Smelting Furnace Delivered To “JerseyJon”

Last month while visiting our daughter we moseyed up the coast to visit my long time friend “Jersey Jon,” a superb restorer of almost everything and a world-renowned expert on early, early, early motorcycles and one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met.  When the television antiques guys on American Pickers need to call someone for expert vintage motorcycle advice, Jon is the guy they call.

Among the many facets of Jon’s work is replicating original antique motorcycle parts including all manner of engine and carburetor parts, beginning with hand drawn diagrams and progressing to foundry patterns and finally the metal casting and machining himself.  Naturally there was a strong connection between us, and when I decided to divest myself of the two smelting furnaces I wanted to move out of the lower shed I contacted him and he delightedly accepted the gift.  His previous, sorta home-made furnace was on its last legs and my furnace was just the ticket for his work.

After a couple hours of chit-chat and shop talk in his shop/home in a converted vintage bank building, we ventured outside to his work yard and slowly moved the 600-poud furnace from my truck bed to his industrial cart.  “It’s exactly like the one we had in high school shop class, ” he exclaimed.  Fortunately we maneuvered the beast safely down the loading ramps I brought with me, working slowly and carefully knowing that if we lost control there would likely be a broken leg or two in the aftermath.

All done, we stood and chatted another long time in the yard as he showed off his vintage 1-1/2 ton panel truck.

It was a great re-connect and I am thrilled he is only a half hour away from Li’l T.

There was a time when I had great interest in motorcycles, and in the autumn of 1980 I ordered a Suzuki crotch rocket, the hottest bike in the land at the time.  It was about 325 pounds and produced 60 horsepower from a 400 cc powerplant  with a top speed probably around 120 mph and was so popular there was a long back-order to get one.  Then at Thanksgiving I met Mrs. Barn on a blind date (I knew on our first date we would grow old together), and since she was not a bike enthusiast I never picked it up when my order arrived.  Probably a good thing given that I cannot handle a wheelbarrow without breaking my hip.