Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i ain't been slackin': john's bike, matt's bike, cameron's bike.

got john w.'s bike back from paint today, looks sweet! the name of this color is "celery". i like it. maybe because i like celery......here's some smooooth detail shots. quite nice, almost tempted to take it to the show, but it's gonna go to it's new home in charlottesville, virginia instead. and, progress on preskit matt's bike. it might just get brazed up tomorrow if everything goes smoothly. and, i began fabbing cameron's bike, getting all the bits shiny. i love it when i get the assembly line thing going. happens every winter...... rock on, steve.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

preskit matt's bike in progress / what's up with seattube sleeves??

well, got a great start on matt's bike yesterday. i got the design drawn and, all the small parts fab'ed up and polihed and shiny, and inspected all the tubing for blemishes and measured the butting profiles and checked for bowing in the tubes. it's gonna be a 29er onespeed built around a rockshox reba. now, matt's not a small boy.......and the tubing choice reflects that. it's a custom blend {like all my bikes} but almost every tube comes from a different manufactuer to achive the ride quality i'm looking for. the headtube is cut from a chunk of 37mm O.D. true temper, then faced and chased to square the ends and insure that it sits straight in the jig. the bottom bracket and stainless steel slider dropouts are from paragon machine works. the toptube is 1.25" x .035 4130 custom bent for me by curtis inglis at retrotec. the seattube is a 1.25" heavymettle made by reynolds in england and designed and sold by kirk pacenti. the s-bend chainstays are dedacciai, from italy. i'm going to handbend the seatstays out of 5/8" x .035 4130. finally, the down tube is true temper verus heattreat 1.5" x .9/.6/.9. good stuff! sooooooo...... i said over at mtbr that i'd cover seattube sleeves. they reinforce the seattube against the bending forces exerted by the rider's weight "flagpoling" the seattube. if no sleeve is used, the distortion created by the joining methods must be reamed out, weakening it and opening the way to a possible future frame failure. i could probally get away without one, lots of builders do, but i like the extra insurance, and, i think they look cool! so, in order of pics: first, i'm coping the end of a 4' stick of cromoly to make the "fishmouth." then, i cut it to length, deburr it, and smooth the edges so they are not deathly sharp {bad}. in the picture with the ping marks i have marked the hole for the seattube slot, the top of the toptube, and the toptube vent hole. next, all fluxed up and ready to go! the flux tells you what temperature the metal is at, and facilitates the flowing of the metal into the tiny gaps in betwen the two pieces. i have also drilled the vent hole partway to let gasses escape, otherwise the heated gasses will spew the heated metal back at you as you braze {bad}. next, the flux has been soaked off in hot water and wire brushed, giving you a view of the completed silver braze. and finally, the completed seattube assembly complete with seattube sleeve, slot, venthole, waterbottle bosses, and bottombracket miter. ready to go into the jig. sweet! steve.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

last show bike in the mail!!

took yesterday off and just relaxed and did some neglected errands, as i got the last show bike {frame} out the door. this is keri's bike, and i'm taking it to show what's underneath the paint. who knows what's under alot of builder's paint? i have to say, though, i went sorta overboard on the polishing.......i got down to green scrubbie on it, which is pretty damn shiny. an actual exercise in frivility, as it's all going to get sandblasted before the powdercoat goes on. looks good for the show, though! i just hope it doesn't start rusting the moment i get it to portland, although, that has sorta a cool look to it too......i have to vent something about the show that really bugs me, and i call it the "concept car bikes." you know, like the popular mechanics cover that's a ford that flies at 185mph and runs on hair clippings and is slated for a "possible" release date of 2095. there are just some far-out rigs there that you know the builder put 1,000 hours into because he didn't have orders enough to keep busy. now, i'm not saying that you shouldn't bring a bike that isn't sold, but it should be represenative of what your typical offering is like, not some fantasy bike just built to try and score some free ink or some web space. also, i'm expecting that we'll see more $6,000 commuters {no, really, these exist} but i guess the diversity is what makes it draw all the folks that come make it such a success. it the true art department, doug hall took one of the shop's famous "little chairs" that i was ready to scrap home and brought back this.......little chair version 2.0! steel, baby! lots of it. that thing is gonna be flying through space after the world blows up! and, how about the color? he said he was gonna put blue polka-dots on it too, but i'm kinda glad he didn't. lastly, folks i'm talking to often say "boy, it must be nice to be in the desert and miss out on the cold and winter" wrong. coconino cycles sits at 7000ft and we've had our share of snow and more sub-zero F* nights then usual. it's gonna lead to an awesome summer and a badass trout season, but man, it's kinda rough on a guy with a body full of titanium and stainless steel on crutches.......have a great weekend, ya'll. i'll be back soon with pics of preskit matt's build that starts today. steve.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

last ride in sedona before the snow.

today's blog post is mostly gonna be visual content. but, can you have too many sedona pics? truly, a beautiful place. we are truly lucky to live in the world's biggest ponderosa pine forest at 7000ft, yet have this red rock splendor only 30 minutes away at 4000-4500ft. got in a quick ride in sedona yesterday before the snow moved in. woke up to about an inch of snow on the ground and more falling from the sky......i think it's gonna snow for a few more days. filing and polishing away on keri's bike, it's gonna go to the show too. almost done.... i expect john w.'s bike to be back from paint any day, too. it's gonna be green. ral-6011, to be exact, we haven't seen that color yet, but, it's hard to go wrong with green or blue. if you hated green or blue, you would probably be one pissed off person living on this planet. maybe that's what's wrong with some folks. also, a fillet pic from keri's bike, and some real-deal chili tepin that BT brought us from a roadside stand in northern new mexico. white folks hang these on their walls, but they are for COOKING!!! i hate seeing them rot. these got blended up with some tomatoes, salt, vinegar, and water into some mighty powerful salsa roja......it's gotta sit and blend for a few days, then it will be ready for some tasty toppin's. you can bet this will light you up, fix what's illin' ya and clean the pipes! might eat rust, too! steve.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

cat's outta the bag/first look at my show bikes

well. decided to snap some pics before i boxed up the bikes to go to the handmade bike show in portland, oregon. it's only a few weeks away, so i figured what's the harm! the flower bike is denise's 650B/27.5" single speed mountainbike/commuter. as well as running 650b 2.35" knobbies it will also run 700c road wheels or cross tires if you slide the pads up the paul bmx motolite brakes. it also has paul levers, a king headset, phil hubs and bb with a flip-flop in the back, white industries freewheels and cranks, thomson post and stem, a ladie's brooks b-17, hope levers and velocity rims. the paragon sliders also alow the use of a derailleur, discs, or a rohloff hub. the paint job is all powdercoat including the logos and her name. sweet. second is gillis's bike. a 29er race bike, all xtr with a fox fork, 29er crossmax wheels and select goodies......whatcha think? i'll post detail pics later. see you all in portland, steve.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

handcycle trip in the village of old creeps.

well, it's actually the village of oak creek, but saying "village of old creeps" makes me smile and is kinda appropriate......not that alot of nice folks don't live and work there, but there are alot of leather jacket wearing, silly-huge SUV driving extra-bling little dog carryin' kinda folks milling about snapping cell phone pics. actually saw alot of folks out enjoying the trails on mountainbikes too, mostly short travel dual suspention dealies going scritch-scritch-scritch or tick-tick-pop as the red gritty quartz slurry ground away all thier little pivot thingies. {why is it you see totally different bikes uptown? one speeds and sensible hardtails?} at least they are enjoying the trails instead of the giant stripmall they are spending what must be bazillions of dollars to transmutate the village into some sorta telluride in the red rocks. it's crazy the scale by which they are transforming the place! anyway, little rant aside, it was a beautiful day in the desert. the trails were surprisingly still a bit soupy in the shade, making for some slogging on the three wheeler, but it's all good. we had lots of lube and didn't have to resort to putting sunblock on my chain like the last time we were out and did all the stream crossings. it was kind of a beatdown. we were out for over five hours, and the village tends towards lots of ledges about my wheel size and shelfy pitches that really strain my joints and connective tissues like wrists and elbows. all good though! great to be out, and i really dig the expansive views in the village. got up at 6am this morning, got a big day going on getting gillis's bike all prepped, built, and packed for the show. then i gotta get denise's boxed in the next few days and file down keri's and hopefully get matt's brazed up before we leave.......full plate! rock on, steve.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ray's bike, keri's bike, and attempt to awnser lee's question.

first - a couple quick pics. ray was by this morning doing some assembly on his touring bike. looking sweet! pretty much an all 2008 deore xt build with some thomson and chris king goodies. a sensible, durable build. also, got keri's bike all brazed and soaked the flux off. looking good! gonna go biking tomorrow and start polishing it up on Saturday. i think it's gonna go to the handmade bike show as a raw frame so folks can see what's under the paint. next, preskit matt's bike is up, then frank from washington dc and cameron. {frank - get ahold of me!} sooooo...... in the last post's comments lee from reno asked about heat distortion from welding and brazing. does metal distort from these methods of joinery? you bet! how do you minimise distortion? 1: make sure everything fits really tight. gaps in your miters are a big cause of mis-alignment, and to eventual frame/joint failure. 2: always follow a "welding sequence", the series of events when tacking and brazing or welding that produces the same result - usually that of ending up with a straight frame. everyone seems to have a different one that works for them, and you follow it religiously to have repetitively reliable results. 3: knowing your joining method and having it down. a quick braze with an even pre-heat and even distribution of filler will result in less uneven pulling on the structure as the filler returns from it's molten state to it's frozen state. {see keri's frame - the brazes are all even width} 4: heat distortion that has occurred must be taken care of before you receive your frame. the bottombracket threads are chased, the shell faces are faced parallel to each other, the headtube is faced and chased, and the seat tube is polished - i don't get distortion in it due to my hand-made seat tube sleeve. 5: you notice the seemingly obsessive use of the alignment table every time something is tacked? that's to make gradual tiny adjustments to the frame to adjust to the small amounts of twist and pull imparted to the structure due to distortion so the result is a straight frame not needing a big amount of post brazing "cold setting" {a fancy way to say "bending"} anymore questions? i'm more then glad to help field frame building Q&A's to help you all understand what's going on here, and it's good brain exercise for me as well! any of you frameforum guys lurking here??? steve.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

happy-happy seatstay day!

another seatstay day is behind me.......i always start them first thing in the day, and they always seem to take most of the day. i was having a high-pain day as well, all day it felt like someone with a nice solid heel was standing on my right foot. ahhhhhhh, nerve pain. nothing like it. had severe spasms last night too, so my joints hurt and i'm tired. still, i powered through it and got through another work day. looking forward to a hot shower and some good homemade soup with my feet up. oooooohhhhhh yeah. so, my seatstays start with raw four foot lenghts of seamless aircraft 4130. i figure where the bends need to go depending on the choice of brakes, wheel diameter, and frame size. i draw a diagram of all this, cut the appropriate lengths of tubing, polish them, and brass braze the 1" of overlapping tubing together. then, they go into a bucket of hot water to dissolve the flux off to avoid glassy flux popping into you eyes during bending. {i had to have one of my eyelids lanced about four years ago to remove a piece of flux.} then, i bend them using my arbor press. {there's pics of this in my blog archives.} and miter them using my anvil seatstay fixture. then, much like the chainstays in the last post, they are slotted and spearpointed and tacked to the frame. nuthin' left as far as pre-brazing assembly except for the seatstay brace and brazing, then on to polishing and brazeons again.......any questions? steve.

Monday, January 14, 2008

gettin' it straight.

got it going on on keri's bike today, i was going to do all this yesterday, but i went out and stared at the project, and it all just didn't add up, so i went back in the house, layed on the couch, and went to sleep. i guess i've just been really gettin' on it lately, and i guess it all caught up and i needed to listen to my head/body and rest. it's been a busy month, and i've got three bikes at paint and one in the jig right now. whew. gotta get ready to go to portland, too, but denise's show bike is done, and gillis's is getting sent back from paint tomorrow, and john w.'s bike will follow it by a few days......sooooo, i tried to get a little picture show of my work on keri's bike that i did today, i hope i get the picture sequence correct and that it sorta makes sense. with frameforum down, maybe i can help a little in framebuilding tutorial...i started out this morning with the front triangle all tacked up. the frame jig only holds the tubes in the desired geometry so you can put "tacks", Little blobs of metal meant to affix everything together all tight. plus, i hand finish all my miters after the mill copes the fish mouths to the desired angle and length, and to the correct intersecting tube diameter. then, i align the triangle to damn near perfect straightness on the bringheli table. then, back to the jig it goes. now i bolt the rear dropouts into the anvil chainstay fixture. it holds everything straight while i braze in the dropouts {in this case, stainless steel paragon slider lites.} i use the fixture, a machinist square, and a sharpie to draw in the slots, then do a pretty accurate cut with a fine tooth hacksaw blade and framebuilder's eye. then, i perfect the slots with a thin warding file to a tight fit and bevel the ends with a 14" bastard file and round those off with a 10" rattail file and clean the insides with an aluminum oxide bit so the silver alloy will bond the stainless steel to the regular steel. some flux, some well trained heat, and some hot soapy water and then they go back into the fixture to be both mitered at the same time. then, i perfect the fit to the bottom bracket shell and tack the stays to the shell. once cool, the entire frame assembly goes back to the alignment table, gets all straightened out, then back to the jig. now, the chainstay brace gets handcut from a cromoly strip and brazed into place between the chainstays, and the entire alignment sequence is repeated including checking that the dropouts are square to each other and that the wheel fits into the dropouts straight and with correct clearances, and that there is sufficient clearance for the crankarms and chainrings...... and, here is the frame as she sits tonight, lookin' good! seems like alot of steps, but it's alot easier then seatstays, which i have to completely fabricate and bend from scratch - those are tomorrow! see you then, steve. EDIT: i didn't manage to get the pics in totally correct sequence, but hopefully you get my drift! steve.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

a fun ride in sedona with friends.

went for a great ride in the drycreek area in sedona yesterday with denise and friends meg and andrew from NYC. it was a beautiful day in the low 60's with just enough clouds to cast some cool shadows. did private idaho/snake trail/dawa/cockscomb/private idaho, about a 3 1/2 hour ride. did really well on the technical riding including the stream crossings. it was fun to get out in the woods with some different folks and have then see our cool neck of the woods. the trails were just the right amount of tackiness to make carving turns really fun, yet not moist enough to be seriously gloopy. i don't think i'd be very happy not living 30 miles from the desert in the winter..........oh well, gotta finish off my 10th cup of coffee, get the shop up to working temp, and get some chainstays on keri's bike. more progress shots soon, steve.