Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy 200th post!

Wow, 200 posts already, sure has gone fast.

I'm thrilled that y'all have been following along for the fun.

Today started off with a project for my dad...he called and asked if I could move a piano out of a storage unit for him before the end of the month. Now, just to be clear, that was move a piano for him, not with him. No worries, I thought. How big and heavy can an upright be? Well, let's just say that after lifting the piano into a trailer and then off loading it all by myself, it's a darn bit heavier than I remember a piano being. Workout for the day...check.

Thanks for the encouragement from y'all on the lard ass loss ( change), so to show ya that I'm hanging in there, here's today's shop meal; Spring rolls with spicy shrimp and seaweed salad...that oughta make an interesting turd ;)

I was only able to eat half of it before I was full. Kalten promptly showed up after school and sucked it up in about 5 seconds, oh to be a teenager again.

As I began cleaning up to begin welding, Mike S. showed up with a BIG something for me, my new Hardinge horizontal mill fresh from Plaza Machinery in Vermont. I've been patiently waiting for just the right machine to become available and this guy is the one. The mill, while a bit dirty, is tight and in great shape, should be a killer piece for mitering uni-crown blades and a few special parts I have on the back burner. I hadn't planned on receiving it today, but you gotta take life as it comes sometimes. Here she is all wrapped up like a big Christmas present...
I'm not sure how much this guy weighs, but it is a fair bit heavier than the piano :)
It took Mike and I and a 2 ton crane lift to off load it from the truck with some creative strapping and pulley work. All that rescue experience definitely came into play when setting up the rigging for this one.

I'm pretty sure I burned about a bazillion calories in getting this one placed. Maybe I should start looking for a nice used fork lift...hmmm.
And, as promised, the formula for the Team Violet Fat City paint. Take this list to your favorite supplier and you to can have the elusive color.
For a matter of information sharing, I use PPG paint, DBC series, listed by weight based on a pint formula...
DMD 1684 White 668.5
DMD 1679 Red 40.3
DMD 1683 Black 17.7
DMD 1676 Blue 8.0
DBC 2002 series clear 6 oz with 3 puffs of Sunset Red Pearl overcoat
There y'all go...hopefully we'll keep more vintage rides looking great for decades to come.
At the FD for a 36 hour push so I'll try to catch up on correspondence.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hump day happenings...Mike's Yo and stuff

Howdy guys and gals,

Today was spent in paint and bars (not the drinking kind).

I continued to prep the balance of the Ti Luvs by drilling the vent holes to allow the argon to pass throughout the piece for oxygen free welding.

Here's #1 of 50 going through the mill... Mikey J. gave me a CD of our Arizona bike trip pics and I came to a couple of was a great trip, gotta go back, and man, I'm fat. Too much work and too little play time, eating dinner at 2200 hours, and poor choices have added up. I now weigh the most I have in my life, so it's time to start a lifestyle change. Actually, I began last week.

My goal for this year is pretty focused and is three fold. I have not raced since my heart problems started in '96 and I'd really like to participate in an event. So I decided that I'd like to participate in the last race of the Groovy series this fall and turn in a lap in less than 1 hour, a personal best for me. Considering some of the experts run 32 minute laps, it's not a lofty goal for most, but it's achievable. with lots of work from me.

To do this, goal number two...gotta lose 30 pounds off my fat arse. So, I've been making better choices, not eating like a teenager, and am doing pretty good. Almost two weeks in and I'm down 10 pounds without suffering too much. I should be able to hit this goal in time for the last race of the season.

Finally, goal number ride the entire 24 miles of the Mohican Forest singletrack in one go. Now this is something that most avid mountain bikers could run off without much effort, but the killer for me is the hills. Due to my meds, my heart max's out at about 130 beats per minute, but the aerobic effort required for the climbing is MUCH more. After a few minutes, I literally see stars dancing in my vision, so I have to get stronger at riding right at the ceiling limit for longer periods of time. The only way to accomplish this is to ride more. So, I'm gonna try to get out at least 3 times a week, we'll see.

I'll let ya know how I'm's what I had for lunch, just in case you're keeping tabs on me :)Today I worked on the final coats of clear on Mike's Yo project. I thought I'd bring you up to date on the progress thus far, then hit ya with the finished product tomorrow once the final clear bakes out tonight.

We started with a Saratoga Yo that I added a disc tab, curved brace, removed the canti bosses, cable stops removed, then added new cable routing.

The frame was stripped, blasted, and started with a little primer...

The frame and fork each got 3 coats of primer, sanded between each coat with 600 grit, the final coat rubbed down with 1000 grit to give a nice smooth base.

Here's the final coat of primer on the frame and fork, resting out a bit before I bake it. I typically rotate the frame through multiple axis after spraying to eliminate any drips or sags if one area gets too much material...a nice feature my paint fixture allows.

The final primed pieces go in the bake box to flash off the solvents for about 15 minutes before the first color coats...
Now, before the color coats begin, a little history. The Team Violet paint used on Fat City bikes has always been a popular color, yet a difficult one to replicate. Mike Flannagin, now of ANT bikes, was the original painter who mixed it up. Contrary to popular belief that the color came from a Milka Chocolate wrapper, Mike stated that the color originated from a customer's desire to match the color of his favorite cycling jersey. Mike took the jersey into the booth, mixed the color by eye, adding a little pearl red in the clear to "make it pop", and "Team Violet" was born.
Throughout Fat's years, the color had always been mixed by eye, therefore, multiple hues of the color exist. I've had at least 6 different "Team Violet" colors through the shop, so it's tough to color match existing parts. I was told that Serrotta had a PPG code made for the color, but after speaking with their painters, found this to be inaccurate; too bad.
I've always just mixed by eye as well...start with lots of white, a little bit of red, more blue, etc...
This time, I actually measured out the formula and wrote it down. I'll post it up tomorrow on the blog and on Fat Cogs so that the color will be able to be consistently replicated for other's in the future, regardless of their painter.
Anyhoo, off to the color coats...three are applied with 15 minute flash times between each.

The frame and a happy fork...
After the color goes on, a single coat of clear mixed with Sunset Red pearl is sprayed on to give it that crazy red glow in the sunlight. Here's what it looks like mixed up in the can just see a tint of red near the top. See it? Squint a bit more ;)

The pearlized clear coat on. You are probably saying..."it doesn't look any different". You're right, the pearl is really tough to catch in a picture, without sunlight, on a crappy camera. Oh well, you will just have to trust me that it is cool!

Tomorrow, I'll post up the final decal'd frame.
Gonna be welding most the day, listening to tunes to keep the soul enriched.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April finishing up quickly

Not a bad day, today, I got a lot done.

I finished up the final prep on Roger's frame so I can wrap it up for him...tapped out all the threads, put on the polished headbadge, rubbed it down with some mild compound and polished with wax, and then gave it a little slap on the rear, the final touch when a new frame/baby is born :)

The rest of my day was spent getting Luvs ready for welding...lots of moly and Ti bars to melt together. Most of the April stuff has shipped, just a few stragglers left which are made up mostly of favors and extra pieces that I said I would "fit in" to the schedule. The majority of these boxes will make up the next months order.
Since the weather had improved, Kalten rode to the shop from school and spend some time cleaning and blowing out the cobwebs from the new bandsaw. Gonna take some time and elbow grease to get most of the rust off the table and blade support arbor...keep working buddy.

The plan for tomorrow is to put the final touches on Mike's Yo so I can send that bad boy out.
I've gotta go back into the FD tomorrow night, so I'll try to post up some pics of the Team Lavendar paint on the blog while I'm there.
The weekend busted out with all the spring glory you could ask for; warm, sunny, and not a drop of rain in sight...too bad I was sequestered at the Fire Department Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a relentless push at work. It's days like those that the 24 hour work day really sucks, kinda like being in prison some times.

Monday morning was fortunately just as nice, so I snapped a pic of the finished renovations with my spanky new red awnings we built...

Those should keep the rain off so I can leave the doors open in the summer.

While at the FD, I had some time Sunday afternoon to do some free wrenching for some of the local kids. It starts off with one or two kids who know that I'll help out, then before you know it, they begin to come by in a steady stream...

Armed with only the tools in my camelback, I was actually surprised to find just how much stuff I carry in there. No wonder I'm always bringing up the rear of the pack ;) (wish that was really the reason, and not my fat arse and out of shape cardio system!)
Yesterday, after coming off of the three day push, I was pretty worn out both physically and mentally. Christi let me grab a 45 minute nap before getting me up to get me to the shop.
Typical when you are tired, you don't have the mental acuity necessary for a lot of tasks, and I paid the price;
While mixing up a cup of clear, I grabbed my can of catalyst (hardner) and poured in the measured amount...Oh no, something doesn't look right! Here I had grabbed the catalyst for the primer system, not the clear. Well, there's 5 bucks I grabbed the bad cup of product, ripped the lid off the waste can I keep on the bench for washed out paint and such, and poured it in. That's when I realized I had just dumped the bad stuff into the new can of clear. Wham, 100 bucks down the drain. Should have quit for the day an hour earlier ;)
But with every bad circumstance, something good can occur. After feeling miserable about my screw up, my friend Gary showed up with something for me...a free metal cutting bandsaw!
Gary had bought this 8 years ago and never turned it on..."I thought you could use it". He wouldn't take any money for it. Should be a nice piece for rough shaping custom dropouts and such. Things are looking up again :)

I also heard from Jeff, my sponsored rider for the season, who had competed in the Cohutta 100 in TN. Jeff finished 4th overall, 2nd in the singlespeed class...AWESOME! Watch this kid folks, he's gonna be real good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

As promised, a vid for ya...

I'm pooped, so here's a quick recap for y'all.

Tuesday and Wednesday I finished up the construction in the shop; two windows, one door, new wiring in the addition for lights and outlets, new red awnings and flashing over the door and roll up, re-located the blaster, and hauled a load of scrap wood out to the knob for the next bonfire. Christi figures I was pretty tired from the last couple of days as I chased her out of the bedroom with my snoring...sorry sweetheart.

Lot's happening in the shop today; blew an air line on my media blaster, broke a #0 center drill off in a piece I was working on, cussed a bit, worked on some paint and powder, and finished a stem or two. This was one of those days that work was just and not much fun. Glad that the balance still hangs towards the enjoyment side of the scale.

As promised, here's a quick vid on the fabrication process of a classic LD stem for ya...

Christi came in and packaged/shipped some freshly powdered Luv handles...steelies went out today, Ti next week if you all are watching the mail boxes.
Back to the FD for a three day stretch...hopefully I'll have time to catch up on some coorespondance and post a contest before the month is out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

LD stem's begin...

Today was a 50/50 day...

The first 6 hours I worked on wiring up the new entry room and exterior security lighting, the last 6 I worked on fabrication of some LD stems.

Below is Jerone's stem that will be going on his custom Crisp Ti bike...hoping to get it done and in the mail tomorrow so Darren will have it in time for the European Handbuilt Bicycle show in May.

I'm only throwing up a few pics, as I'm planning on putting together a little video on the process for y'all to enjoy. So here ya go, design work done, laid out on the table, and the stem body cut/bent/mitered/filed...

Add a little heat to draw it all together...
Initial pinch slot cut, pinch bolt tacked and ready for some fillet work...

I'll get this guy all done in the am before I begin electrical wiring and the outside awnings...really hopping lately ;)
Glad it's been raining so that I don't feel like I'm missing out on riding.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thursday, Friday, Saturday Funapalooza!

So, since the bike shop that occupied the front of the building closed last fall, I've been accessing the shop through my large overhead door, a major inconvenience for both me and my customers who stop by. I asked a few friends if they could come help me with putting a door and a few windows in place before the snow flew, no worries I was told. Unfortunately, circumstances change and I spent my winter trying to thaw out the padlocks on my door with a propane torch to gain entry to work each day. Boy, those portable torches do not like to light when it is below zero ;)

Flashing forward to this week, I got the call that my buddies had an opening in their schedule and could come and lend a hand on Thursday and Friday. Horrible timing for the backlog of paint projects I've got going, but a willing volunteer is hard to pass up, so we were off.

Thursday morning I quickly tried to cover all the important items in the shop...I looked like a tornado of plastic sheeting and duct tape, whirling around like a madman before everything would have a layer of concrete dust all over it.

Once satisfied that the efforts were as good as they were going to get, I broke out the K-12 saw and started cutting...

for your perusal, window #1...
Your new entry to my kingdom of color and metal...

I cut out a total of two windows and the entry door, using a chisel on the inside to try and save on as much collateral dust damage as possible. Then it was time to stretch out the back, pump up the biceps, and start swinging the 20# sledgehammer.
Respite with a chalky paste of mingled sweat and concrete dust on my brow, I admire the new entry door, ahem, I mean hole...
The life of a sole builder is a lonely one, working in a concrete box makes is more so. Now I have two more windows from which to gaze upon the world outside and feel that much closer to my fellow man. Too bad I'll have to obscure the view with some bars in the near future...the fellow man in this part of town are not to be entirely trusted :)
The rough framing in, things are starting to take shape...
This window will be above the weld table. You would not think it, tucked behind the dark helmet, but natural light helps a ton with visualization of the weld bead. All you guys working in dark garages and basements know what I mean...
My new guardrail and dumpster view, between the mill and the lathe...
Once the brickmold and inside trim is on, we'll be throwing up two red awnings; one over each door. Should make the shop feel a bit more homey and allow me to keep the overhead door open during inclement weather.
All this construction, while necessary, is putting a serious crunch on my work capability. Of note, is Roger's geared 29er. Roger won this frame/fork/bar in the Groovy Race series drawing at Vulture's Knob last season, qualifying by attending the races and receiving an entry for each event. I was to present his custom prize at the first race of the 2009 season; Saturday morning.
Oh boy, it was 0700 Saturday and his frame/fork/bar were still not in paint yet. That gave me about 10 hours before it needed to be done and presented in front of the 200 attendees of the first race, a collection of discriminating mountain bike enthusiasts. How do I get myself into these tight spots?
Of course, the kit was originally intended to be a simple one color powder coat, but Roger really wanted a red/black/white bike, and it was for the race series promotion and a nod to all the hard work the guys put into it, and I don't want to give away such a "simple" looking frame...anyhoo, it quickly morphed into a more intricate finish :)
Been thinking of building your own frame, is painting part of the process you want to try? If so, there is one thing you should know about paint...NEVER paint when you are in a hurry; simple issues suddenly balloon and make you wish you had never started. Regardless, while others were preparing to race the Knob's fabled trails, I was in a race of my own.
I'm glad to announce that I didn't DNF (Did not finish). Here's Rogers frame, ready to go to the ceremony...
Roger wanted a red/white/black finish that had a modern, racier look. I broke the frame down into top and bottom colors with a white pinstripe to help with the color separation. Where the pinstripe does not go, a backfire fade with airbrushed smoke makes the transition. The custom unicrown fork is all black, the Luv bar is all red.
It was a hectic push, but I made it to the race on time, thanks God!
The evening race was spectacular; gorgeous weather, lots of great people, funky tunes, and good conversation ruled the day. I could not have asked for a better time. Big props go out to Kevin, Jay, and Mike for an awesome event. I'm so proud to be able to help in my own little way with promoting a sport that encourages folks to get off the couch, embrace the outdoors, and share smiles with like minded folks.
I learned a little something about myself on Saturday too. Energy drinks and me do not mix. Hungry and quite parched from beating out the paint on Roger's frame and then talking to folks at the race well into the night, I had not eaten or drank anything all day. I quickly asked Kalten to get me something, anything, to drink. He brought me a product from our co-sponsor...MONSTER Energy drinks. Thirsty and a little loopy, I downed the can and kept going. Little did I know that the "energy" comes mostly from caffeine. Now, you gotta understand, I'm a water or chocolate milk kinda guy, no pop/coffee for me, so I'm pretty much a caffeine virgin.
By 0230 in the morning, I was still laying in bed, staring at the ceiling...I was SO tired but my mind was racing a mile a minute and I could not drift off to slumberland. I finally fell asleep...til 0430. Then I gave up and went to the shop, I figured if I'm going to be up, I might as well be productive. Moral of the story, no more Monsters for me.
Jay dropped his bike off today for a little updating; a new Thomson post, stem and Ti bar. She looks good, no?
Email in the am tomorrow, then I'll start bending LD stems for those who have so patiently been waiting.
check y'all later,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday shop time, brazing and painting...

Monday night was a busy one at the FD and when quitting time rolled around at 0700 I was feeling a bit knackered.

I spent the morning finishing up paint prep on multiple projects.

Most of it was finish brazing and blasting in the media cabinet.

Here's a road frame belonging to Mike S. It's getting some rack braze on's and some fresh paint...a dark British racing green metallic faded to a metallic charcoal on the bottom.

I finally gave up on waiting for Mike W's Fat frame to drain out, so I drilled out the silver filled holes, drained, flushed, and blew it out. I then had to go back and re-braze the tubes closed (all the way this time) so it would be back to it's intended shape.

Here's the Down Tube with a fresh dab of 56%...
And all cleaned up...will be invisible under paint once again.
Blasting took awhile as it has rained constantly the last two days and I was fighting quite a bit of moisture in the air lines due to humidity, despite multiple gravity traps. I've dabbled with the idea of using an air dryer for the entire system, but at 1500 bucks for a quality piece, have just not been able to justify the cost. Perhaps in the near future.
I was able to get a number of pieces in primer and ready for the color layers. I'd have taken some pics for you, to match the already crappy ones above taken by my phone, but I promptly dumped a cup of Omni solvent on it while trying to answer a call while at the paint prep station...crap. The phone is really clean now, but the solvent kinda fused/melted some of the buttons. Still works for now, keeping my fingers crossed ;)
So, the only color to share with y'all is this...
Em made this up in paint while sitting bored in my office, waiting for me to take her home
Kinda a neo-retro impressionist thingy...she was quite proud of it, replacing my current wall paper with it. So much for the early Indian motorcycle I had on there :)
Tomorrow, I'll be cutting concrete to install a new door and two windows in the shop so that folks will not have to let themselves in through the big overhead door. I've been trying to get it done since fall, but time has just not been available. I figured I better hit it now while I have two days of sun projected and before I begin to spray some clear; I'd hate to have to fight with dust nibbets...yuck.
Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for this months contest info...gonna give something cool away.
FatMikeNYC...drop me a call when you can, let's talk about the 83 Fat.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Beautiful weather for a quick ride...

Easter morning dawned cool but sunny. I struggled with whether to spend the daylight hours in the shop or to steal a few of those and ride then work into the night...the ride won. Seriously, how can you love bikes and not take advantage of the rare sunny day in Ohio, it'd be almost criminal.

So I rounded up Kalten and Mike and we headed to the Mohican State Forest, a nice 24 mile single track loop that allows for shorter jaunts to be linked up by bailing out on park roads or cut off loops. The plan for the day was to put in 16 miles, plenty of time on the bike, especially for Kalten who was tackling the hills on a single speed.

Despite the recent rain, the trail was in superb shape as the loomis soil drains quickly and the construction efforts / recent trail work had everything flowing well.

It was a little chilly getting going, but by the end of the first mile climb, the sweat was dripping in my eyes.

the trail is designed to be intermediate friendly, tossing in a few small obstacles to keep it's one of many log pile crossings in the first couple of miles...
Typical rooty trail, keeps you on your toes...
One of the aspects that I enjoy most about riding in MOHO is the scenery...the gorges and the hills never tire the eyes. I certainly appreciate them now, but in the fall when the colors are in full bloom, it is breathtaking, and I'm not just talking about the climbs!

Here's Mikey tackling the steep switchback climb out of the gorge...
'lil ol me coming out of the rock garden, still upright ;)
You can tell that spring is upon us as Kalten rides through an explosion of green in the otherwise muted colors of the forest.
The ride all done, it's time to put the blue skies behind me for the white fluorescence of the paint was good to get out, but will feel better to be caught up in the shop.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Morning guys and gals,

Easter has bloomed bright and cool here in Woo, should be a good day to ride and paint.

Yesterday, I assembled the fillet brazed tandem with a mix of some old and new parts...perfect for Vernon and Betty to buzz around on out in the country.

Vernon and his son, David, came by to pick it up and take it for a test drive, the final impression was two fold;

- Vernon - wow, that bike is fast!

- David - it looks like a grandpa bike...Dad, you're old.

Oh well, can't win everybody over. :)
If you're looking for Easter morning treats, I've got some finds for you. I did some spring cleaning yesterday and came up with some goodies to offer up for y'all...
All new or NOS stuff, here's what we got;
- NOS Syncros seat post 31.8 - 15.00
- Deda seat post 27.2 - 60.00
- Avid BB7 mechanical Disc brakes for use with road levers - 80.00
- Magura HS33 hydraulic canti brakes - 150.00
- Cane Creek SCR5 brake levers with natural and black hoods - 35.00
- NOS Suntour Surpurbe Pro 1.0" threaded Headset - 50.00
- WTB drop bars, 25.4 and 30 degree sweep - 45.00
- Shimano LX front derailleur, 9 speed 34.9 clamp - 15.00
- XT 9 speed chainrings 44, 32, 22 104 bolt pattern - 60.00
- Rohloff chain tensioners...perfect for those SS conversions - 45.00 each
- Crank brothers 50/50 pedal plates in pewter - 10.00
- Profile Airstrike aero bars - 60.00
- Fat Chance Yo Eddy fork, 1.0", threaded with 5.325" steerer, 15.5 atc, painted in Sunrise Red Metallic with Prismatic - 315.00

Prices do not include shipping, drop a comment below if you would like an item and then follow up by email to .
Hope y'all get lots of chocolate in your basket...gotta love that Easter Bunny!