How many of you started building something ten years ago and are still ‘working on it’. You’ll finish it one day, won’t ya? When... The plight of the unfinished project

How many of you started building something ten years ago and are still ‘working on it’. You’ll finish it one day, won’t ya? When you get time. Or when the parts become available. I’ve got a few on the go. And I’ll finish them one day, honest. But in the meantime, I’ll continue using every excuse I can think of when people ask me how my unfinished project is going. And you’re welcome to use them, too. Here are a handful of the best/worst from Boothy’s Book of Excuses, Volume 44.

Parts Problems

Customs and Excise can be real buggers at times. Especially when they’ve had hold of your spark plugs for a couple of years, demanding you pay the duty on them, before they’re released. And America was the only place you could buy them from, wasn’t it? Well, you could have got them from a UK supplier, but they would have charged you double and nobody likes getting ripped off.

If that’s not going to wash, you could always say that your waiting for a bespoke something-or-other to be made, and the ‘artist’ that’s creating it for you only actually works during the hours of darkness and when the moon’s full. Because that’s artists, for you.

Generally speaking, the older a bike is, the trickier parts are to come across. So if you’re rebuilding a classic bike, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing something to struggle with. And if someone tells you to “just use aftermarket”, tell them to give their head a bang.

Time Constraints

Time is money, or so the saying goes. And they’re both as important as each other when it comes to finishing that unfinished project. But we’re all busy people. We’ve all got jobs (well some of us have), kids (again, some of us) and all those other annoying things. If you tell someone you simply haven’t got around to it, they might leave you alone. But they might not. If they keep on at you, you could tell them about an ailing relative that you’ve had to look after; that ought to get them off your case.

It won’t work if they know you well though. Or they’re family. If that’s the case, you could always tell them that you’d rather spend any free time you have with the wife and kids, rather than spend it in the shed working on a bike. It might be a complete lie, and it might make you cringe… but if it gets back to the other half, it might win you some brownie points. And a blozzer.

Cash-flow Challenges

If you spend your life throwing money at a bike, you won’t be able to put food on the table. And in the current climate, when no one really knows how safe their job is, you’ve got to be careful. Rather than finishing your project now, why not wait until the global economy is back on its feet. You never know what’s going to happen. Because money doesn’t grow on trees.

Sure, you could probably get your unfinished project over the line with a few hundred quid if you wanted to skimp and save and use the cheapest parts you can find. But why would you do that? Why would you ruin it by bolting tat to it? After all the effort you’ve put in. No, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Even if it does take an extra few years.  

Research Phase

The most important tool in your workshop is your brain, even if it’s not the most effective. But nobody is born with the knowledge of how to rebuild the perfect classic bike, so the research phase is an important a phase as any, when it comes to getting that unfinished project rolling. To learn from other people’s mistakes, you’ve got to give them chance to make them in the first place. And it would be an act of the purest folly to try and rebuild something without knowing how to do it. A real recipe for disaster.

If you don’t do your homework, you’ll probably live to regret it. And your better off taking a year or ten to figure out exactly how you’re going to do something, than getting it completely wrong. Take your time.

Where’s the rush?

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. Etcetera, etcetera. You’re entitled to take as long as you want to finish your latest project. And if anyone tells you otherwise, well they can just go and fellate themselves. It’s nothing to do with them, anyway.

No, let’s not rush anything. There are more important things in life to get stressed over than you’re BSA Bantam build. Do it when you get round to it. It’ll be fine.


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1 month ago

See, I get the opposite. It becomes my obsession until it’s complete.
Constantly scouring ebay for parts, I’ll sell other bikes and/or run up credit cards if I have too.

It needs to get finished!

1 month ago

I’m just too fucking broke.
As true now as it was 13 years ago.

Craig Fell
Craig Fell
1 month ago

Got a husaberg 400 in my garage in several pieces.. after a few attempts made on my garage lately I figure if they want it they’ll have to bring some boxes 😆

1 month ago

All of the above describes by SV superbike in the garage ! My baby, I bought new in 2001 and will never sell. 3 years ago I blew the engine @ 150K miles, 2 years it’s had the new engine in. Then I wanted to build a custom aluminium subframe, so I had to learn to TIG weld, since no off the shelf one would fit the TR750 seat unit I wanted to use. I’m still in that phase ! So much so, I’m buying another race kitted SV to use on the road while I finish that one !