Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hillbilly Chrome

Ducktape bumper 01 - copyright 2010 Jeffery Blackwell

That’s what Gary called the ubiquitous silvery tape he used to reconstruct the rear bumper of his Dakota.

I have seen it labeled as both duct tape (tape for sealing ducts) and duck tape (for taping - ducks) Google shows that “duck tape” is by far the more popular term. (117,000 results to 932,000). So, as with all things in life, I will defer to Google.

(In the video production business, it’s called “gaffer’s tape” and in racing it is, of course, “racer’s tape”.)

Originally “gun tape” developed during the Second World War, the rubbery stuff was often used to make temporary repairs to Jeeps, and so Gary’s truck follows in that line.

Gary with ducktape bumper - copyright 2010 Jeffery Blackwell

It’s a 1998, and except for what’s left of the rear bumper, pretty solid. Here in the salt belt of the upper Midwest, “pretty solid” is a sympathetic way to describe the body of a vehicle that has withstood the ravages of rust without developing actual holes through the metal.

Gary applied what appears to be a good percentage of the roll of duck tape to the bumper to temporarily keep the thing from falling off. When it warms up, he intends to build a more substantial one from a couple of 4x8’s. You’ll notice that Gary, looking to avoid any safety concerns on the part of the authorities, even duck taped a small flashlight onto the duck tape bumper that shines on his license plate after dark. Of course, you have to remember to go back there and turn it on.

ducktape bumper with maglight flashlight - copyright 2010 Jeffery Blackwell

Gary, as you might expect, turns out to be an interesting guy, and a man of diverse interests and talents. He is a stone mason, a skill I have long admired, building walls, fireplaces and such from mere rocks (presumably with mortar – not duck tape.) But that business has taken a big hit since the housing bust (“When you need a plumber, you need a plumber now.”), so he has another job working for the county.

In his past Gary was a forensic photographer, gathering evidence at crime scenes, specializing in arson cases. In fact, Gary developed a method of obtaining usable fingerprints off metal that has been exposed to flame and intense heat, which incinerates the oil that is exposed with ordinary fingerprint methods.

He and I talked about cameras for a while, his old Minolta XE-7 (a classic first generation electronic film camera), the exceptionally fine grain of Ilford black-and-white film, and the days of the darkroom.

Nice guy, Gary, and very solid. I hope I run into him again after he installs the wooden bumper.

ducktape bumper close up - copyright 2010 Jeffery Blackwell

All content copyright 2010 Jeffery Blackwell

1 comment:

Thanks for commenting! Double clutch!!