like to see them, view the pictures under Apparati or check out the items under 'Other Stuff".

The exciting aspect of designing and building your own tools is that they don't come with an operator's manual. Once you've built them you have to figure out how to use them.

If you find this tale of interest, Clarence would like to hear from you at celias@telusplanet.net. Meanwhile, have a look at the photos in Hog Pix and in Apparati. And don't forget to make your Canada Pension contribution - Clarence needs the money!

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