Living Legends Part I

There are people who do lots of ordinary things, but have an extraordinary itch to scratch or a special question that begs an answer.  They live in the present, and usually provide for the daily demands with an 8-5.  The dream, though, is fueled by passion, a respect for craftsmanship, and maybe a dose of love for history.  These are people who have inspired me.

The payment for following a dream, is partly satisfaction from the eventual product, but the process is so long that it must offer its own reward.  Sometimes, this comes from a new design idea or a solution to an unforeseen problem.  In other cases, it is just the camaraderie with others of like mind, who also bit off a bigger bite than they could chew.

Straight out our back door, to the path through the woods, around the pond, past the Hillbilly Shack, behind the house, and next to the chicken coop, is a big garage that has lots of machines, toys and a Man Cave.  That is where Doug Martin is rebuilding a ’49 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup into a street rod.  That huge rear tire beside him, will help show the purpose of this modified vehicle.


When it is all said and done, it’s going to be powered by a 12 valve Cummins Diesel, with twin turbos producing 75 pounds of boost, making 11-1200 ft. pounds of torque at around 750 horsepower, and throwing a big column of smoke.  Big truck for a big man.


The power is transferred to the back tires through a Ford 9″ rear end, and a seriously customized frame.  The floor and fire wall had to be rebuilt to accommodate the front end changes, and the top was chopped around 6″ to create a “Cool” attitude.


Right now it is in the dirty stage, cutting and welding.  After all of the assembly is complete, it will be totally taken apart to paint and polish, with a hope of getting street ready within a year.  As I inspected the truck the other day, I did inquire where the hitch ball would be placed, for pulling my boat.


On the boat side of the neighborhood, the next step here is attaching the veneer to the top.  I first added the mahogany outer frame pieces in progress below.


Next, I began filling in the center triangle with pieces of curly maple band sawn  3/16″ thick.


Finally, the stern extensions were covered with 1/4″ figured mahogany.  All of these boards came from a Swartzendruber Hardwood Creations garage sale a few years ago, and were just waiting for the right project.  Even though the mahogany boards came from different trees, when all of one surface matches, it is well with the world.


” The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is worth nothing without the work.”
Emile Zola

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