View Full Version : Gift for an old biker

07-24-2008, 09:56 AM
My wife is leaving today to go back to Alberta for her great uncle's birthday. He is getting on a bit in years. Originally from Glasgow he is an old biker. He and his brother, my wife's late grandfather, used to race Triumphs all over the British Isles before the war. He hasn't ridden a bike perhaps since he was 80 or so but his bike is still in perfect condition in the garage. That was 16 years ago.

I have engraved this subject before but this time I tried a special effect that turned out rather well. It's engraved on a steel plate 1/8" thick that has been carefully flame treated to produce colors.


I should mention the scale, the plate is about 8" x 6"

07-24-2008, 10:36 AM

I just ordered a pair of cast iron motorcycle toys for a biker bud in California. ONE of them works in a med manufacturing plant and has been sending me $1200 of my medicienes without charge through the company. I had to get him something to let him know I appreciate it. I can't afford to build him a motorcycle, so a couple cast iron toys is it..

Old biker guys don't give up the hobby, they just become too buggered up to ride all the time. You should hear the noises my knees make.

Someday, they'll have that WII game worked out so it has bike handlebars and a 3d helmet.. set a fan up in front of it, on a treadmill with broken glass glued to it if you drop it????

I've looked for gaming to become more realistic.. a suit and helmet? like the real-motion shakers in the playstation mounted on the suit to shake parts of your body.. I'd love to have a martial arts suit myself.. not get beat up, just get to work out.. Last time I went by the gym, I got tortured by several people trying to get me to start back.. AND TAU- CHI.. yeah.. it could be taught properly by a machine..
I'll be a game addict on them days.. I loved the combat simulator, till I got bored finally.. I always wanted to build myself a real simulator with multiple screens and ....

IF I LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO GET INTO A NURSING HOME???? just set the 220mph bike riding youtube video to playing, and set a fan in front of me.. a set of headphones.. OKAY.. I'll be good for another while longer.. I'll be swaying and jumping around that chair like granny used to when PRO wrestling would come on.. she broke 3 television sets with a walking stick..

d kirby
07-24-2008, 11:21 AM
Evan, the engraving looks pretty nice and I like the subject. Did you trace it off a photo? Like your wifes great uncle, I got to race a Triumph Daytona 500 twin for a number of years on the dirttracks around Canada and the U.S.
I like the sound of a XR750 Harley on the mile dirttracks, but nothing beats the sound of a nice running Triumph twin, probably because that was all I could afford to race at the time.
I bet an old Triumph would look pretty good engraved up along with that Harley too.

Alistair Hosie
07-24-2008, 11:24 AM
tell him have a nice one fron one glasgow boy to another.Kindest regards to uncle whatever his name is:DAlistair

07-24-2008, 12:44 PM
you sure you want to give an engraving of a harley to a Triumph man?

07-24-2008, 02:37 PM
he hasn't ridden a bike since he was 80? WOW

07-24-2008, 03:39 PM
you sure you want to give an engraving of a harley to a Triumph man?

He'll like it. It's a motorcycle.

07-24-2008, 05:14 PM
Evan: Is that firebluing on it. What ever finish it is it looks nice! Gary P. Hansen

07-24-2008, 07:25 PM
Man if he rode Triumphs DO Not give him a Harley . they were rivals big time back in those days.

07-24-2008, 07:28 PM
I guess it can be called fire bluing. I polished up the piece with a belt sander to remove the mill scale, polished some more by hand and then hit it very slowly with a propane heating torch that produces a large feathered flame. You have to heat very slowly so you don't overshoot the color you want and I also keep some water on hand to throw on it when it hits the right shade. I was surprised when it turned out exactly the way I hoped. The colors are brighter than I expected. That pic was taken under diffuse natural light coming in the living room window with the plate lying flat on a kitchen stool by the window.

07-24-2008, 10:04 PM
That's a real nice job, Evan. The extra attention to detail in the coloring is an excellent feature.

07-24-2008, 10:39 PM
Nice as usual,like the blued effect too.

07-24-2008, 11:49 PM
I'll be using the color effect more often. It's easy to do in terms of time and materials and it also has the benefit of making no two engravings the same even if of the same subject. The colors are very durable too. I scrubbed that piece with the edge of a hardwood block to remove any burrs from the engraving and it didn't do a thing to the background. It should be lightly oiled every once in a while just like a firearm to keep the finish in good shape.

I'm also going to try the reverse, heat treat after engraving and then sand off the color from the background leaving only the engraving in color. I could also flood the colored engraving with clear laquer, sand it off the back ground and then cold blue the piece which would give colored engraving on a dark background. The only rule I have is that the color must come from the metal.

07-25-2008, 09:57 AM
Torchwork like that is occasionally used to imitate color case hardening on "restored" guns. With a little experimentation and control many different colors and shades can be obtained.

The colors are an oxide layer and do provide some protection similar to bluing or black oxide, but the layer is thin and does not last too long unles oiled or otherwise protected.

Guns so treated should be avoided. It can be difficult to detect at times, but it can destroy the original heat treat.

Your Old Dog
07-25-2008, 02:19 PM
you sure you want to give an engraving of a harley to a Triumph man?

Glue some boulders as a horizon made with some Viagara tablets and all will be forgotten!

Evan, you might try flooding the engraving with tar and then conventional cold gun blue on the metal. When the blueing is done, apply Easy Off Oven Cleaner in "even" coat. It will produce a finish known as French Finish Grey. Be careful when sanding that you don't sand off all the miniscule ridges as they are part of the illusion of depth and necessary for a nice engraving. If people can feel the tiny ridges they think it's engraved half way through the meta.

John Stevenson
07-26-2008, 07:01 PM
Should have sent him this Evan.



07-26-2008, 08:46 PM
Nice work Evan. I really like the idea of coloring it "naturally" Its all metal. Can the same thing be done at higher temps you think? Like to get some purples in there. Wounder if warpage might be an issue. Guess with a thicker slab it could be dealt with. Id like to experiment with my HT oven and see if a purple could be held. I like!!! Also, I wonder, if a clear coat of say spray lacquer would protect it. But then that takes away from the "natural" oiled metal aspect. Very cool!! JR

Oh yeah, how did you get the original pic to lines and code??

07-26-2008, 11:39 PM
I didn't create the g-code. Another member on this board sent it to me some time ago.


Do you have a higher resolution image of the Triumph?

I'm told he took the engraving and hid it in his room. Chances are he won't let anybody see it. That means he likes it. He is a practicing curmudgeon but he and I have always gotten along well. He likes the fact that I make things with my hands, as did his brother, my wife's grandfather. Grandfather was a master machinist.

07-26-2008, 11:43 PM

It's only a few degrees away from purple as it is. That comes next and is the last discernible color you get. After that the colors all fade to grey. You don't need a heat treat oven as these colors are within the range of a kitchen oven. However, that will give you a lot less control. I intended the lower parts to be in the ground colors and the upper to be in a sky color. It turned out exactly right.

John Stevenson
07-27-2008, 04:53 AM
Sorry, Only got three triumph pics of old bikes.
One is virtually the same as the one posted but not as clear and this one.


Don't know if PSP can do anything with them ?


07-27-2008, 06:36 AM
That one is better, not so dark in the detail areas.