All our tanks are handmade using time honoured techniques.
All separate components are hand formed from 1.5mm thick sheet aluminium, and wheeled into shape on the English wheel before being oxy-acetylene welded as were the original alloy tanks from back in the day. Then it’s back on the English wheel for many more hours of wheeling until the tank takes shape, then it’s sanded and linished and finally painstakingly polished to give a mirror finish.
Because the tanks are hand made it means that no two tanks we make are actually the same, making each and every TAB tank unique.
The 1.5mm aluminium sheet is initially handformed using the classic hammer and sandbag, with the help of some formers or “body bucks” to give us our basic shape ready for the next process.
The English wheel
The traditional English Wheel is possibly the most important tool in our arsenal. Unlike many modern-day tank-makers we use the Wheel to create complex compound curves to give our tanks their customary sleek lines and sexy shape. At this stage the individual panels are wheeled into shape and smoothed out and offered against the “body buck” or aluminium patterns we have at our disposal.
Oxy acetylene welding
The individual panels are then welded together. Unusually we choose to use the time-honoured technique of oxy-acetylene welding as opposed to the easier, more modern TiG Welding. The reasons we choose gas over electric welding are many and varied, but mainly it’s because gas welding effectively anneals the weld seam. This makes the material more malleable, allowing us to Wheel the weld seam so that grinding the weld is not necessary – making for a stronger seam. It is how Terry had been doing it since he started the business in 1972 and so we are confident that it works the best for us.
In some occasions, such as welding in fuel injection bosses, we will use a TiG weld.
More wheeling on the English wheel
After the panels are welded together they are passed over to the English Wheel once again for the final shape to be created. This is highly skilled work and can take many hours for each tank, requiring perseverance and a good eye. It’s this attention to detail that sets us apart from many other tank-makers.
Dirty work for a clean finish
We pride ourselves on our finish. The tanks are firstly linished using a DA sander with various grades of linishing paper, before undergoing numerous polishing processes on a high-speed polishing mop. This is noisy, dirty and exhausting work; however, it is vital to produce the stunning mirror finish that gives a Café Racer it’s bling!
The finished product
The tank is fully leak-tested using compressed air and held underwater in a water bath – we do this process no less than three times to ensure no pinholes or leaks. Once we are completely happy the fittings are brazed on and the tank is rinsed out with boiling water to remove any swarf. Lastly, cap is added, and the tank is ready for dispatch.
Therefore, after many hours of painstaking work, we have created a unique piece of art that will give our customers many hours of pleasure.