It’s been a minute since we last checked in with Brick House Builds, but the end of the year is typically regarded as the season for giving, right? What better gift can you give or receive than the gift of knowledge, we ask? Now’s the time to cozy up with your notepad—or some headphones and your full attention, at least—and think about your own next moto project.
Here, BJ of the BHB YouTube channel breaks down his process for building an under-seat electronics tray from scratch for his Yamaha XS400 café racer build—but more than that, he gives anyone watching a good idea of how to approach crafting something special for their own projects.
It’s clear from watching this video that he’s both familiar and comfortable with his process for building something like this. From taking careful measurements, to mocking things up with a piece of recycled cardboard (in this case, a discarded frozen pizza box does the trick nicely), to tracing it all out and marking the sheet metal with a center punch, it’s all a matter of approaching your goal systematically.
By breaking a seemingly large task into incremental steps, it’s easy to get further than you may have thought was possible, just by (metaphorically) putting one foot in front of the other. Obviously, every bike is different, as is what you may intend to do with the space available to you on a given bike. Some things, you may feel more comfortable having someone else do—but some things, you may want to try doing yourself, even if you've never done them before.
Two things that can be big hurdles to overcome in tackling projects like this are special skills (such as welding), and also access to tools. Skills are something you can build over time, and if you’re interested in learning, it’s worth looking into resources and opportunities around where you live so you can get knowledge and hands-on practice.
Community garages are available in some places, but unfortunately are not everywhere—which is a shame, because access to the kinds of equipment you may not necessarily use on a regular basis would come in awfully handy at times. (Think tire mounting machines, for example—but I digress.)
One other thing that BJ demonstrates really well here is that it’s not even always about having exactly the right, specialty tool in order to realize your vision. Take a look at how he hammers his new steel tray out so that it perfectly fills the space where he wants to mount his wiring control box, under where the seat will go.
From a rubber mallet, to a ball-peen hammer, to using two hammers (or rather, manipulating the wood handle of one hammer and hitting it with another hammer to get it to work exactly how he wants), sometimes it’s a matter of reconsidering what you can accomplish with the tools you already have on hand.
Sure, there’s probably some special tool that you could buy to do something. However, if you already have tools that can do the job if you just turn your head sideways and look at them a little differently, why wouldn’t you save the money and put it toward something more fun, like bike parts?