Wooden Boardtracker Gas Tank

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by skrew37, May 9, 2011.

  1. skrew37

    skrew37 Member

    I've searched everywhere and have come to the conclusion that if you want a cool, non-stock gas tank, you have few options:

    1. Use a Moped tank.
    While this is an option I would've liked to pursue, I just can't justify spending the money that's being asked for these. As a general rule, I don't like to spend more than what the cheap china engines cost.

    2. Retrofit a Motorcycle tank.
    These look and are huge, and as I perceive it, make the bike MORE top heavy than the little "blister" on the top tube that is the stock tank. Not for me.

    3. Build your own tank.
    I've seen a lot of fantastic builds on here, unfortunately I don't weld, so that is out of the question. I thought of maybe finding a gas-safe container and modding in a way that would lower the bikes center of gravity and flow with the lines of the bike. I've found many candidate containers, but, well, they're ugly. I've worked with wood in the past and decided that that's the only way, for me, to go.
    I use a 3D modeling program as my job requires daily and in some down time, modeled my bike and some different tanks to try. I came up with a simplified pattern that not only is perfect for sheet metal, but also for a wooden tank application. I plan to use 1/8" plywood and make 2 tanks (left and right halves) to straddle the top tube kinda like saddle bags, but ultimately emulate the look of a vintage boardtracker. While I've read it is plausible to seal these, I'm going to use a container inside the "wooden boxes" as this is safer in the event of a crash.
    I've included pics of my design; I constructed a 1:2 scale model that might just work for me. Any questions/comments/criticisms are welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for reading!

    Attached Files:

  2. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Member

    Boat builders use wood / epoxy / fiberglass all the time for fuel tanks, so it's entirely do-able. If you want more specific info on how they do it, google "WEST epoxy fuel tanks" and you'll find several great references on the topic.

    I had thought about encasing a metal (possibly tomato juice cans?) or plastic tank in wood but am still looking for better ideas.
  3. skrew37

    skrew37 Member

    Thanks. I also found this: http://www.caswellplating.com/aids/epoxygas.htm -I wonder if this will work too? I'm thinking it might actually be easier to seal a wooden tank than try to fit a container in there and route the fuel lines...
  4. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Member

    If done properly, I don't see why an epoxy saturated wooden tank wouldn't work fine. Like I said, we did it in the boat industry all the time.
  5. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    and I bet that it would be strong enough to hold up to a MB speed crash (especially if it's saturated with epoxy.)

    if you are still concerned with the wood not being strong enough, you could use fuel bladders inside the wooden tanks
  6. skrew37

    skrew37 Member

    i think i will go with the epoxy approach. you guys are right, when absorbed into the wood, i see no reason why it would be as strong at least as plastic. i'll give it a shot. while i'm waiting for supplies, i think i'll do a couple of things like large filipino's clutch mod (if he doesn't mind) and i'm working on some kind of feasible chain tugs for my rear dropouts.
  7. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    wood with epoxy (or fiberglass mat) laminated over it is VERY strong.

    your other option for a gas tank is to use one from a jesse james chopper bike. (but it may be too modern looking for what you are wanting to do.)
    you can pick them up fairly cheap on e-bay(I paid $10.00 for mine), but they need a lot of work to get them sealed up and looking good.
    I've done 2 of them so far and they look awesome. They need some work done on the front to get rid of a big ugly weld that holds the top and bottom of the tank together.
    you also need to weld, braze or silver solder all of the holes, and gaps closed and then pressure test it with water and compressed air. then you have to make a gas filler hole and a gas cap, along with 2 fuel outlet lines. then, you have to figure out a mount that's hidden to make it look clean.
    then there's the paint job after you get all the work done.
    I have about a 2 weeks worth of work in this tank and it is fully functional.
    here's what i started with.

    I stripped all of the original black paint off and then I silver soldered all of the holes and gaps closed. I drilled 2 holes and silver soldered in gas outlet tubes made of copper tubing.

    I ground down the ugly weld on the front of the tank, filled and smoothed the front of the tank with bondo. I also filled a couple of tiny dents that were in the tank.

    I cut a hole in the top for a gas filler.

    I made a push in gas cap out of a chrome push in valve cover oil fill cap. It has a rubber plug on the back, and the plug pushes into the hole that I cut. It's a good, tight seal. I also drilled a vent hole in the top of the cap and covered it up with a hollow backed pewter skull

    here it is next to a 66 triumph gas tank for size comparison.

    I primered and painted the tank with metallic black laquer and clear coated it. Wet sanded it and buffed it out by hand.

    here's what it looks like on the bike. I made a hidden mount under the tank.

    Here's the second tank that I did. I did everything the same as I did on the first tank, but this one isn't functional. I didn't have to silver solder all the holes to seal it up. I did add the same kind of gas cap tho, just to give it more of a real gas tank look.
    I painted this one metallic orange laquer with clear coat, wet sanded and buffed by hand.

    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  8. skrew37

    skrew37 Member

    I've seen this (your work) before. Very, very nice! I think at the time, I couldn't find any tanks on Ebay for sale and forgot about it. I've only seen these converted and put on chopper bikes though. Are there any pictures anywhere of one of these tanks on a beach cruiser so I can get an idea of what it would look like and how it would fit on my bike? And you said you only used silver solder? That could be an option too as I'm more set up to do that than weld...
  9. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    if you are looking to just explore tank ideas, this is the tank that I have: Whizzer Fat Tank. Holds 1.8 gallons. Pictures in my profile. The channel is deep enough that the tank more straddles the top bar instead of just perching on top like the stock peanut tanks do.

    It's also not too wide that you can't pedal comfortably, which was one of my requirements.
  10. skrew37

    skrew37 Member

    that looks good. it looks like we have similar bikes too.
  11. Wheres my dog

    Wheres my dog New Member

    Very nice work on the wooden tanks!

    Add a fuel bladder and all is set!
  12. skrew37

    skrew37 Member

    thanks. where can i find fuel bladders? i calculated volume then converted it and found that each tank half will hold over a gallon and a half (total about 3.2 gallons.) that might be a little heavy, just under 20lbs when full...i understand i don't have to fill them, but i don't want the fuel sloshing around...so yeah, where do i find these fuel bladders of which you speak?
  13. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Member

    I've seen (and used) fuel bladders on new boat construction or upgrades. Never seen one that small. West Marine sells them, but again, I'm not sure you'll be able to find one that small.
  14. skrew37

    skrew37 Member

    Yeah I was sorta thinking that...
  15. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Member

    Another idea I had was to make a tank from tin and then solder it, but the price for sheet tin is -very- expensive. What might work is to find some tin cans and solder them together for your liner and then make a nice wood + epoxy outside for it.
  16. skrew37

    skrew37 Member

    this is turning in to the most extravagant project yet. i love it
  17. usnavyret

    usnavyret New Member

    hello to all. well i went and built a v-8 can gas tank for the old bike. my sodering was not the best.... well i went over the fitting with jb weld to make them gas proof. so my quistion is will jb weld hold up to the job? thank you for any help.
  18. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    well, while JB Weld is gasoline/oil proof, some on this site will say that it's not very strong. The oil pan of my car had to be patched (long story) and it was done with JB Weld, and it held up until I hit a very frozen piece of concrete (it was -4 F as well...)