Don wants his bike to be a surprise, so if your name is Don and you are reading this...look away now, there is nothing to see here!
Now, for the rest of us, on to the show.
Below are some fabrication shots...
first up is a little braze work on the front triangle. All fluxed up are the water bottle bosses and the seat post clamp. A little heat, some 56% silver, and let the magic flow :)
Next up is the rear triangle work... here's a pic of the miter on the seat stay as it meets the seat tube. This is one of the most difficult miters on the bke to get tight as it is a compound miter and needs to be perfectly matched with it's twin on the other side. It's accuracy is extremely important for a strong build that will last a lifetime. Notice how there is no gap or light visible...that's a good fit and will make a durable joint.
Once the fabrication is done, the entire frame is tapped and faced, degreased, and blasted. Then it's off to the paint booth.
I really enjoy paint as it is an opportunity for the personality of the owner, builder and bike to come together in a synergistic relationship. For this build, Don wanted some type of animal theme. As this will be a full on geary, I thought something fast would be appropriate, so a cheetah it is; here is how I started...
The first step is two sanded primer coats for good protection. Next, is the base layer of cream white that will match the underbelly fur coloring. Then the real work begins...12 layers of darker orange faded into yellow vertically around the tube from top to bottom. I also air brushed in some darker streaks and hand rubbed the colors to add some visual texture.
Once the base layer is completed, it's time to add the spots. I played with stencils and masks, but finally decided on hand painted accents with a detail brush. I kept a couple of pics of the cheetah close at hand to get the concentration of dots and the varying shapes correct. After 5 hours of meticulous hand work, the frame was finally covered.
The subsequent step is the clear. Three coats of clear, sanded between each, gives a beautiful depth and shine that is tough to really capture with the camera, but makes you want to rub your hands all over it :)
The clear starts off a bit cool, but the last coat is mixed really hot (lots of reducer) to burn in the layers and give that glass like appearance.
26 straight hours later, the frame is done in paint and ready for final rubbing compound and wax which will really set it off. That will have to be done after I crash for a few hours.