Thursday, August 7, 2014

Personal Time

I decided to spend a lot of personal time with my bike. The journey to bring it back has been an emotional one. I wanted to get settled in, if you will, before diluting Uncle Sam's meaning by blasting images all over the net. When it's good and dirty, I'll post a full break down. Pic by Mark Kawakami of Joyrides.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Street Gliding Bend Oregon

There is nothing like the experience of riding a hand built vintage chop and nothing can compare to that, but I'm not an elitist, nor do I take a hard bent on style, type or model of bike a person rides. I only look at the person and the miles they lay down. There is nothing more boring than riding in a pack of cats with the same exact bike no matter what style. Different bikes offer different experiences and if you are fortunate enough to have some variety on 2 wheels, that is all kinds of good.

Last week I spent several days riding around the Bend Oregon area. I didn't want to get off the bike.

This is my second trip with The Street Glide, thanks to the generous folks at Harley Davidson for allowing me to abuse the bike. The Street Glide is such an easy bike to ride, especially given it's size and weight. The 103" rubber mounted motor just barrels down the road effortlessly. 6 speeds! Cruise control, killer sound system. How many times have you done 90mph ( ok, I wasn't really speeding folks at HD, just embellishing a little ), listening to Theolonis Monk, via my Iphone plugged in to the infotainment system?!

 The infotaiment system is addicting. I loved the POI feature. I just searched for places, pressed go, and followed the map. Such an amazing tool to discover new rides and locations. I want to build a bike with one of these!!

 The folks at Wildhorse Harley in Bend were awesome and laughed at my stupid jokes.

                    If you find yourself in Bend or anywhere for that matter, do yourself a favor and go rent Street Glide!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


The Analog Run and Motorcycle Gathering is taking shape. Some very kind and generous sponsors have jumped on board to help out. I'll have more details on the event in the coming weeks. Make your plans now!!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cro Customs Shop Apron
I'm very proud of this apron and it's now available for sale in The Cro's Nest Trading Post. This is a result of a collaboration with Ontario California based, Ink Fx Corp. The apron is designed to my specs and it is all hand made right here in California USA! I wear this every day in my shop and I love it. It's exeptionally made, durable, and very functional. From metal fab, wrenching, to wood work or whatever craft you enjoy, this apron covers the bases. I'm very proud to have the Cro Customs name on it. Please support American made products and American craftsman!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

That's a wrap! BF6!

Born Free 6 has come and gone. It seems like this slow moving train around December then by the time June hits it's barreling down the tracks and woosh! It's gone.  Best show on the planet, hands down. Mike, Grant, Chris and the rest of the crew just knocked it out of the park. I'm very proud to have been part of the show, not to mention deeply honored to be and invited builder 4 years running.
Kimmy came out Sunday to help in the booth and to cause trouble. Thanks Kimmy!
I did not take a lot of pictures, I'm sure the net is flooded with them. But here are a few.
Hanging at the Cro Customs BF6 headquarters. Andrea saved my but and was a huge help! Thank you.
The Justin Bieber of choppers, or is it Brad Pitt?
So cool to see my part gracing some amazing bikes! Jordan's Knuck was beautiful.

Tom Fugle!

Trent's killer shovel with the Cro's Nest.

The Show Class People's Champ bikes were stellar as well.
The complete story of Uncle Sam's Ressurection is still in the works and I will post a full breakdown on that soon. I still have some video to edit as well.

For now, I'd like to that the following friends and sponsors for your loyal support and encouragement.

Mike and Grant from Born Free
Ink Fx Print and Supply Company
Bill and Harold from Biltwell
Brandon Casquillo from Mullins Chain Drive
Kurt Morrow from Morrow Vintage Customs
Cole Foster from Salinas Boys
Danny Silva from Crazy Heart Leather Goods
Kevin Moore
Gilby Clarke
Simon Watts
Michael Lowney from Harley Davidson
Eric from Antigravity Batteries
Tony and Ruben from GTL
T. Markus Paint
Jack from Balistec Auto Works

More to come, for now I ride!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cro Customs Shop T BLACK!!!
I have a limited run of this T in BLACK!! They will not be available at Born Free or anywhere else, only through me and online. Get them while they last!  They ship next week.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Uncle Sam Tank Art.

I've been neglecting the blog, because I've been so slammed with projects and trying to get Uncle Sam done as well. I spent 36 hours doing the art work on the tank. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I didn't want to use airbrush cause it just feels like a dated look to me, I wanted a more antique feel so I did the art work with colored pencils. It took some time experimenting with how the pencils behave on the painted surface, not to mention I had to do lots of different tests on blending the colors before finally getting something that worked well.
I used a combination of burnishing with pencils, then a stump, and at some points some rubbing alcohol and a paint brush. I also used an exacto knife to remove pencil areas for highlights and fine detail.

The Uncle Sam figure I'm using was originally done by Alex Ross. I have a signed print of the art work and it's been in my shop for over 10 years. I've always thought it would make great tank art. I embellished the work by adding my own color twists, and the flag background.
It was a really great challenge for me. I hadn't done anything this serious in years so I'm fairly happy with the results. It's sparked my creative juices and I'm already planning some other pieces.

Come see it at Born Free!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Born Free 6, Uncle Sam's Resurrection: Some Leather with Danny "Crazy Heart"

 In today's internet / reality tv world, the pursuit of some sort of celebrity status seems to be the norm. It would seem that people want things instantly, the idea of working hard and paying your dues, well, that's for old folks it would seem. 

It's hard to have conversations like that without sounding old, but truth has no age. Today's generation seems to want success or notoriety as fast as the internet will spill it out. Putting in the time, learning, honing your craft, falling down, getting back up. That just takes to long.

The road to bring Uncle Sam back led me to Danny Silva of Crazy Heart Leather Goods.  I met Danny when he reached out to me to help sponsor the Analog Run. When he found out about my build for Born Free he kindly agreed to craft a one of a kind tool bag.
We had a few conversations on the phone and finally scheduled a time for me to come out to his place and do some leather work.

 After a few hours on the road, a few miles of dirt, I made to his place and I was welcomed like a long lost relative. Danny and his two lovely children, took me on a tour of the house he built, along the way discussing his art work. I was struck at how incredibly versatile Danny is as a craftsmen, artist, farmer, tattoo artist and cowboy. I was waiting for him to tell me he wrestles bears for fun on the side too. Yes, cowboy. He helps his Mom with the family business that involves serious horse riding and tending. He's made a name for himself in the tattoo world also, and does some amazing work.
Some of the best moments of a journey are the unexpected ones. I had no preconceived notions about working with Danny, I just went and let things fall as the may. I was pleasantly surprised to learn we had a lot in common and bikes were just one small part of that.
Dan's old man inspired him to pursue leather work. Some of his Dad's old belts.
Cass, Dan's wife, made some amazing lunch for us and we sat around discussing kids, the scene, art, life and everything in between. It all just flowed like we knew each other for years. Cass is an artist in her own right, and does some beautiful jewelry you can see here.
He's made a name for himself in the tattoo world, and does some amazing work. This is his collection of one of a kind hand made tattoo guns. He uses all of them.

Just a select few original paintings by Dan above. Very versatile and accomplished artist for sure.

The beginnings of the tool bag! This would have taken him probably all of 10 min if I wasn't there talking shit.

When I started the process of rebuilding Uncle Sam and asking these talented people to get involved, I knew that it would be a major challenge for me to put myself in a position of apprentice in some cases. I knew that I needed to be part of the entire process, but I also knew that in order to grow as a craftsmen I would need to pull back on my otherwise dominate controlling nature. Obviously choosing the folks involved made stepping back so much easier. Mutual respect is so paramount in creative collaboration. The beauty of what I've found thus far, is, that even though we all come from very different backgrounds, we all have a common bond and link in our passion for thoughtful, quality workmanship. We also understand that becoming proficient takes time. Earning the title "artist" or "craftsmen" takes even longer.  That understanding is a language all it's own and Dan speaks that language well.
It's all very reassuring to hear that people "get" what this is about and hearing it first hand from someone like Dan, makes it all worth it. Now a days it can be said that anyone, given the time, money, nohow and tools, can build a bike, but not everyone can say "why" they built a bike.

My deepest thanks to Dan and his family. I love the tool bag. Video coming soon.