Bottrop Custom Culture

The Kustom Kulture Show in Bottrop is not only famous for the Hot Rods and Kustom Cars, it´s famous because of the really large group of Kustom Kulture artists! Kustom Kulture Artists from all over the world come to the Bottrop Kustom Kulture Show, to show their work, to do pinstripes and paintings! This is your chance to see some of the best Kustom Kulture artists from Japan, USA and whole Europe!


Interior Insights: Learning Trim Basics From Experienced Craftspeople

Here at greaseralley are good friend Ace Eckleberry  the owner of ACE Custom Upholstery & Rod Shop in Fairfield, Illinois.  Will discuss technical processes, procedures and sales techniques. For more information on Ace, visit his website, .
Posted By Ace Eckleberry

Upholstery is a dying art with few people willing to put in the time and effort necessary to properly learn the trade. Schools teach the basic skill set, just enough for young people to get their foot in the door. With youth often comes an overabundance of confidence and I’ve seen countless young people with drive and determination get swallowed by the lure of starting their own business.

I strongly urge those with high business drive to start their own business, but to first find a successful mentor and listen to them. Nothing can come close to hands-on real-world experience under a master tradesman. If you want to be successful, you’ll want your career to start with the proper knowledge and skill set.

The correct equipment and materials are also essential to the trade. Your first step to success is choosing the correct sewing machine. My daily machine of choice is the Consew 20RB-5. You must use a similar machine that has compound feed walking foot and I highly suggest a reverse to have a lock stitch capability. I’ve found Seiko to be a carbon copy of Consew.

I recommend using a No. 69 or No. 92 UV-stable thread that’s specifically made for auto/marine applications. If your thread doesn’t have UV stabilization, it won’t last a year with sun exposure.

Selecting the correct materials is another essential component to finding success in this industry. Most reputable material distributors will help steer you in the right direction in what materials to carry in your shop or for general automotive use.

A good rule of thumb in choosing the correct types of materials is that if it’s available at your local super center store, then it isn’t suitable to use in our industry.

Ace Eckleberry presented a live cut-and-sew demo at the 2011 HRR Trade Show using Enduratex products.

Research your foam. Foam is a broad market with many applications. In auto upholstery there are two primary types of foams used, roll and sheet. Roll foams are generally ¼- and ½- inch-thick and used for quilting and sewing.

The foam used for seat decks is a critical choice. Almost any 1⁄2-inch quilting foam will work initially in making an attractive seat.

The wrong choice will cause premature failure, wear and aesthetic defects. Foam that’s too soft won’t fill the needed space; foam that’s too firm generally won’t have proper rebound life and will flatten out. Using a foam with no backing will allow the thread to work through and will not look right.

Street rod-style interiors use closed-cell foam. Closed-cell foams have very low rebound count and the uses for them are limited. They’re the base of most sculpting techniques.

Sheet foams are available in almost any size. Upholstery generally needs 1–3 inches in thickness. I suggest keeping a wide variety of foams on-hand to achieve professional results in your work.

Adhesives play a major role in upholstery. I recommend DAP Products’ Weldwood Landau Top & Trim High Heat Resistant Contact Cement. It’s   a solvent-based adhesive that has to be applied to both surfaces being glued together. Ample time for the adhesive to flash is required for the glue to work properly; generally 30 seconds to 10 minutes will work.

Working in an area with warm temperatures and low humidity is ideal because the cooler it is, the longer it takes to flash. The glue can be applied by roller, brush or, most commonly, an HVLP pressure pot spray gun. Aerosol applications are available but they offer nowhere near the quality or longevity.

The solvent-based adhesive can carry health risks associated with prolonged use. Proper ventilation and solvent masks are required as immediate risks are possible and long-term effects can be fatal.

Experience is really the only way to learn to glue or sew. There’s no substitute for learning under a master. Humble yourself, respect the many years put in by the old-timers and learn from them. Learning all of the industry’s new ideas and innovations won’t matter if the proper skill set isn’t in place to be able to translate them into a real-world application.

Bristol Tatto Club

vintage tattoo postcard Al Schiefley Les Skuse

Dueling tattoo legends & bosom buddies– Al Schiefley (left) & Les Skuse (right)
Yep.  On a tattoo kick again.  Check out these sick pics and you’ll know why.  This ain’t no Miami Ink — this is Olde School, Hard-Ass Tats.
The legendary tattooist, and founder of the Sandusky Tattoo Club, Al Schiefley lived and worked out of Sandusky, Ohio where he opened his famous Pearl Street shop that dutifully operated for over a quarter of a century.  The photo above was taken back in mid 1950s during Al’s travels abroad, and shows him seemingly double-teaming a well-inked young lady (with a strange sense of humor) alongside his host and fellow tattoo master — Les Skuse, President of the famed Bristol Tattoo Club.  While in Bristol, Al had the honor of being tattooed by Skuse, as well as the respected London tattooist, Rich Mingins.
Les Skuse tattoo parlor
The Skuse family have a rich heritage in the art of tattooing — dating back well over 80 years. It all started with founder Les Skuse, who started the Bristol business back in 1928. Through his years of inking that brought him recognition in Bristol and abroad, Les Skusee was ultimately awarded the title of Champion Tattoo Artist of all England for his advancements in tattoo artistry and techniques.

Les Skuse

This 1950s pic of Les Skuse and members of the Bristol Tattoo Club shows them holding their club’s calling card. For recognition purposes, every member is secretly inked somewhere on their body with the club insignia — a black bat.
From The Skuse Family History–
Les Skuse was born, lived and died in the port town of Bristol, England. He became the town’s most famous tattoo export and was almost as well known on American shores as he was at home. He visited the United States in 1956 and corresponded with many American tattooists. He was a big admirer of the Coleman School of tattooing as practiced by Paul Rodgers, Huck Spaulding, Al Schiefley and others.
In 1956, Skuse stated in a letter: “English tattooists were using a single needle. This caused a lot of bleeding and pain. This finished design looked very thin and scratchy when compared with the strong, well-shaded designs done in the United States.”
tattoo parlor vintage postcard
The right-handed Skuse started his tattoo career in 1928 at the shop of Joseph Hartley, who was probably Bristol’s one and only tattoo artist before Skuse. Hartley was a long time tattooist/supplier in this area and was located at 2 Blackfields, near Stokes Croft, Bristol, England.
Skuse stated: “Professor Joe Hartley fixed me up with a Japanese hand tattooing outfit, and began to work on some of my friends. It was not long before I had earned the price of a six-volt combination tattoo machine.” Skuse is said to have stayed with Hartley until World War II, when he enlisted in the Royal Artillery. After five years of tattooing the troops, he got out, settled back into Bristol and opened his first shop. Les Skuse was located in at least three different storefronts in Bristol; 57 and 97 Lower Ashley Road, and 71 Mina Road.
Bristol Tattoo Club Les Skuse
Undoubtedly two of the major accomplishments that etched Les Skuse’s name into tattoo history were the formation of the British Guild of Tattooing and the Bristol Tattoo Club. These organizations were given worldwide publicity by both the British and overseas presses, and kept Skuse in the limelight during the 1950s.
Riding on this wave of popularity, Skuse was voted the Champion Tattoo Artist of All England in 1955. The next few years brought an international exchange of tattoo ideas, with Skuse visiting the U.S., and Milton Zeis and Al Schiefley visiting England.
Les Skuse died in 1973. The most fitting tribute I can find for Les Skuse died from a 1957 letter: “I have always been ready and willing to learn, never thinking I knew it all and continually searching for ways in which to improve my work and equipment. It is my firm belief that the more tattooists meet, correspond and exchange ideas, the better it will be both for the individual and the profession.”
When Les Skuse died in 1973, Les Skuse Junior (Danny) took over his shop on Mina Road. Danny worked up to 1990 when he retired from the day to day running of the studio. He did however decide to work along side his lifelong friend Ron Ackers of Portsmouth and traveled around the world working at conventions, which he is still doing today. Danny is Jimmie’s Father and Brother of Billy.
At the time when Danny took over the Mina Road shop, Les Skuse Senior’s other son Billy was tattooing in Aldershot, Hampshire, alongside his wife Rusty Skuse, who was featured in the Guinness Book Of Records for being the most tattooed woman in England. Billy is Jimmy’s Uncle and Brother of Danny.
Jimmie Skuse started tattooing over 30 years ago when he worked alongside his father Danny at the age of thirteen. Jimmie established the Temple Street shop in 2004. Prior to that he worked as a guest artist in many studios throughout the West of England. Jimmie is the Grandson of Les Skuse.
danny billy skuse al schiefley
Les Skuse Bristol Tattoo Club
les skuse tattoo parlor vintage postcard
les skuse bristol tattoo clubles skuse bristol tattoo club
Les Skuse tattoo parlor
les skuseLes Skuse

 Janet "Rusty" Skuse

The legendary Janet “Rusty” Skuse

tattoo postcard ron ackers

Another English tattoo legend – Ron Ackers

July 1st ……….On this Day

1995, DJ Wolfman Jack died of a heart attack. Was the master of ceremonies for the rock ‘n’ roll generation of the ’60s on radio, and later on television during the ’70s.









1956, Elvis Presley appeared on NBC- TV’s ‘The Steve Allen Show’ and performed ‘Hound Dog’, to a live Hound Dog. US TV critic John Crosby panned Elvis’ performance, calling him an ‘unspeakable, untalented and vulgar young entertainer.’












1962, Gene Vincent plus up and coming local group The Beatles appeared at The Cavern Club, Liverpool.


This Months Pin Up Girl (June 2011)












Model: Gina Kamradt

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