ep007 Help me! And the Erie trip.

Bumper music credits “I digress” by Big Wreck  and “Push” by Ultraspank

I seem to be surrounded by many marriage/business partnerships when attending various pinstripe get-together, and I find myself asking each couple what their respective roles and/or duties are.  These all appear to be healthy relationships.  The husbands and wives all fall into familiar territory during these reunions as old friends, and I’m often left feeling that we’re missing out on something unique and special.

You might ask “why hasn’t this happened yet?”.  Good question.  My best guess would have to be that I didn’t see that business/marriage relationship as fundamental as I have in recent years.  I always knew I wanted that for us, but for years my M.O. was “have airbrushes, will travel” to any airbrush stand or custom paint job that came my way.  Christmas time especially would cause my phone to ring, asking if I would be interested in putting some time in at this mall, or that party, or event for some quick cash.  I had no plan or, if I’m to be honest, direction vis-a-vis running a business.  There was no thought to marketing, or defining my services as to refuse any job based on subject or specific market.  I refer you to my business name “IDENTITY CRISIS DESIGN“.  It’s no accident.  That name doesn’t just serve to advertise how I like to deal with my customers on a deeper more personal basis in order to give them the best product I could, but also to remind me of my own lack of direction, concerning the business itself.  Until, and unless that became front and center, Identity Crisis Design would continue to float around the marketplace, without a solid purpose.

Enter Lindsey.  Here we have a woman who is a straight thinker, where I tend to think, and talk in tangents, grasping for a point.  This isn’t so bad when a creative is looking for a new angle or idea.  Tangential thinking is quite profitable when fishing for a eureka moment but in conversation, listeners get lost in the weeds.  Lindsey also reads people better, and faster than I do.  I tend to see the positive side in people first.  That may sound like a good thing, and in many cases it is, if you’re a psychiatrist, pastor, or need to talk someone down from the ledge of a tall building, but it can also blind you to the potential reality of a persons true nature, motivations, and before long you’re left disappointed by them, and the transaction you’re now stuck in.  Lindsey is organized, and while I like to think I am, the truth of this full-time job, kids, business, and life is that things get in the way of being able to concentrate on darn near anything.  I have spats of organization that make me clean the garage out, or reorganize a kitchen because I’m just so sick of the clutter.  Also, I’m probably procrastinating on projects pretty heavily by the time I’m driven to pick up dog poop so I can mow the lawn.  Before Lindsey was in our lives, my kids didn’t even have a bed time.  We just fell asleep on each other until the big kid (me) woke up and carried them to bed.  Lindsey provided some much-needed structure to things that I, as a single parent, took for granted like mealtimes, bedtime, and what was and wasn’t a set of pajamas versus actual girl clothes… That only happened once.  I can hold my own when it comes to typing but Lindsey was an english major in college AND she can type way better and faster than me.  Skills like being able to express yourself in words, both spoken and written shouldn’t go to waste when they’re so sorely needed.  My wish is that, once Lindsey is steeped in my current “order of things”, She’ll take the same pity on the business that she took on my small kids, fall in love with it, and shape it up into something that makes sense.

So…When I first decided I was going to attend a local bike rally in 2017, come hell or high water, I also decided I wasn’t going to attend, whichever one I chose, alone without any help.  In my experience even the local dealership events, as low-key in comparison as they tend to be, are also somewhat over whelming as I try to stripe, promote, and answer questions at the same time.  For years, a dream of mine has been to have my wife Lindsey participate as a more integral part of the business.

The only real problem is, she has to want to.  And she’s not going want to, unless it’s fun!

That’s a big part of including her in this podcast, the magical 7th episode.  We all know that there is a big difference between wanting to do something and having to do something.  I’m reminded of Cheap Trick’s hit song in my head, “I want you to want me“. It’s just like that.  I want Lindsey to want to help.  Not only because I could really use it, but because I see all the possibility that lay in the future for our relationship, and financial freedom.  The old adage is true.  “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go with a group.”.  I believe the first best member of my business group should be Lindsey.  Of course, I can’t convince her. She has to convince herself.  I can only explain why my course of action is desirable to any other, if any growth is to occur.  Here are some arguments I’ve laid out in the past.

  • Once you understand how to do some basic accounting (I’m a one man show.  Seriously, it’s can’t get much easier) and can see what monies are going in and out, you’ll have a better understanding of why we don’t go out more.  That way you can help find ways to get that next date at the steak house!
  • You’re so good at bargain hunting when you shop.  You can help me bargain hunt for tools and supplies!
  • My appointments won’t collide with family events once you take charge of both schedules.  We can spend more time together!
  • Once we get you set up as an admin on all the social media outlets I’ve set up, the time spent of Facebook and other social media outlets will be considered marketing!
  • You like to travel,and you had a great time in Erie, PA at Roar on the Shore.  We can do that more often and have all those trips pay for themselves!
  • You look hot in biker leather!

I’m sure there are myriad other benefits to working together that will only make themselves known once the whole thing actually happens.  For example, the last dealership event I attended at Steel City Harley in Washington, PA was a rib cook-off.  It’s the biggest event of the summer around here, and Lindsey got to be one of the judges.  I’m super stoked to find out all the other ways she can profit through joining me on a regular basis.

Roar on the Shore Photos

  • First customer
    First customer
    Just a shot of some customer consultation
  • Slinging' paint
    Slinging' paint
    Working on Ray and Sue's trike fenders
  • Slinging' paint 2
    Slinging' paint 2
    Working on Ray and Sue's trike tank
  • Friendly and interesting people!
    Friendly and interesting people!
  • The Setup
    The Setup
  • Booth from the back
    Booth from the back
  • The crowd gathers
    The crowd gathers
  • Front fairing
    Front fairing
    Using the powder-lines template
  • Front fairing
    Front fairing
    Using the powder-lines template
  • Front fairing
    Front fairing
    Using the powder-lines template
  • Orange flames
    Orange flames
    Keeping the factory look
  • Orange flames
    Orange flames
    Keeping the factory look
  • Ray & Sue
    Ray & Sue
    Old English names on Trike
  • Ray & Sue
    Ray & Sue
    Old English names on Trike
  • Sliver Bagger Flames
    Sliver Bagger Flames
  • Sliver Bagger Flames
    Sliver Bagger Flames
  • Fire skull
    Fire skull
    Fiery skull on front fender
  • Mon Cheri
    Mon Cheri
    Script names on bagger lid
  • Daddy
    Daddy
    My Daddy taught me how to Ride

Did I mention that I’ve managed to get some work done since my last podcast?  It’s true.  I don’t just talk about this stuff, I actually do it.  Probably the biggest project came through Steele Auto Body in the form of a lowrider paint job that I had been itching to work on.  After visiting the shop to meet Denny and view the bike all mocked up, I was able to get an idea about how to compose these lines.  The boys at Steele Auto Body would apply the flake and hand the parts over to me.  Denny was great to deal with but I must admit, he really made me earn my reputation for digging deep to understand what the customer wants.  This was my first paint job in this lowrider style.  It was also the first time Denny had decided to go in this design direction so communication was very important.  In the end, both parties were pleased with the end product and Denny has a best in show trophy to show for it.  Because I’m usually dealing with parts only and not the whole bike, I’m left without decent images of the bike all together and shiny.  My hats off to Denny for squeezing me into his busy schedule and my daughter Zoe for taking the images of the finished product!

Keep the Faith

  • Keep the Faith before
    Keep the Faith before
    these photos allow me to understand what areas to avoid as well as accentuate when possible.
  • Keep the Faith before
    Keep the Faith before
    these photos allow me to understand what areas to avoid as well as accentuate when possible.
  • Keep the Faith before
    Keep the Faith before
    these photos allow me to understand what areas to avoid as well as accentuate when possible.
  • Keep the Faith before
    Keep the Faith before
    these photos allow me to understand what areas to avoid as well as accentuate when possible.
  • Keep the Faith before
    Keep the Faith before
    these photos allow me to understand what areas to avoid as well as accentuate when possible.
  • Keep the Faith before
    Keep the Faith before
    these photos allow me to understand what areas to avoid as well as accentuate when possible.
  • Keep the Faith after
    Keep the Faith after
    All done and together. Photos by Zoe Webster
  • Keep the Faith after
    Keep the Faith after
    All done and together. Photos by Zoe Webster
  • Keep the Faith after
    Keep the Faith after
    All done and together. Photos by Zoe Webster
  • Keep the Faith after
    Keep the Faith after
    All done and together. Photos by Zoe Webster
  • Keep the Faith after
    Keep the Faith after
    All done and together. Photos by Zoe Webster
  • Keep the Faith after
    Keep the Faith after
    All done and together. Photos by Zoe Webster
  • Keep the Faith after
    Keep the Faith after
    All done and together. Photos by Zoe Webster

Of course that one project took some time to do but it wasn’t the only one.  Once I finished with Denny’s “Keep the Faith” project, I was eager to try applying some flake of my own.  My next project afforded me the opportunity in the form of a flaked out goalie mask.  For that I employed the use of Tamco paint’s 895 inter-coat clear.  This stuff has the properties to allow heavy flake, that would normally stick up like the victim of bank robbery, to lay down like one.  In other words, it severely cuts down on sanding time between flake and graphics.
I was also invited to attend a pig roast at Three Rivers Harley in Pittsburgh, PA where I was able to imply the use of my Powder-Lines pinstriping template to impress some show goers, as well.
And then there was West Virginia.  What can I say that I haven’t said in the podcast?  One of the best pinstripe road trips I’ve had to date.  Pretty country, great customer, awesome vehicle, and one helluva trips in the form of steaks, a roast, canned goods and Amish apples.  MAN!!
A customer from years ago also called to get a helmet done.  This is one of those cats you wish you could talk to long after the project is done.  Just take a look at the symbols on this helmet in the slide show below and imagine the stories behind this distinguished military career.Video of helmet.  Last but not least is a great repeat customer who’s stock in trade is custom firearms.  Of course I’ve painted a few of my own and for others but there’s just something way beyond badass about the grim reaper.  No matter how many times I paint him,  I get a kick out each one.

Recent projects

  • At Three Rivers Harley
    At Three Rivers Harley
    Using the powder-lines template
  • At Three Rivers Harley
    At Three Rivers Harley
    Using the powder-lines template
  • At Three Rivers Harley
    At Three Rivers Harley
    Using the powder-lines template
  • At Three Rivers Harley
    At Three Rivers Harley
    Using the powder-lines template
  • Badgers Goalie Helmet
    Badgers Goalie Helmet
    Flaked, candies and striped goalie mask
  • Badgers Goalie Helmet
    Badgers Goalie Helmet
    Flaked, candies and striped goalie mask
  • Badgers Goalie Helmet
    Badgers Goalie Helmet
    Flaked, candies and striped goalie mask
  • Badgers Goalie Helmet
    Badgers Goalie Helmet
    Flaked, candies and striped goalie mask
  • '32 Ford Hot Rod
    '32 Ford Hot Rod
    Tradition striped on HotRod deck lid
  • '32 Ford Hot Rod
    '32 Ford Hot Rod
    Tradition striped on HotRod Radiator cowl
  • Special Forces Helmet
    Special Forces Helmet
    Airborne!
  • Special Forces Helmet
    Special Forces Helmet
    USAF Combat Control
  • Special Forces Helmet
    Special Forces Helmet
    Designated to take back the USA!!
  • Black Reaper Stock
    Black Reaper Stock
    Custom painted gun stock
  • Black Reaper Stock
    Black Reaper Stock
    custom painted gun stock

So that’s it for me until next time.  Keep Slingin’ that Paint!!

 

ep006 The profit in saying “No”



It’s been too long, almost six months since my last blog entry. Work and family obligations tend to make one hang up the “want-to’s” in favor of the “have-to’s”. I finally have an installment that I’m pleased with. My daughter was a big help with this one, proving what I long suspected, that I am better working with a living, breathing human in the room instead of just myself.

We get into an overview of mentionable projects and happenings since December, and a small review of the Sharpenair airbrush needle sharpener. We also touch on a few Tamco products, including the new Tamco Intensity colors! We revisit a long overdue weekend with the guys from Pinheads and then it’s onto the main topic.

Other friends mentioned:
Steve “Wizard” Chaszeyka

Steele Kustoms

Check out this episode!

  • Pirate and Dutchman
    Pirate and Dutchman
  • Vampirella
    Vampirella
  • Good and Evil Skull Hood finished
  • Boat paint fix
  • Pennywise
  • Shattered
  • Blue Fire Over Pittsburgh
  • Blue skulls and fire
  • Hot Rod Memorial
  • Purple Fire
  • Purple Fire
  • Purple Fire
  • Styx PPG award
  • Styx Charon
  • PPG Platinum Distributor
  • PPG Platinum Distributor
    PPG Platinum Distributor
  • Green Rice Rocket
  • Green Rice Rocket
  • Green Rice Rocket
  • Walther Dragon
  • Walther Dragon

Tiger tank fix

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trike rear door silhouette solution.

ep005 Year end spending, Electro~pounce, Football helmets, and eBay tins.



Click to Download
This episode has been forced into a few directions.  With Thanksgiving, schedule changes at work, and the end of the tax year, the last few weeks has left me with little time to think about what to concentrate on vis-a-vis the subject of this podcast episode.

Working evenings has resulted in my being the most eligible member of the family to go food shopping for Thanksgiving, and I’m happy to report not only did I find everything, I found and corrected the errors on the list (not mine).  The turkey came out perfect, the Steelers won,the entire family finally made it to church (I guess prayer works), and I managed to knock out a small project, and prep another two with the extra time off.  The christmas shopping is inches away from done and with the majority of it on eBay, I have 6 months same as cash to pay it off.

Spending all this money on turkey, trimmings, and Christmas has put me in the state of mind I wasn’t in last year.  Last year I got a bit of a wake up call when my accountant told me I owed taxes.  After running my one man  lemonade stand for years, a few bigger jobs along with my regular paycheck had me writing checks to the IRS and state rather than endorsing a fat one.  Nothing puts you in the mindset of pinching pennies more than paying money to a govt. you already disagree with more often than not.  This year I delved into the realm of “year end spending”.  This is not normal for me.  I don’t hoard per se but I did enjoy seeing my business bank account get fatter than usual.  I’m more of an ant than a grasshopper but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) I started to see how taxes effect small business in a way that actually promotes growth.  The basics as I see them are this:
• Whatever money you have left over at he end of the tax year is profit and subject to tax.
• Any money you disburse to yourself or pay others, is also taxable.
• Any business money you spend on equipment/supplies are expenses.  This figure is subtracted (deducted) from your profit and therefore not subject to tax.

So, If your going to spend business money, why spend it on government?  After all, they’re the single most ineffective over blown entity on the planet.  I’d rather spend my money on what I love to do.  The internet is piled high with articles on the subject.  Here is just one of them.

One last thing about keeping your money.  If you use an area of your home to do business, you might want to check this out…Safe Harbor Home Office Deduction


8aa5241b440341761896f6b70d65c6fb This electro-pounce was purchase number one.  I’d been looking for a used one on a few different forums as well as craigslist.  I had even considered conning my electrician cousin-in-law to help me rig one up.  I’d heard you could use an old microwave capacitor or something like that.
For those unfamiliar with “pouncing”, or pounce wheels, it’s a method of transferring designs on to a surface like a tracing pattern.  Traditionally, a pounce wheel is used by  running a spiked wheel over your drawing creating holes in your paper.  img_6904These can be awkward and cumbersome as they don’t roll very well unless it’s in a straight line or long sweeping curves.  Plus, the resulting holes are made up of doors like a tiny advent calendar.  Eventually these holes will close or “heal” resulting in inconsistencies.  With an electro-pounce, electric current burns a hole through the paper resulting in cleaner, smaller holes that never heal.  Because there is no pressing to make sure the small wheel effectively punches through the paper, the stylus glides along so you can achieve much greater detail.  Notice the images below and the super tight curves you can get with the electro~pounce.

Top - Pounce wheel
Top – Pounce wheel.  Bottom – Electro~pounce at 40 volts and 90 volts.
img_6906
Lines are finer, but cleaner and still very visible to the artist.

The unit itself is about $700 new, and you still have to spend money and time to attach a ground wire system and sheet of steel.  My alligator clip, wire and metal sheet cost $50.00.  Having said that, one good lettering job and it’s more than paid for.  To try it out for the first time, I composed names and numbers in Adobe Illustrator and printed them on letter sized (8.5″ x 11″) paper.

img_6896

img_6897 img_6899

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are for an awards banquet. I figured this would be a nice reason to bust out the electro-pounce for the first time.
Anyway, as I said there was other year end purchasing to be done.  I won’t go into detail about the iPad other than I’m afraid I’ll never get to use it’s full potential unless I really force myself to learn/use the procreate drawing software.  I should have seen that coming though, so busy I don’t have time to learn anything new.


BATS!?!


Now before I confuse anyone, this is NOT a year end business purchase.  I will be asking my accountant if there is any way to wrote off this expense.
I had bats in my attic.  I did not want bats in my attic.  It cost me over a grand to remove bats from my attic.  For the longest time I though I had one mouse or maybe two mice but as my critic thinking skills took hold I had to ask, 1. What would drive a mouse to climb into my attic? 2. Since when do mice poop in the same place?  It only took a few google image searches to tip it in the net that I had mice… with wings.  I also found out that it is illegal to kill bats.  They’re a protected species.  Seems like the only unprotected species anymore is feral pigs, coyotes, and people.  Anyway I had cleaned everything out a few months previous thinking any critters still up there got scared off or the new peanut butter glue traps would get ’em.  No such luck, and more bat dropping began showing up in the same place as before.  By the time I had the funds to do anything about it, they existed in the business account.  So the question for my accountant will sound like this?  What constitutes a square footage deduction on home office space if all I’m doing is storing an old OS9 mac, and some old portfolios?


’03 Softail standard parts
   This is more of a COGS (cost of goods sold) item.  About a month ago I was asked to fix a scratch on the rear fender of a 2003 fxst.  One of those repairs that, if it’s going to look right, needs to be removed, repainted, and re-installed. This guy didn’t want to lose any riding time so I said I would look for one, see how cheap I could find it, make it right, and then it would just be a matter of swapping parts.  That way I could take his old one, fix it and re-sell it. Great idea and I found a swanky deal.  $50.00 for an already black rear fender same year with no dents.  There was some wear from having been on the bike and a scratches but for this money it was a steal.  It even has the rear lights and cables to!  So I fix it up and go to look for the guys number.  I have a habit of putting temporary info into the notes on my phone.  Sometimes I’ll back out of the app too soon and lose the note

This was one of those times.  No problem, I thought.  I’ll just go back to the shop where we met (I was doing some striping there at the time) and get his info from those guys.  No such luck.  I was stuck with it.  So what?  All I had to do was to find the front fender and tank that went with what I had, paint them, and sell them.  I found the anniversary tank with badges removed for $199.00 on eBay.  It’s super clean inside with only some heavy scratches and a slight ding in two places on the right side.  I actually didn’t notice them until I was finished sanding off that silver and gold tape.  J&P Cycles had a wide mount skinny front fender for $44.00.  So for $293.00 I got sheet metal that, by the time I’m done, should go for at least 10 times that much.  We’ll see.  img_6885

 

 

 

 


img_6903…and this…  I love these things.  An artist reference skull with a few vertebrae thrown in.

 

 

 

 


Paints and brushes.


I grabbed some Axalta Hot Hues pinstriping colors from Paul Quinn at www.cappenterprises.net as well as his instructional video on painting realistic chrome effects.  A set of VonDago sword brushes and Wizard typhoon, vortex and black widow brushes.  I have no reason to claim boredom now.