Steve Roper, Covid Project: Wooden Motor Bike (ART, OBJECTS 2021)
My Covid Project In April 2020 the school which I work at went into lockdown due to Covid. I work as a storeman come workshop tech for the industrial arts department. Looking at the photo of the bike you can see that I have used many species of wood due to students HSC projects over the year plus general woodworking, pallets and whatever goes in the bin which is made of timber I would try and reuse it. Every now and then I would take home with me some of the scrap wood which would have ended up in landfill some where. But on this occasion I would have burnt it in my pizza oven. Looking back to when I visited the UK I remember going to a motor bike museums and seeing a bike made of wood, laser cut out. I said to myself I could make one out of wood for my 1958 BSA Bantam D5. Looking at all the scrap wood that would have been burnt, I thought I would try my hand at making a small part of the bike, so I took off the brake handle on the BSA and copied it and made it out of blue gum which turned out all right. I did the same to the clutch handle, and from here on kept making the small parts until I had no choice but to learn as I went on to make the bigger parts, wheels and engine. I then got to a point where I wanted to do something different, I wanted to be able to take the bike apart later on for show and tell with out having to try and put it on the back of my ute on my own, so I made all the nuts and bolts out of wood so then I could unscrew most parts , handle bars, seat, engine, wheels, exhaust, etc, so now that I can pull the bike apart and place the parts in boxes. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to make threaded timber rods. As you do, I went on google and put together all that I could to mimic cutting the rods. I managed to make my dowel rods out of merbau at diameter sizes 6mm, 8mm, 10mm and 12mm and nuts to suit. It wasn’t long before we were all back at school, and I would still continue making parts in my workshop after school at home. I would prep evening meal and go back into my workshop for three to four hours. That would happen every night, weekends and I would be in the workshop all of Saturday and Sunday. This went on for nine months and thousands of hours later it was ready to show and tell. The bike is 100% wood, scale 1-1 full size. Not one steel pin, wheels turn, drive chain, for the tool box I had to modify hinges.