Wednesday, January 30, 2008
It always takes longer than people think it should (including me :) ) and you can not rush paint...you'll spend more time in the long run.
I had 5 frames, 4 forks and a butt load (that's a whole bunch) of bars to spray to get ready for NAHBS.
Long story short, I've slept 12 hours since last Thursday, look and feel like crap, but ended up with some really awesome finished products.
Without letting the cat out of the bag and showing you the show bikes, I thought since we've chronicalled Roy's bike build, I'd share the photos of his paint coming together, so here we go...
I first start off by inspecting the frame to insure that all the finish work is complete; welds closed, no pits in the brazing, all vent holes taped over, paint bolts in the bosses, etc...
Next up is a trip through the blast cabinet to clean the frame and give the material a consistant finish and a little tooth for the primer to seat into.
Once out of the cabinet, the latex gloves go on and the paint begins. I use PPG products the majority of the time, throwing in some House of Kolor for the super fancy stuff. The primer I use is some super tough stuff, like an Armadillo hide, it takes a lot of work to get through it. A solid primer is very important to the protection of your frame, as liquid paint will chip, but it should only reach the tough primer layer, protecting it from the evil oxidation process of rust.
The primer layer is dryed and then sanded to give a super smooth base for the color layers to come. I use 600 grit paper, dry sanding in even covering strokes.
The finished sanded frame is then carefully blown with filtered compressed air to make sure that all dust and fine particulate are removed.
Next up is the series of base colors, masks, and then clears.
One of the things that I really enjoy about painting is developing the paint scheme and visualizing how it is achieved, kind of like backwords thinking.
Roy gave me some guidance on the colors he desired but left the design up to me...this always makes me a bit nervous as I really hope that what I come up with is met with enthusiasm from the end customer. In this case, I struggled with a design incorporating the colors Roy wanted; olive green, off white, yellow/orange highlights. I had two false starts where I backed off and rethought. I finally came up with something that balanced the conservative (by my standards :) ) colors and my need for fun. Roy got a cream panel and polka dot with grunge green background. I was hesitant about the colors, but they really came together nice.
I began by laying down the cream white. Once in place, I dryed it and then began the masking. A panel on the down tube and seat tube and 4 different sizes of dots across the canvas.
Once the masking is complete, I sprayed the green on top, which will end up becoming the base background.
Then the delicate work began, carefully removing the masks using a razor blade, a steady hand, and some granny glasses so my aging eyes can see.
After the color is complete, a coat of clear is applied and force baked for 30 minutes at around 400 degrees...mmmm, smell that cooking?
A good sanding to smooth the texture, then its decals, another clear/bake/smooth, and finally the third and final clear ran really hot with double reducer so that it burns into the previous coat, evening any dry spray (orange peel) and giving a glassy finish.
The frame is baked again and finally finshed with a good rub down of 3M compound.
Then it's time to show it off!
Hope Roy likes it.
It's a shame that most indy builders don't spray their own stuff any more, I really enjoy tying the project together with a little eye candy to match the performance. It's very rewarding.
Catch y'all in a few days, I'm going to catch up on a bit of sleep!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
What's the point of contention, you may ask?
See, a lot of the established builders have been blessed (a point that I strongly believe) with the opportunity to learn from an established master in an apprentice role. These present craftsman seized a rare moment in time when another was willing to share and guide the development of another. Techniques, tips, and dare I say secrets, were passed on in an environment that spawned growth and mastery. Experience earned through years of trial and error was given to the new assistant, expediating the opportunity for self reliance under a watchful eye. The value of such an education is difficult to qualify.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I'm going to hit y'all with a collage of photos tonight with a few comments thrown in for fun to catch up on the last couple of days.
Saturday began bright and early with some component build work for the upcoming Handmade Bicycle show. As my office is becoming over run with parts for the show bikes, I thought I'd better begin getting some of them together. Below is a bit of the effort from Saturday...2 Rohloff wheels, a couple of Phil Wood/Mavic wheels, and a few Chris King parts thrown in for good measure.
Classic steel left to right; Serrota T-max, Yo Eddy, Grove Assault, Yo Eddy, and a Hot Head bar.
Today I finished up Tony's Ho Down fork with three coats of clear. Yeah, I know, crappy pic but it was getting late. This fork utilizes a rectangular box crown, 1.0 inch blades and scallopped dropouts. This fork is destined for his Trimble (one of many :) ). Can't wait to see some build pics with it all finished.
While spraying the forks, I began work on my last show frame, a Big Wheel made with Columbus, Dedda, and custom drawn steel. This frame will use Paragon sliding dropouts which will allow for Rohloff, single speed, or geared use. The frame is a bit more utilitarian than the intensive work that went into Roy's Jefe, but will still have some nice touches like custom dual Rohloff cable guides.
I've posted up a few pics of working on the rear end for your enjoyment...I know sexy curves make me all hot and bothered!
Tomorrow, I'll braze up the rear stays, weld up the rear triangle and braces, and throw on some braze ons and she'll be fini!
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Attention OSHA...please note the required safety glasses, ear protection, gloves, and requisite sucker.
Going to be building wheels today for Dicks 29er and some of the show bikes. Got a box of uber shiny parts from Phil Wood, some bomber rims from Mavic, and some spoke lovin from the Swiss...should be killer.
Here's a random shop photo to stimulate the eyes...
Thursday, January 17, 2008
- Contacted Magura USA and asked "hey guys, can I get a set of these with the required dimensions for mounting"
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
A couple hours were burnt up with cleaning the shop. Mike, of Sherrick Photography (http://www.sherrickphotography.com/), is stopping by tomorrow to shoot some photos for the NAHBS booth. He's a killer photographer and I'm looking forward to getting some cool shots to intrigue people and tell the story about Groovy.
As the evening has wound down, I unpacked the brake parts for Roy's Firm Techs and started some prelim work on the design for the mounts...should not be too hard (fingers crossed) and hoping that I can get them machined and on the frame/fork tomorrow.
Til then friends, take care,
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Been a few days since I last posted; caught up on some of the "business" end of framebuilding such as paying bills, ordering materials/parts, posting items, etc...
The unfortunate truth is that very little time in building frames is spent building frames :^)
I spent today fabbing up the Bar / Stem combo for Roy's bike. Requested was a combo piece with 135mm reach, 10 degree rise, 60cm width, with a gentle bend.
Although the bar/stem is only made up of four parts, it takes 34 individual processes to fabricate them.
Here's a shot beginning to bore the custom binder bolt...
And a shot of the binder bored, tapped, and relieved for the head of the stainless allen bolt.
The binder is designed to seat against the steerer section through the stem extension, so I relieve the adjacent profile to give a firm, tight fit so it is very strong once brazed.
This piece is reminiscent of the old Grove Hotheads in that I like to use an oval extension as well. The bars, however, are 7/8" .035" 4130 without the compound bend in the palm that made the Grove's famous, instead utilizing a straight grip area to facilitate fitting the Rohloff shifter and it's large surface area.
I pierced the oval extension and placed the steerer tube piece through it and brazed in a custom pinch bolt to the rear, giving it a very clean and effective look.
In this shot you can see how the binder will sit behind the steerer section...the additional material behind the bolt will be filed off to give a smooth profile once completed.
and using an 1/8" end mill to slot the binder and rear of the stem.
And a pic of the basic layout just prior to welding...
I mocked up the bike with the frame, fork, bars, and a post with saddle just to see how it looks...everything came out exactly as I had hoped. She's dead sexy from behind (wink, wink)
All that is left to do is to custom fab the firmtech brake mounts (yes, the final parts arrived!) and braze on the chain stay cable guides I made.
Then a quick blast in the cabinet and it's into the paint booth...I've got some awesome plans for this one.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Once in place, it was lots of flux, a little 56% silver, a bit of filing and wha lah!
I tack the frame sequentially to limit any torsional pulling on the tubing and then weld everything in the fixture rather than take it out to finish as most builders do. I weld in the fixture as it maintains perfect alignment and I end up with little to no post weld alignment to do...that's a stonger, straighter frame for you!