Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Well, they say that winter is the time to plan projects for spring, but since I never figured out who “they” are, I don’t listen to ’em. I just dive into whatever I want ta do, an’ hope for the best, or at least a timely rescue by somebody who knows what the hell he’s doin’. Some of ya know that I have a 30′ x 50′ shop just down the hill, an’ I’ve walled off a 20′ x 30′ section for buildin’ bikes. I insulated it, an’ it’s pretty cozy, but every ol’ dog needs a porch ta hide under, an’ every guy needs a man-cave where his buddies can hang out when they come over. When I tell ya to grab a chair an’ a beer, I mean it, an’ some of ya have taken me up on the offer, so I figgered I’d build us a place ta hang out, work on bikes, have a drink or two, an’ socialize. Madtown ain’t exactly Vegas, ya know…
I have a friend named Lee Bettencourt who spent months designin’ every aspect of his shop before he picked up a tool to start the project. The place is amazing, with a tile-lined “pit” to get under his hot rods, an’ he even thought out what bench design would be easiest to clean under. All the details were planned in advance, an’ the outcome was so spectacular that it’s the envy of all us less talented, impatient people. I thought about askin’ Lee ta help me out with layin’ out the place, but with a drink in one hand an’ a hammer in the other, I didn’t have any way ta dial the phone. I know a lot of ya can see my problem here, so I just dove in head first an’ dragged out the saw, the nail gun, an’ a few more drinks. As the rappers all say: “That’s how we roll” here at the ol’ Buckshot Ranch! Blueprints are what a Smurf leaves at the scene of the crime, an’ I had very little experience buildin’ anything outta wood, though years ago I did build a dog house that immediately became “the Dog Ghetto.” Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot since those days. Unfortunately, none of it had anything to do with bein’ a carpenter, so I just threw caution to the wind an’ fired up the power tools! “Level? We don’ need no stinkin’ level!” At least I remembered the ol’ adage about “measure once, cut twice,” or somethin’ like that.
I started the project by movin’ out all the equipment that makes a mess. Grinders, buffers, drill press, blastin’ cabinet, solvent tank, paint bench an’ all the other messy stuff now lives out in the hot rod side of the shop. I built rolling carts for the sand blastin’ cabinet an’ the solvent tank so I can store ’em out of the way, an’ roll ’em to wherever I need ’em when it’s time to clean stuff up. I also built a narrow bench to hold the grinder, the belt sander, an’ the band saw, so they’re in a good, easy-to-clean-up area before I got on with the original intent of the project. Did I mention that I get easily sidetracked? I’ve been told that it’s ADD, although how Absence of Dietary Discipline could make ya get sidetracked, I’ll never know. I thought it just made me fat.
Now, bein’ the good host I am, I started with the most important stuff first—that bein’ the bar. I built it eight feet long, ’cause ya never know how many will show up at any given time, an’ I’d hate for anybody to feel left out. I set my mini-fridge into one side under the bar, an’ my stereo system in the other side. In the middle is a Panhead motor with strip lighting above it to show off the chrome when I get it all together. I used an old kitchen cabinet as a back-bar to hold the booze, an’ painted the inside flat black an’ the outside gloss black to match the bar. I built a shelf that hangs down below it to hold my die-cast engines an’ other interestin’ knick-knacks. Naturally, I painted it traditional Harley colors, although if Harley succeeds in movin’ a lot of their production overseas, I’ll have to repaint it Honda red.
About five or six years ago, Reggie bought me a juke box for Christmas. I never really had anywhere to put it until now, but it’s found a home in the “Buckshot Bar an’ Grill.” It’s even the right colors! After all, man does not live by booze alone; he’s gotta have some tunes, too!
Next, I grabbed an old lighted cabinet that Reggie used for displayin’ her doll collection before we bought new furniture a few years back. I think it started life as a gun cabinet, but nobody remembers, or cares for that matter. It has mirrors on all the inside surfaces, so I painted the outside to match the rest of the stuff, an’ I use it as a trophy case. So far, I’ve only got about a hundred bucks in materials, an’ with things as tight as they are nowadays, that’s an important thing. Plus, I can still build bikes while I’m visitin’ with ya!