Wooden Air Filter Cover for Motorcycle

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Project by qball posted 01-12-2012 09:38 PM 2880 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was asked by a buddy that saw some of my work if I could make an air filter cover out of wood to replace the stock chrome cover on his bike now. I jumped at the idea even though this is something that is nowhere near anything I have tried before.

I received the cover along with the air filter cover a few days later and began looking over it and quickly learned that this want going to be as easy as I hoped. The back side had 2 different sets of grooves that held the air filter in. Well I sat on it a few days thinking about how I was going to make this happen. It came to me to trace the inside groove along with the bolt holes and then create a template from this to start with. This template would allow me to use a flush trim bit set at 1/8” to create the inside groove. No problem here. So I grabbed a piece of old poplar with some nice character and went to work on the prototype. (Pic 2 & 3) I used 3/16” dowel in the bolt hole locations to keep the template in place on the work piece.

I then had to come up with a way to create the outside groove. After a lot of math I found that a ½” straight bit with a 5/8” could create this groove if I could offset the original template 1/8”. I came up with a simple solution to create this offset template, a 5 cent flat washer. I found a washer at the corner store that had a 1/8” difference between the inside and outside diameter and used it to trace the original template and then rough cut and sanded template 2 down to the 1/8” offset line. Then I attached it to the work piece and routed the ½” wide 3/16” deep groove. Again I used 3/16” dowel in the bolt hole locations to keep the template in same place for tracing the template & routing the work piece. (Pic 4 & 5)

Now for the home stretch I attached the original cover to the work piece with the original mounting screws and traced the final shape of the piece. I then rough cut and sanded the work piece to the final shape and added a 45 degree chamfer to match the original. (Pic 6)

After it was all said and done the air filter fit was a little tighter that I would have liked it to have been so I decided to make another prototype free of charge just to get the fit perfect. (mostly personal satisfaction) I originally used a pencil to tract the washer mentioned above to get the offset. I decided to use a marker this time to get a little bit more of an offset. I then sanded down to the outside of the markers line to get my new template. I went through the hole process again with a piece of western cedar that I added a strip of redheart to give liven up the piece and ended up with my second prototype. The fit on the second one is as close as you can get to perfect.

I hope that the client doesn’t decide to just keep one of these on his bike. He was originally wanting to make it from something more dense so now that I have the templates dialed in I’m ready to knock out more. Anyone have any recommendations for a durable material & finish for this piece? Something that can hold up to heat as well as rain.

6 comments so far

View qball's profile


49 posts in 4208 days

#1 posted 01-12-2012 09:41 PM

This is the piece of western cedar with the redheart strip that I made the second prototype from. I don’t have any other photos of the this one. I am hoping to get some photos of it on the bike posted once I get them from my buddy.

View peterrum's profile


153 posts in 3760 days

#2 posted 01-12-2012 10:08 PM

Excellent and nice posting on your process. You might want to try some Spar varnish for a finish but I am not sure how that would stand up to the heat. I will bet that someone else here will know.

-- Carpe Diem

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4658 days

#3 posted 01-13-2012 01:50 AM

Very cool cover and a interesting step by step process.


View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 4085 days

#4 posted 01-13-2012 02:40 AM

And a wonderful job you did

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 3412 days

#5 posted 09-17-2013 05:20 PM

I’d love to see it on the bike. My friend and I have been discussing different ideas for wood accents on his bike too.

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View qball's profile


49 posts in 4208 days

#6 posted 09-18-2013 11:47 AM


Here are a couple of photos of the cover on the bike. Good luck with your projects! Posts a link or some pics back once done. I would like to see what you come up with.

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