Every bike I've had pretty much started out like this. A box of stuff, missing about everything. My first bike was wrecked with broken cases. The next one was all apart, but most original H-D parts. From there on out, they were all in piles, or missing about everything 'cept the vital pieces. Above is the '54 Panhead. You sure learn a lot when you do it this way. Much more than a guy realizes . . . I could probably afford a complete bike now - but why start ?
I got a deep, dry basement. It's got neat rustic walls. I run a dehumidifier all summer so it stays dry. There's not much down there but a few folding tables where I keep some parts for future builds. I've sold all my parts (except for the K Model stuff, and a few spares). I never really had all that much for parts anyway.
That plastic bag has the Eastern Motorcycle Parts spring spacers I'll use to set up the valve springs for a set of KK cams I have collected. These are nice spacers to use, since they have a small lip on top that fits into the valve spring and helps center it on the guide, and hold it in place. I'll measure my installed spring height, then subtract my cam lift (and .070). Then I'll subtract the length of my spring at coil bind. This will leave me with the proper length to make my spacer/shim for that particular valve. I used my Valve Spring Tester to check my springs, and I'll run the 2 strongest on the exhaust valves.
These original 1948 heads had been "upgraded" to o-ring style. It wasn't a nice "upgrade" (if you get my drift?) Kinda cobbled. It took a little doin' .. . but we got the stock style plumber back in there, and used some sealer. Then we drilled holes, and manufactured our own mild steel rivets with factory style heads (after viewing photos). The rivets were press fitted, with sealer, and peened on the inside like stock. I painted the rivets with cast-iron-gray high heat.
When you crank this thing open, the motor gains revs, and likes to hold the revs, even after you back off the throttle. A leaky manifold was the culprit. I was having so much fun riding it around the track, and it's on-the-gas most of the time anyway - it didn't really bother me. But it's a good way to burn a piston, or worse, wreck. It's fixed now...but I see my Dellorto carb plastic float has a bit of gas sloshing around in it now too - so I ordered a new float. Like Marvin The Martian says, delays....delays....