Monthly Archives: January 2018
The Hand-Built Hot Rod
Gleaming chrome. Beautiful custom paint. Tufted leather upholstery. If that’s your idea of a hot rod, stand back and make way for the true, original, hand-built hot rod.
It’s called a rat rod and it harkens back to the early days of hot rodding in the 40s, 50s and 60s when enthusiast had more skill than money and built their creations by themselves…by hand.
Back in those days, hot rodders would find a Model T or a Model A, strip off everything they could-fenders, running boards, roof, bumpers- and drop a more powerful engine. It was often a Ford Flathead V8.They’d do all the work themselves. It was about having fun, not about who spent the most money. It was about getting your hands greasy. It was about building something unique.
The rat rod movement today is dedicated to bringing back that hand-built heritage.
In a rat rod, the parts are mismatched, cribbed from a variety of vehicles. The body proudly displays its rust and battle scars. Maltese crosses and skulls sit atop gearshifts in homage to biker and rockabilly cultures. The seats are often bare metal. There’s no carpeting and certainly no luxury-car amenities like air conditioning. An old style beam axle is out front, with leaf springs all around instead of modern coils.
To the uninitiated, a rat rod looks unfinished. That’s because it is. It’s a work in progress, an expression of the owners’ ever-changing vision. It is continuously altered, revised and rebuilt. For a rat rodder, nothing tops having a wrench in your hand.
Think about that the next time you’re on the job, and you’ll realize again why hand safety is so important. You should remind yourself every day to:
*Use gloves when the job calls for it, and choose the proper ones.
*Watch out for pinch points.
*Protect your hands from chemicals and burns.
*Beware of sharp objects like banding, saw blades and edges.
It can be easy to overlook hand safety when you’re on the job and trying to get a project finished. Especially if there is a deadline to meet. But if you allow yourself even a moment of inattention, you’re vulnerable to a potential injury. Why take the chance? It’s just not worth risking damage to your hands. They’re essential tools. Just ask any rat rodder with a hand-built creation and a workbench full of wrenches.
YOUR HANDS THE TOOLS YOU NEED FOR EVERY JOB!
*COPYRIGHT 2012 Harkins Safety (B279)
The name Bob Chandler might not mean anything to you, but you probably know his creation. It’s the meanest 4×4 truck anywhere. It’s the show-stopping monster truck Bigfoot.
It all began in the mid 1970’s. Bob Chandler, a construction contractor, used his Ford pick-up truck on the job and for recreation. But when parts broke due to hard use, he often couldn’t find sturdier replacements. That led him to open Midwest Four Wheel Drive & Performance Center.
Partly to promote his new business, Chandler set out to make his truck bigger and stronger, with huge tires and a sky high suspension lift. In 1979, the truck with its jaw-dropping rear-wheel steering, appeared at a Denver car show, its first paid event. Truck pulls in arenas and stadiums soon followed, where Bigfoot was often the star of the show.
At a truck pull in 1981, Chandler tried something just for fun. He drove his beefed up 4×4 over two junk cars. The crowd went wild. He later duplicated the stunt at a stadium show, and in 1983 he began a sponsorship with Ford Motor Company. The legend of Bigfoot was born.
Through the 80s and 90s, Bigfoot got bigger, with massive 66” tires and a 572 cubic inch engine that pumps out 1,500 horsepower and 1,300 foot/pounds of torque. In truck pulls across the country, Bigfoot is always the crowd favorite, especially with Chandler behind the wheel.
Just like the driver of a monster truck, when you’re behind the wheel or at the controls of a forklift, crane, tractor or other mobile equipment. Remember that safety depends on you. Always carry loads properly. Operate the equipment at a safe speed. Keep your view unobstructed. Most important, stay alert for pedestrians—they have the right of way. When you operate mobile equipment, safety is your responsibility, a rule that Chandler follows himself.
Whether he’s racing or doing stunts, Chandler drives to win, but he always considers safety. In 1987, he founded the Monster Truck Racing Association, created solely to promote safety in the monster truck industry. He knows what’s at stake. That’s why he always thinks safety behind the wheel. You should too.
Forklifts and other mobile equipment are great labor saving devices, but with benefits come risks. Minimize and eliminate risk by knowing the rules, by sticking to your safety plan every time you operate equipment and by making safety a driving force every day.
CAUTION: MOBILE EQUIPMENT
OPERATORS TAKE CARE PEDESTRIANS STAY AWARE
*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety (B235)