Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays!

Hope your Christmas, Hanukkah, Quanza, Festivus, or whatever you are celebrating this year is a good one. Safe travels, good times, and make it through in one piece.

More building updates soon...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Report V: A day of gettin it done

Last week I ended up getting pretty sick, so not much was done in the building. But yesterday I finished up the rear dropout miters, filed the fit of the chain stays into the bottom bracket (which took most of the day) and cut the chain stay lengths and mitered them out. Also finished the fork legs in terms of getting them exactly dialed to the same length. So today, after drilling a handful of vent holes, and prepping all the surfaces, I could finally do a lot of brazing. First, the silver flowed around the water bottle bosses, and the braze on boss for the front derailleur, then into the lugged crown as the whole fork went together. Then out came the brass for some rear dropout brazing.

It's funny how days of work finally go together in a matter of hours. Right when I start to feel like I'm taking too long to get anything done, it all goes together. There are some matters that I still have to work out (get faster at) before I'll ever be able to do this with any sort of dollars per hour ratio. But it is still a great source of enjoyment and challenge for me.

As of right now, I've spent thousands from my own "savings" and have yet to show a dollar for it. I've had (and have) more cuts, scrapes, bruises, and some pretty good burns than I care to count. With my day job to fund all of this, I'll often go for months at a time without any real "days off." But at the end of the day, when I climb up the stairs from my basement workshop, smelling of steel shavings and acetylene, and crawl into the shower to wash off the three days of dirty cotton clothes and facial hair that have surrounded me, I can't think of much I'd rather be doing.

And as always, more pictures on my flickr site

Friday, November 21, 2008

Report IV: Sparking one up

After a visit to the doc last week, I still don't have bone connection. But he gave me the all clear to start going on easy rides, and putting a little weight on it. Still no mountain biking, or heavy lifting. But oh well. Should be connected in another four weeks from now.

On the plus side, the frame building is back and going. I've done most the miters, finished the lugwork, bent the fork blades. And the big news, I sparked up the torch for the first time in months, and brazed in the fork dropouts. It makes me smile doing this again. Also, I'm not as rusty as I was afraid I would be. They actually turned out pretty well. On the down side, it's already the time of year that my fingers hurt from cold while I'm torching in the garage. Geez, I missed out on the fall.

Holy lugs:

And, as always, more pictures on my flickr site.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Report III : Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Well the last couple of weeks seems to have gone well. Every day I can move my arm more, and it feels less 'disconnected.' I'm back to doing repairs in the shop, and have even started riding to work again. I don't know until I have my next appointment how much the bone is/has grown back. So for now, I'm putting most of my weight on my good arm. (which is kinda weird with the balance) And man, after two months of doing nothing more than the average American (walking to the car and the bathroom) the five miles to work and back is a good hard ride! After a few days, I felt like I was training hard again. My legs are sore, and I am wiped out. Not only that, but the last time I was on a bike, it was hot. Now lately my lungs are burning with dry thirty-something degree air being shot down my chest. I don't know what you people did to the weather, but I want my fall transition back.

But the big news is I have finished my first (post crash) miter! It went a little slower than before, but at least it went. This bike is going to be a classic lugged road frame and fork for my old friend Mike in Florida. Should be quick enough to be a fun zip to work, but comfy enough to ride all day. I've also finished my race wheels that I was going to use for the 12 hour at Burnin'. It's cool. Next year awaits.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Endurance Race Report II

Finally getting around to reporting on the new stuff. I went in last Thursday to get the bandage off, take x-rays to make sure everything went well, and I thought I was going to get my stitches out. Turned out I had 17 staples holding me together. That was cool. I went around for ten days having no idea because I wasn't aloud to take off the bandage. It did explain the weird feeling I had when I put pressure on it. So they took those out, and put sterry strips on, just to make sure I wouldn't rip myself open.

The x-rays looked good except one chunk of the bone that was misplaced is still misplaced. Doc said when they tried to move it back to place, it had fused to the artery that supplies my left arm. It ripped open, so they had to get a vein guy to repair it. Ended up just leaving it where it was. But the rest of is is lined up, touching each other, so it should be good when it heals. I got out of the sling, and have some exercises to do 3 times a day.

I also went from Percocet to IBprophen, and now only take it when it starts getting sore and achy. The sterry strips came off, and looks like it is healing up pretty nice:

The only thing that's weird, is I've got an area of numb skin. Feeling it out, and putting some dots, I connected them to trace out where I can only feel pressure. No touch, no cold, no hot.

Probably not a big deal, even if it never does fix itself. I don't know if they even could fix something like that. But I figure if it never does get better, maybe that will be a free spot for a new tattoo.

Well take it easy, and enjoy this awesome weather we're having.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Endurance Race Report

The race has begun, and it's a long one. I'm one week in, and it will be a good number of weeks to go. The race to getting my life back to what it was.

Tuesday 9-30 5:30am:

I woke up to go into surgery, wearing the required "loose fitting and comfortable clothes." Style!

Surgery was running late from "equipment malfunctions," and I didn't get into surgery until noon. So Melissae and I spent the morning watching King Pin and reality shows on hospital cable. (as I got overly hydrated with my IV drip) Finally go into the surgery room, and I remember seeing the bright lights and the doctors going over their cutting equipment one more time. My wheeled bed didn't even come to a stop, and then I'm waking up in a different room with bandages and an icepack. Guess things went well.

I ended up having a bad reaction to the anesthesia, so the rest of the day was spent making sure I was ok to go home. I won't go into details, but nausea and a catheter aren't fun even when you're on Percocet. Speaking of which, that stuff is pretty fun. Here's me having a wild ride:

The next couple days were 4 hour intervals between pills and naps. But after that, I feel a little less pain, and a little more mobility every day. They had to cut away the stuff that had started to attempt to heal the two bones together, in order to re-position them for the plate and screws. So I'm pretty much starting over with the bone healing part. But I already feel 10 times better than before. I don't have that floating disconnected shoulder feeling anymore. My bandage comes off this Thursday, and I'll know more after that.

Take care, and if you're going to Burnin' At the Bluff, do an extra lap for me. I want to hear all about it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm getting chopped up!

Yep, talked it over with a second doctor. And even though he said it would stick back together, and I would be able to 'live a pretty normal life,' I weighed the pros and cons, and scheduled a surgery with him. Started to have second thoughts, but I think this will be the way to go. Just sucks that even he said if I was going to do the surgery, I should have done it sooner.

Tomorrow is cutting day, so I'll report back when I'm not all drugged up. Take care while I'm gone.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And after 4 weeks....

I'm still broken. That made me more surprised than this panda. Aside from it still hurting, and clunking around in there, I'd never have known. But thanks to modern technology, I can know that it is, in fact, still broken. Along with that, the inner part is pointing more upwards than it used to, and there is no new bone development. The good news is that doc says I no longer have to be in a sling... or anything for that matter. (?!?!?) And he says I still don't need surgery. I'll just be malformed, and should see him in another few weeks. So no improvement, looks worse than before, but it's all good. After hearing him brag about only having to do surgery a few times his whole career, I made an appointment to get a second opinion.

Here's my fancy new x-ray from today's informative meeting.
(I outlined the bone ends as best I could figure out)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pictures From Ivan in St. Louis

Finally getting around to putting up the pictures from last Sunday. We woke up to find that just about any low spot around town had flooded during the night. And it was still raining...

This was the end of our street. The cars on the right had been parallel parked during the night.

This is a different view of the same street. Beyond this is normally a large field and a dog park.

This is another street in our neighborhood. The two cars in in the background had tried to make it out of the flood, only to stall and be stuck there waiting.

Yet, later that day, the Tour Of Missouri finished it's last (slightly shortened) stage (due to flooding) in downtown St. Louis.

In other news, it's been about three weeks, and I still haven't attached my two pieces of clavicle. Starting to think I should have just gone and had surgery...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Clunking Along

Just had the follow up with the doctor today. He says I won't need surgery to get it to heal properly. Which I thought was weird because the two halves of my collarbone have yet to join. It's an odd feeling with them clunking around inside my shoulder. But according to him, in the next week or two the area will start to calcify, making the whole region stiffen up. Then it will hold the bones while thickening and growing new bone in the gap. Sounds weird to me, but this is one fracture I haven't dealt with. I did also find out that it was not a clean break. There was a bit of the bone that broke off when it split. But I guess when the area calcifies, it will hold that in place too. I wish I could post the x-ray, but it's a digital one. And I guess it's a file way to huge to just e-mail me, and I'm sure they don't want to be bothered by re-sizing things just so I can show people. What happened to the good old days when you got sent home with x-ray? Oh well.

Aside from that, I blended in this past week with all the racers crashing in the Gateway Cup. Everyone keeps asking if I was in one of the crashes. On the plus side, there have been plenty of people to commiserate with. One regular customer separated a couple ribs from his sternum, and separated his collarbone from his shoulder. No broken bones, but painful none-the-less. I've also had a good number of people, old and young, to share broken bone stories. Many bike related, and some not. I will say that helps out when I'm feeling down and honestly a bit stupid. Even when you're being careful, $#!** happens. One guy I met broke his getting out of his car during a dark rainy night, and his black lab decided to meet him before he got to the house. Tripped him before he even knew the dog was there. Oh well, I just hope I've got enough to last me a good while. I'm already getting restless, and it's only been a week.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Out Of Order (a bit lengthy)

Well Fellet Brazing is out of order for the next 6-8 weeks. Due to a dumb mistake in a training mtb ride - at Castlewood of all places - I've managed a wipe out hard enough to snap my left clavicle in two.

It was to be a nice easy paced ride of ~4 hours or so, just to get in some good off-road miles in preparation for the 12 hour race. But I met up with a nice guy - whom, after the adrenaline wore off, I can't remember his name. (Jeff maybe?) With company to push the pace a little, and me finally getting the hang of the new steed, I was getting ahead of myself with the downhill velocity. A fast, loose terrain was being well managed with new found confidence, until a small (newly assigned) log was in the path. Not a problem, just pick the bike up a bit, stay loose, and let the tires tap and float over like they always do. This time it was different. The log had rotted into a few still-hard sections, which after contact with my tires, went tumbling along with me. One section got quite intimate with my rear wheel, bouncing, rolling, and re-directing it more and more. I tried to shake it loose, but to no avail. I was finally sent over the bars, crashing into rocks and brush with more velocity than I cared for.

After catching my breath, I noticed my left arm didn't function properly. That's when it hit me harder than the granite had. I broke my collarbone. A quick check confirmed that while it hadn't protruded yet, it wanted to. After using my spare tube as a sling, Jeff(?) walked my bike out, and I walked myself. Thanking him for his help, my new friend put my bike in the car, and waited to make sure I would be OK. Driving to St. Mary's, I decided many of our St.Louis roads could use a fresh coating of pavement. Once there, the triage nurse couldn't understand the pulse-by-finger-clamp machine, until she verified the old fashioned way that my pulse was 46 bpm. The look on her face was priceless until another nurse asked if I was an athlete. After explaining yes, and that 46 was possibly a tick low, but not enough to worry about, we got on with the process. I got to see the new digital X-ray machine (which the tech was happy to show off), got my million dollar arm sling, and drove home in a gown. (Well after waiting at Wallgreens for some fancy Ibuprofen)

So now, I wait. Wait until I can ride again. Wait until I can build again. Wait until next year, when hopefully I will be getting ready for a 12 hour race. Sorry to all this will affect, the list still remains. The blog won't say much about my building for a while. But, if I come across anything interesting, I may still come up with something to talk about. Take it easy, and good luck to those who will race. And if you get a chance, head out to check out / support the Gateway Cup this weekend.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My bike is cooler than I am!

So even though it rained yesterday, and it was supposed to rain today, when I woke up, it looked like there might be a quick window of no rain for a mountain bike ride. After waiting this long, I couldn't take it anymore. So I suited up and headed to Castlewood to break in the new stead. It has been a while from the last time I actually had a mountain bike (let alone rode one as such), and I was going at it alone. So, I decided that would be an easy trail to brush the rust off the fat tires.

I changed the geometry of this frame to make her a bit more aggressive, and that she was. It took a trail or two just to figure out that she really wasn't my old frame. But after that, I started to push the corners a bit more, and charge through the more technical sections. Which (due to being so rusty) got me into trouble. I had a few near misses, and a couple good crashes. I meant to beat her into submission on our first ride, but she let me know I wasn't the one with the upper hand. So now I've accepted that we'll just have to figure out each others' strengths and weaknesses, and learn to work together.

By the end of the 17 miles I ended up doing, the frame was getting splattered with mud as brown as my darkest tan, and I was getting bruised as red as the new paint she got. And as our colors merged, I was beginning to get the hang of her and the new geometry. Even though we never became one together. It was good enough for her first ride. Overall, she was just as laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant as I would have hoped for. And I think once I find my new bike handling limits, and dial in my fit, this new mistress will be my most favorite thing to ride. I mean, I love you Melissae.

I tried to take a picture, but my batteries died. So no eye candy today.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


It is done. (well, done enough to ride. New wheels to come.)

More later.

Now I ride.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Progress and Regress

The mountain bike frame just went out for paint this morning. Good old Les over at Powder Coat Specialists said he could get it to me by tomorrow. You don't get that kind of turnaround anywhere else. (I should note that I don't get a deal through him, nor am I affiliated with him. He's just a good guy who works for a living.) All in all, I think it turned out pretty well. And I did *solve* the alignment issue from being too hasty before. I brazed a small bit inside the dropout, filed a bit, and now the wheel is held where it should be. I think the solution worked out pretty well, and unless I said anything, nobody would have known. But of course it would be much better to have gone through the steps ahead of time, and not had to 'fix' anything. Again, yet another lesson learned, and why I'm not taking orders quite yet.

I also put out a big order to build this baby up. And I will say that this will probably be the lightest, and pricey(est), mountain bike (possibly any bike) I've owned yet. (more posts and pics to come) I just figured I've been putting together dream bikes for enough friends and customers that I wouldn't mind sharing the fun. Now for the next couple months, I've got to flog this thing over every dip, burm, rock, rut, and mile that I can to get ready for the 12 hr "Burnin' at the Bluff" race.

On the negative side, I noticed while doing the last steps, that my welding hoses are leaking. I don't know how long that they've been going, but it's another $58 before I get going again. Luckily, I'll have time to get things situated before I'm ready to start any torch work on the next one on the list. A lugged road bike for my Florida buddy Mike. (I still need those fit details man!)

More pictures here:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Something Wicked This Way Comes least I hope it will be a wicked ride. If it all works out, it should be.

I just realized I've got about two months to get ready for the 12 hour mountain bike race, and I haven't ridden much this year. That's what happens when I get caught up with working at a busy bike shop, and then building bikes when I get home. The whole fun of being into this sport tries sneaking out the back door. So these next two months are going to be dialing in this new steed, and getting some serious miles in to get ready for it. I put in 50 miles in yesterday and I can feel the long nasty winter in my legs. So I've got to keep up with it, or I'll be hurting in October.

The parents came over for a nice visit this last week, but I still managed to get some work done. Finished up the seat stays, as well as the disc mount. Brazed those up, and now it's just a couple bridges, braze-ons, and smoothing it all out. I will admit I skipped a step, and now the rear wheel won't be held perfectly strait. That's what I get for being in a rush to get this done. But hopefully it shouldn't throw off the handling enough to mess things up, and it's definitely a lesson learned.

Here's a sneak preview of my (hopefully) race-worthy mountain bike:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back in Action! -or- I've got Gas!

Howdy! Finally have some work to report. I've got air in my tanks again, so I was finally able to braze up the front triangle and chain stays. I have to say that these have probably been my best brazes yet. Not that there is no room to improve, but I'm pretty happy with the results. Hoping to finish up the seat stays, braze-ons, and do the finish work on her in the next couple weeks. Then it's starting all over again with a (lugged?) road frame for my Florida buddy Mike.

Would your lady let you do this in the bathroom sink?

Good brazes = good heat control, and less time to file smooth afterwards.

Head tube and seat tube were left long for the braze. They'll be cut down afterwards.

On a side note: I don't know if anyone else has been dealing with more aggression on the roads lately, but I've had a few run-ins with some angry drivers lately. I hope these have been isolated cases, but I get the feeling that higher gas prices add to an already hasty drivers impatience. Either way, ride safe and legal out there. Please don't give people any more reason to hate cyclists. Even if you get away with it, they might take it out on the next one they meet.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I've run out of hot air!

Official Address to The Nation (of people that keep up with what I'm up to) :

Progress has been forward moving, but frames are not going through the rapid growth that they once were. I fear that we have grown accustomed to growth at an unsustainable rate, and now things are cooling off. Of course we won't know for sure until we have already gone through three frame cycles (or cycle frames), at which point we may find that we have gone through a frame building recession. Hopefully, if we put our heads down and push through, we will make it out the other side without too many losses.

As far as the current frame cycle is concerned: All the miters for the main triangle (compound miter included) are finished up. Water bottle bosses are drilled, cleaned up, and brazed in. Melissae even pitched in to do the torch work on them! The chain stays were mitered and brazed to the dropouts, and their other miter for the bottom bracket are getting close.

But all this progress came at the cost of running my oxygen and acetylene tanks dry. Raising (oxy-acet.) gas prices, the falling US dollar, and using my credit to make large purchases lately (diamond rings) have left the FelletBrazing Co. on hard times. Rumor about the government stepping in to subsidize or even take over FelletBrazing has been spreading, but by the time something of that magnitude were to occur, serious drops in production would occur. If this were to happen, a stagflation could arise.

Therefore, my good friend Brian and I got together to come up with a stimulus package to keep this small business economy on track. He had some air left over in his tanks that he wasn't going to use. So while it may not be as much air as if I were to fill my tanks full, I hope that it will stimulate an increase in production, giving a much needed boost. Some debate this as a temporary solution to a greater problem. However, we must do anything that can be done to help the growth of this frame building economy. God willing, we will make it through these hard times and rise again!

(check out the new build pictures here)

Monday, June 30, 2008

New goings on in the shop

Howdy everyone. Things have started to pick up around the shop again lately; some good work is getting done. First, I'm starting to make some templates of commonly used things like dropouts, so I don't have to spec it out with the calipers and make a new blue print every time. This way, I'll just get out the corisponding template to whatever dropout I'm using, set it at the right spacing, and trace it out. Time saved for me, means more bikes getting done, and that much closer to being able to make it worth my while selling them in the future.

My 26" mountain frame has been coming along. I've got all the miters done for the main triangle except the second part of the compound miter for the down tube that buts up against the bottom bracket shell, as well as the seat tube. The reinforcement ring is brazed in place. So now I've just got to put the water bottle bosses on, and that part will be ready for assembly.

Also, I've got the seat tubes bent for tire clearance. This is the first time I've done bending other than for fork blade rake. It was interesting to bend a certain amount, in an exact spot on the tube, and have both of them match. I think it turned out pretty well, and would include it on other people's frames without worry.

(The drawing shows the clearance of the chain stay. The left tube is the chain stay; the right is the seat stay with a similar bend in it. Look here for more pictures and explanations.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


It's amazing how spoiled one can get with a faster bike. After riding my road bike for so long, my townie suddenly feels slow. 28c tires, Mr. Tuffy's, having only one gear, and not exactly the lightest component spec. But you know, I love every pound of that portly girl. I've been stopped at least a few times by people wondering what kind of bike it is, what's the little fender thing on the front, and who made it. (the 'fendette' is proving to be way more popular than I expected) Even though I'm not beating my record on the way to work, it's just fun to ride something that does it's job, rides well, and people love to look at it. And it's even more fun to think of how I made it.

As far as the actual ride itself, I'm stoked to finally have a disk on the front. The fork does have more flex than say a mountain bike fork. But overall, not bad at all. And luckily(?) I've been able to test it out in some emergency slam on the brakes at full speed situations already. I haven't been caught in a full on downpour (yet), but in a slight rain, the brakes and fendette are pretty awesome. The spray that pops up in front of the fork from only having clip on (rear coverage only) fenders is curbed quite nicely by the lugged-looking fendette. Beauty and function!

This being the first version of this particular bike, there are a few tweaks I would make for next time. But then again, I always want to tweak something better for next time.

(The 'Fendette' works! and people love it!)

Mechanical side note: The crown race was in fact widened out by the old fork not being exactly to spec. Once I got the new one, it pounded on quite precisely.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Big Flood in the Midwest!

Hey all, in case you've been living under a rock. (or just don't have much to do with the Midwest), there's a big flood right now. I've got some pictures on my flickr site, but if you can get down to the river to see for yourself... It's crested a good ways up the huge stairs in front of the arch. Quite spectacular.

In other small news: I've got brownie up and running again. I've had a few good rides on her (and am meeting some nice folks along the way), and I'll say it's good to have her back. I've also got a few miters done on the next mountain bike. So it's good to be back to work. (mostly) Still have tons of planning to do for the big day, but I can't keep slipping behind schedule on the frames. More, and more pictures to come.

Stairs in front of the arch. There were more people here than looking at the arch itself.

Parking garage north of the arch by the landing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mission Accomplished

Greetings friends, I haven't posted in a while, but this time I have a great excuse. I've been planning a nice trip with the lady in which to propose to her. Through much research of the local rock formations necessary to gain entrance to this land, as well as much recon into the different locations to accomplish this goal, I had a plan so tight you couldn't see the light through it. We were going to ride the Katy Trail to Hermann, and stay at the Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn. A masseuse was scheduled to give us an in-room massage after a long day's ride, and after some local food and libations, there was a hot tub on our own personal patio, looking over the river that was to be the last seen location of two single persons.
Well, that was until some weather started rolling our way, and not only kept us off of what would have been a muddy tail, but the lightening kept us off our bikes all together. But the day of the mission was still good weather, so I took the lady for a day hike to get her good and worn out, in order to make necessary the massage later that evening. While we were hiking, the Inn called to let me know that the hot tub had broken, and wouldn't be fixed by the time we arrived. That being the plan of attack, I needed another location quick. Luckily, I had programmed every eatery in the town of Hermann into my cell phone, and went down the list until I had reservations at a quite fancy European cuisine restaurant. Things were still shaping up for a good trip.
Upon arrival to the Inn, we were informed that we were switched rooms in order to accommodate a handicapped individual that would have had a easier time in the room we reserved. Luckily, this room did have a working hot tub, and with some last minute correspondence, the masseuse was re-directed. The massage was great, and everything was shaping up for a fancy engagement dinner. When we found the "Europa Restaurant" that I had reservations for, here's what we saw:

And while I didn't manage to get pictures of the inside, it only got worse. The warm stuffy air and dead silence, interrupted by a creaky carpeted floor and a portable fan by our table in the living room gave one the feeling of someone else's grand parents' house. We were one of two couples that ate that night in an awkward whispering silence, being served by a scruffy young man terrified of eye-contact. Not so suddenly, the idea of the waiter bringing out the ring with the dessert didn't sound as romantic. So after a tasty meal that was serenaded by the waiter randomly walking over to a piano, playing something he had come up with, and leaving without a word, we made our way back to the Inn.

After a nice soak in our own hot tub to wash away the weird vibe, we sat in front of a fireplace in bathrobes. And while this was now about the fifth time the original plan had been revised, that was where the proposal took place. I am now happy to announce that Melissae Diane Stuart and I are to be married. (whenever we get to working out all the plans for that day)

(More pictures of the ring on my flickr site if that's what you want to see)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Things going slowly...

Hey everyone, I know I haven't posted in a while. And mostly it's because my mommy told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say... well, I just haven't had anything nice to say.

Last week, I got Brownie back from paint, and it came out quite well. A few bubbles in the paint, but hey, I'm not complaining. That day, I was going to cut and face the crown, frame save her, and take some pictures. Well after cutting the crown, the race just plopped on. Instead of having to be pounded and pressed, I could just slide it on with my fingers. It's a brand new Park Tool cutter, I triple checked the specs to make sure I used the correct sized 1" standard, and something came out wrong. Right now my theory is that I had previously pounded this race onto the fork that I built and cut at UBI, and possibly their cutter was old and worn. So it left the race a tick on the big side, wallowing out the race I pounded on, and now it won't fit anything else. I've been too frustrated to check, but I hope this is the case. It's definitely the easiest to solve with a new race.

In the mean time, I've started on my mountain bike frame. After just about completing the blueprint for her, I sleepily spilled my coffee all over the drawing, ruining everything. I started over, got it finished (again), and started inspecting my tubes. Then I come to find out my top tube is actually a down tube (making it too long, where I would have to cut off pretty much all of the butted section). And my down tube is some sort of oversized beast (~35.2mm, instead of the 31.8 that it was supposed to be) But I figure this out after I hastily started cutting the down tube. After talking to the folks at Nova, they were nice enough to take back the top tubes, and send me the correct ones (even though the order was a couple months ago). But - and rightfully so - I'm stuck with these beastly down tubes. It's ok, I guess I'll have an extra stiff frame. I guess this was supposed to be my race bike anyhow.

So lesson for the week, check everything twice as soon as possible, and be ready to handle when things still don't go right. Oh well. Next week we're going to a bed & breakfast, so I probably won't get a whole lot of building done. I plan to get back to it afterwards, as I'm behind schedule. In the mean time, here's some teaser shots of Brownie:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Brownie is Ready For Paint (again)

I finished up the disc fork this afternoon, and I think it came out pretty well. And I'm finally unveiling the fendette. It's an idea I've had for a while, and felt like experimenting with. I've got the strap on fenders that cover the rear of the wheel, but there was always a small amount of spray from the front. So it should help with that. But of course I'd be lying if I said it was totally for the sole purpose of being functional. I figured I'd style it a bit and do some lug-work type edges. So let me know what you think.

I also decided on the cable routing. With the comment from Sandbox, I definitely won't make a fork like this for anyone else until I get some serious miles on it. But with using fork legs with thicker than usual wall thickness, to better handle the stress of the disc brake, and also using the shortest cable guide braze-on I had to minimize the stress riser, I'm not too worried about it. But still, a risk I don't want to put on anyone else.

I also put some eyelets on the seat tube for a pump mount. I've never really liked the pump on the down tube (mainly looks), and using the normal eyelets, it was getting in the way. So, I'm experimenting with this to see if it's out of the way in both the visual and functional. If this doesn't work, my other idea was the seat stay. Who knows, it's just fun to be able to put things wherever I feel like. The more I do, the more I'll know.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Downtube Stickers and More

We got slammed today at The Shark, so I don't have it in me to say too much today. But I figured I would put in a quick post of the latest goings on here at Fellet Brazing. I've made some great progress on my disc fork, and pretty much just needed to clean up a couple spots on my brazes to be ready for paint until I realized I never put any cable housing guides on it. It would be pretty easy to just zip tie the lines, but what's the point of having a custom fork if you just have to jimmy-rig it when you're done? So it's not done, but here's a sneak preview:

You don't even want to know what kind of tight clearances I had to deal with on this one.

I also FINALLY got my down tube stickers in from Victory Circle Graphix. It was only about a month after I was expecting them, but it's still not a bad deal, and quality seems pretty good. Hoffmeyer and Marc, just swing by sometime and I can put them on for you, or let me know if you want me to just drop them off with you. Either way.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Disc or Disk?

Just thought I'd put up a quick post of some goings on with the fork. And in case you're wondering, it seems that it's both disc and disk. Depending on what company, what component, and sometimes even within the same description, it's spelled both ways. As someone who has a hard enough time spelling as it is, things like this don't help.

High tech uni-directional circumferential modifier.

Home-made tubing bender at work.

Disc/k tab miter. This one was fun to do.

Dropouts and disc/k tab brazed up. More to come.

Friday, May 9, 2008

O Fortuna!

Last night, the lady and I went out to dinner at Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen and then out to see the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra play Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. The tortillaria has changed since last time I was there. Now it's more of a sit down and be waited on sort of restaurant. I kind of liked the old go-to-the-counter-and-order way of doing things, but I'm a bit biased towards the hole-in-the-wall type of Mexican joints.

After opening with Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, the symphony did a great job with Orff's Carmina Burana. A large screen displaying the translation, the soloists all but acted out the storyline. They brought in some humor and expression to add a bit of liveliness to the script, without ruining the overall effect like these bozos. At the time of writing this, Saturday is sold out But if you get a chance, tonight and Sunday still have seats.

In other news, my disc fork is coming along. The most time consuming part is the miter of the disk tab to fit up against the curve of the fork blade. But I'm hoping to get some good work today, and at least braze the dropouts and the tab. Then comes the crown prep and making sure both blades are exactly the same length or else the wheel will sit crooked. Hopefully Saturday will be in good weather so everyone can get out and have a nice weekend.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Painted, and Ready

Hoffmeyer's bike is all painted, stickered, reamed, chased, and faced. A dose of "JP Weigle Frame Saver" was added, and Hoffmeyer picked it up yesterday. This will be a geared road bike that should be stiff enough to handle short sprints, but smooth enough for some long miles that he has planned. Clearance around 23c tires, with room for 25's, this should be about as useful as this guy and his folding dump pouch bags. (but not as dorky)

Aside from the constant learning curve to make frames that are aligned, fit well, and do what they were intended to do, this frame will undergo the closest thing I will get to an engineering stress testing machine. Hoffmeyer's brute strength has snapped, stripped, and cracked more parts than most downhill racers I've known. And he also puts more regular miles in than I ever could. So as long as this frame is holding up, I'll never have a working proof of what these frames can handle.

As always, more pictures on my Flikr site.

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