Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Off To Paint and Other News

Hoffmeyer's frame is off to get painted at Powder Coat Specialists up on Midland Blvd. Should be done Friday. I'm going to take a break from "the list" and whip up a couple projects for myself. A lugged-crown disc brake fork for Brownie. Then I can finally get her up and running again. And also a new hard tail mountain bike that I hope to race in the 12hour "Burning at the Bluff." This will be the first mountain bike frame I've done, so I figure I'll experiment on myself before putting someone else on one.

After that, it's back to the list with Mike - a buddy of mine from Florida. He's getting fitted and used to the setup right now, that way I'll have a good idea of what geometry he'll need. And if I remember right, he'll be wanting a lugged road frame. But the details can get ironed out as I'm getting my next projects done. Also, I just got word from Victory Circle Graphix that my down tube stickers should be getting finished this week. So I should be getting those sometime early(?) next week.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Rainy Day Off

It has been a heck of a week! With the coming spring, work at the Shark has been non-stop. The repairs are piling up, and there are more empty spots on the floor than we can keep up with bike builds. We even stayed till midnight Wednesday night just trying to get some bikes built up. The volume of that place amazes me. I'm still used to the small shop way of business. But it's cool. It's a good opportunity to keep learning, and staying busy passes the time.

(sorry, small rant:) I don't know about you guys (and gals), but it seems I've been getting buzzed, yelled, and cursed at more often lately. I don't know if the arrival of spring has more cyclists out there, pissing off more motorists, and raising tensions. Or maybe I've just had a rash of bad luck. Either way, when you're out there, be careful and stay safe. Also be mindful and respectful of the laws and other users of the road. Don't give anyone a good reason to hate you (or the rest of us).

Well, it seems every time I get a day off these days, it rains and pours. On one hand, I really need to get some much needed miles in. But on the other hand, I've been getting some good work done on Hoffmeyer's frame. Yesterday, I did some finish work, aligned the dropouts, and brazed up some seat stays. Today, I've smoothed out those brazes, mitered up some chain stay and brake bridges, and brazed those in place. Just need a little finish work, slot the seat tube, and this baby is ready for paint!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rain, Earthquakes and Flooding

The end times are nigh! Well, maybe not, but I'm finally getting around to posting. The first part of the week, I was still getting over whatever it was. So I didn't get much done. Then I lost some sleep when the earthquake woke us up. I probably would have rolled over and passed out, but the lady has never been in an earthquake before, so we sat up talking about it for a bit. I haven't been in one for a little while, but am still somewhat used to the whole thing growing up in San Diego. Nothing too bad, but I still remember one in particular that shook hard enough that things were falling off counters, smashing on the floor, and pictures were coming off the walls. I just remembered being frustrated that that one also woke me up in the middle of the night. Ahh earthquakes, hardly ever considerate.

But luckily(?) it was rainy and gross on my days off, so I got some good work done. The fillets are slowly being filed and sanded smooth, and the seat stays are mitered and ready to go. I've just got to check/align the chain stays and things should be ready to rock. A few more details, and she'll be ready for paint. I'm hoping to be done by the end of this coming week. Hoffmeyer, just let me know sometime about the paint. Gloss white right? I haven't heard back about the down tube stickers yet, so that may have to be put on later. But otherwise, things are coming together.

The bottom bracket junction has been one of the longest steps. So many curves to smooth out.

Seat stays looking good.

Dropout miters on the seat stays went quicker than the chain stays. I think I'm getting used to working with them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Getting there

I've been feeling a little under the weather, so things have been slow goings. I did manager to get Hoffmeyer's frame brazed up. (well mostly) Still missing the seat stays and the such. And I'm starting to clean up the fillets. I do think I am getting better at laying down a good fillet. (always more to go for perfection though) And there's still learning from every miter, and every braze. I will say the top tube holder worked like a champ, and once I have it dialed in, I think the new brazing sequence will be quite nice.

Hopefully, I'll be feeling up to getting some good work done this week. It shouldn't be too much longer, but all those final details keep catching me off guard with the time required. But I guess things haven't been going that slowly. This friday will be one month after the tubes showed up at the doorstep. Man I love having two days a week off!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ready to Cook!

Today was the long and monotonous task of hand mitering the chain stays. So I decided to do a step by step photo sequence of what exactly goes into it. (At least that way I could take a break now and then to snap a picture.) If you're really curious, you can check it out here. If you're not all that curious, here's a picture of the end result:

I've also got all the vent holes drilled out, the jig is set, and the torch is itching to be lit. But for now, I'm too bonked. So first thing tomorrow, the tubes will be sanded, scrubbed, and fluxed. The brass will be cleaned, the regulators set, and the fillets will be laid. After that, depending on time, I may start in on mitering the seat stays, or I may just do a bunch of finishing on the welds. Either way, they both need doing.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I haven't been posting too much lately. It feels like things have been kinda crawling along. My miters are definitely getting better. But they don't seem to be getting much quicker. It's fine for now, as this is still part time. But if I ever hope to make a full time living at this, I'll have to get faster. Part of it, I know, is me just being a perfectionist. I could definitely whip up some quick (and probably good enough) miters if I just went at it. But something about the way I work won't allow anything less than totally dialed. I suppose that's a good thing in many ways, but that does mean there's more practice to be done before I can do this at any reasonable speed.

I've finished the miters for the front triangle, so that's ready to go. And I've made good headway on the chain stay miters also. I'm hoping when I get my days off later this week, I'll be able to finish those up, and braze the whole thing together. After that, it's getting the seat stays mitered & brazed, the stay/brake bridges, a few other touches, some prep, and she'll be ready to send off for paint.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

No Free Lunch, or (It's No "Breeze")

Another day off, and some more headway on Hoffmeyer's frame. I got the ends of the chain stays mitered, cleaned, and the new "Breezer" style dropouts brazed in place. (Step by step pictures over at my Flikr site.) I went for this style of dropout for a few reasons. First, they're supposed to be stronger, and I figure this frame has to be pretty beefy to handle Hoffmeyer's habit of chewing through equipment. Second, I haven't used these before, and wanted to see how I liked working with them. Which brings me to the third reason: I was under the impression that they threw together pretty quickly. Aside from the name, they looked like a snap. Cut the stay to length, clean, and braze away. Well, almost. They have a way tighter curve than I figured, which required a pretty good miter. Plus, after having to work in the wider rear, and good angle to them (and their required miters), I think it ended up taking longer than the slot style to get it right. So long story short, I'm happy with them. I just need to always keep in mind that nothing about frame building is easy or quick. But nothing good comes easily.

On a different note, I am getting better at my heat control, and flowing the braze where and how I want it. I put on the cable stop for the rear derailleur, and the braze came out perfect. No cleaning, filing, or even sanding. Not that it's a huge deal, but it's just nice when you know you're actually getting better at something. Now, to keep practicing, so I could do that with every braze...

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