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Thread: The making of a 1936 Knucklehead springer front end

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default The making of a 1936 Knucklehead springer front end

    A friend of mine who is in remission from cancer has everything to a 1936 EL except the correct springer so I have assembled a bunch of junk pieces as pictured with the goal of having a restoration quality 1936 OHV springer when I am through. We've spent a couple of years looking for one with no luck.





    The main upper piece of this springer is actually newer than 1940 but no newer than 1943. It has the first version of the spring perch like 36 except the inboard grease zerks. As near as I can tell the lower legs (what is left of them) were of the straight variation so that gives me the 1941 and up indication and the first reinforcing of the spring perch occurred for sure by 1943. So it probably started life as a 1941 or early 1942 piece.



    I have been straightening and repairing springers on a limited basis for 20 years or so. Here is the upper springer piece in my springer fixture.




    The fixture is basically a 3" x 15" heavy duty channel iron which I made and attached some fixturing brackets to which hold the center line of the springer exactly 5" above the back face of the channel iron. I originally used an NOS springer leg to layout the fixture but found out that even new they were not perfect.



    Jerry
    Last edited by Jerry Wieland; 12-16-2013 at 10:42 PM.

  2. #2

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    Jerry
    A quick question about early springers. You mention that the legs are the 41 up straight version. Did earlier legs sweep forward slightly? If so, by how much. The rear leg that I have for my 1939 knuckle is brazed but it sure looks straight to me.
    Mark Masa

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    Jerry,
    I have this if you need it.
    Robbie
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  4. #4
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    Mark

    Yes The early springers are supposed to sweep forward. I can check a 1937 front that is NOS and get a measurement for you. I still am not convinced that all of them did as I have owned a few that were straight and had no obvious signs of having been straightened. I do not know the whole story on them.

    Jerry

    Quote Originally Posted by MMasa View Post
    Jerry
    A quick question about early springers. You mention that the legs are the 41 up straight version. Did earlier legs sweep forward slightly? If so, by how much. The rear leg that I have for my 1939 knuckle is brazed but it sure looks straight to me.
    Mark Masa

  5. #5
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    Robbie I appreciate the offer but I think I have everything I need.

    Jerry

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubone View Post
    Jerry,
    I have this if you need it.
    Robbie

  6. #6
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    I like your fixture Jerry. I've done a few forks as well and the fixture is a big part of getting them right. Seeing your 4th picture of the hacked off rigid fork reminded me of a cut-up fork I had years ago. We used it, and the spring fork in a barbeque pit. I've always wondered if it was an early fork, and if it's still on that property. . . Probably heat damaged metal, and no doubt a bad neighborhood.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  7. #7
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    Yes Eric the fixture works real good. It is a work-in-progress as it seems that I add something everytime I use it. The main reason I started on it is that there is go good way to freehand press a springer straight. If you are not careful in the press it will 'flip' out because of the offset on the legs. Especially if only one leg is bent or if one need more straightening than the other.

    The weak spot is that sometimes on a springer that is massively bent I have to straighten it somewhat before I put it in fixture, but I have not figured a way around that yet..

    Jerry


    Quote Originally Posted by exeric View Post
    I like your fixture Jerry. I've done a few forks as well and the fixture is a big part of getting them right. Seeing your 4th picture of the hacked off rigid fork reminded me of a cut-up fork I had years ago. We used it, and the spring fork in a barbeque pit. I've always wondered if it was an early fork, and if it's still on that property. . . Probably heat damaged metal, and no doubt a bad neighborhood.

  8. #8
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    The first thing I did was to make sure that the upper assembly was as straight as is possible. I was lucky with this one as it needed only very minor modification. I did notice that the one leg seems to want to bow out a little but I will wait until the lower part of the leg is firmly welded before I address this problem.

    I decided to use this set of lower legs mainly because they were the only set that was long enough to only have one splice per leg. The one downside of using legs from a different springer is that each leg is unique and sometimes they do not have a profile that is very close where the splice has to be. I would really love to go back in time and watch the guy doing the legs. It has to be somewhat of a lost art. I imagine a procedure real similar to the old brass lamps of the 30's.

    A real sharp eye will notice that these legs in fact are from an early 40's WL.




    I cut the upper part of the springer back until I got to good metal that had not been excessively ground. I then cut the selected legs to the correct length so that I had at least 1/16" gap for total penetration. You never can be to careful while doing this.




    Once I had the fit down I took it back apart and fabricated a gusset or reinforcing just for an added measure of strength. I used part of the leg that was above the area that I needed because it already had the correct curvature.





    Jerry
    Last edited by Jerry Wieland; 12-17-2013 at 09:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Wieland View Post
    A real sharp eye will notice that these legs in fact are from an early 40's WL. Jerry
    It appears that the brake anchor is welded making it October 1944 and later.
    Last edited by Chris Haynes; 12-17-2013 at 10:43 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Jeryy,

    I think Steve Little at Race Frame has the dimesnions on the forward sweep on the early springers. I think he might even have the drawings for them. I know I have seen it discussed on here before but contacting him might speeed up the procees for you.

    Tom (Rollo) Hardy
    AMCA #12766

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