Fillet brazed steel bikes, handcrafted in Oklahoma.

Archive for July, 2009

Artistic License

is evidently a bad thing to give me. Well, maybe not a bad thing, but it’s not something to tell me I have when you want something in a timely manner. Brent’s cross bike, specifically. He’s pretty much letting me go wild on it, and I’m sure he’ll be very pleased when it’s done. However, every time I get a new idea, or think I can refine an old one, it extends the process. I think this is going to be one of the issues I’m going to have to overcome.  Richard Sachs made mention of this once, saying something like a builder can always strive for perfection, but has to know when it’s good enough to let go, even though it’s not perfect. Letting go is going to be the hardest thing for me to do with a frame. Sachs also said it doesn’t matter what happens to the frame after you’re done, or whether the customer ‘gets it” as long as you’ve done the best job you can on it.

The true test of whether or not I buy into his thinking will be the first time I see one of mine for sale on Craigslist, cast away, mistreated or god forbid, in the hands of some trendy punk who’s got it all hipster fixied out complete with 10″ flat bars, and color coordinated rims.

Anyway, more on that later. Maybe.  Since I’m once again stalled on Brent’s frame waiting for material that I want to use but don’t actually have, I started on Perry’s 29er. It’s pretty straight forward, and there’s tons of things to do that aren’t subject to my artistic ADD.

IMG_8527

BB prepped and seat tube mitered, sitting in the fixture.

BTW, thank you to the people who have faith in me. To the ones who are thinking about it, the longer you wait, the better I get. Just don’t everyone wait at once;) 

One step forward…

two steps back it seems. Brian’s bike was looking good after it came back although it was the wrong color. They were cool about redoing it, so he built it up for a ride or two before he sent it back. He noticed this kink in the top tube when he was packing it up to go back.

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There was also one on the down tube, although barely noticeable, it’s still no good.  Basically it had to be fixed. Brian called Spectrum to tell them it’d be a few more days, and I called Henry James cycle supply for more tubes. I went a little thicker on the new top and down tubes, plus a little larger diameter on the top tube. He brought the frame up over the weekend, and the repair began.

First he bought some badass stripper, because brazing powdercoat sucks.

15 seconds after stripper went on

15 seconds after stripper went on

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5I guess this was kinda fun, even though I didn’t want to have to do it. I think Brian’s gonna make a lamp out of the old front end.

Dang, that sucks

Dang, that sucks

So he got to torch all the cable stops and head badge off while I worked on the new front triangle.
New tubes

New tubes

mitering the down tube

mitering the down tube

prepping the head tube

prepping the head tube

cleaning up the old rear end

cleaning up the old rear end

I left as little trace of the original tubes as possible

I left as little trace of the original tubes as possible

placing the tubes in the jig to check for fit

placing the tubes in the jig to check for fit

tacking the tubes into place

tacking the tubes into place

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smoke from inside the tube :)

smoke from inside the tube 🙂

ready to go?

ready to go?

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Now this is where it all went wrong. It seems there is an oppotunity to get the head tube arm twisted when I set my jig up.  On this one, Murphy took advantage of said opportunity just like the first time I built this frame. I thought I had it worked out though, I tacked it and took it to get it aligned. That’s Rich, and his alignment table which he so graciously lets me align my frames on.  On the first try for this frame, I brazed it all up and then aligned it. The head tube was all out of plane, and it took tons of muscle to get it straight. I was even lifting poor Rich off the ground as he helped me twist the head tube into place. This time, he helped me pop a few of the tacks. So back to my house we were, and I cleaned the tack off the tubes to give it another go. We got my jig problem sorted though, and now the thing tacked up within .015″. I’m cool with that, so I brazed it. It’s cooling off and I’ll post a few pics later.

The newest thing to be excited about

OK, so some friends and I are going to beautiful Durango in September for Single Speed Worlds. There also happens to be a handmade bike show at SSWC09 put on by Norse Cycles, a local Durango custom builder. Yours truly has snagged a spot, and Brian’s frame will be on display alongside the likes of Norse, Inglis/Retrotec and none other than Black Cat bicycles, supplier of those badass swinger dropouts I used on my last two 29ers. (and the next one)

The show is starting to get some press, too. I saw a thing about it on the DrunkCyclist blog. OMG, people from all over are gonna see my work 😮 At least I don’t have the added pressure of not having built the bike yet, giving me innumerable opportunities to second guess myself and redo stuff until I have to rush something to get it done. Check it out, and while you’re there check out Norse as well. The guy does some slick work.

http://www.norsecycles.com/news


Brian’s frame back from Spectrum

IMG_7417I have to say, I dig it. I love the darts and the masked off seat tube sleeve. I love the little touches like the grey on the seat tube bottle bosses and the rings around the outside of the bb shell. They even trimmed the brazed on stainless chainstay protector in grey.  I hate that the low spots on the head tube fillets show up though:( I didn’t realize how much the paint would accentuate those spots until it was too late for this frame and my cross bike. That shit won’t happen again, if I have to buy a can of primer and check it myself before I’m done.

That wouldn’t be my first choice for base color, but evidently it wasn’t Brian’s choice either. Brian isn’t too happy, he wanted an “industrial browny bronze” but got pastel yellow instead. They did hit the XTR Grey nail pretty squarely on the head, though.

Currently, he’s got an email in to Spectrum asking them for a redo. They were pretty easy to work with when he was discussing colors and artwork and all that stuff, now that they have his $425 we’ll see how their customer service is.   (Note to self, always specify color codes when having a frame painted)


Okie steel

edoz steelThanks to my buddy Adam for whipping this up for me. I’m a big Judas Priest fan, so I love this logo.


CIMG0019Every once in a while I ride, too. Believe it or not.


CIMG0026CIMG0028CIMG0029Tiny saw blade and little bitty files. It’s a good thing those saw blades come in packs of 10 for a few bucks, because I broke 2 in about 4 minutes cutting those crown points.