Saturday, May 30, 2009

Do you know your builder?

Niner, Vassago, Salsa, Surly, etc...names new and old that hit the radar each year with products touting to be new, innovative, and the best money for your fun dollar. With a plethora of bike brands consistently flourishing and adding to the mix, you gotta wonder where all these frames are coming from. Unfortunately, not from our shores.

Truth be told, bicycle manufacturing in the US has changed significantly in the past 50 years. The big manufacturers have been unable to keep up in the cost wars with the Asian market's efficient, accurate, inexpensive workforce. The mid sized production shops where many of todays established builders cut their teeth suffered under the changing market place, rising benefit/salary costs, and have since scaled down, leaving single builder operations. Serrotta, Vicious and IF are fine examples of mid sized shops that have sustained, even thrived, despite the changing times.

So, with fewer builders out there with the skills to run a production scale business, who is driving these new bike lines? Creative designers who are following market trends, anticipating changes, and working in production numbers that allow for fluidity in business models, that's who.

The folks who are bringing these ideas to fruition on a daily basis are contract manufacturers overseas. Giant is one of the largest contract manufacturers worldwide, building for literally a hundred other name brands. Add in a host of other smaller companies, and you've got the parents of many of the most recognized brands out there and many more you've never heard of. You've had an opportunity to check out what goes on daily in a one guy shop through my eyes, here's a look inside a contract builders floor...

I like to run through promotional vids like this, not that I'm really interested in the product, but I'm constantly looking in the background at the fixturing, processes, and shop floors. What I constantly come back to is the realization just how similar the large and small scale workplaces are. Fabrication of a bicycle really distills down to a methodical process, with required checks and balances, and a focus on creating a functional product. In that vein, big and small are much alike.

Where the differences lie are in the attention to small detail for the individual customer, the fact that one set of hands attend to the whole process, artistic flair, and that you've got a personal relationship with the guy making your dream a reality. Try calling the chick with the glasses in the video on a Sunday afternoon to ask for advice on components or set up...somehow I don't think she'll be picking up the phone for ya.

So where am I going with all this...I don't know. Just thought I'd put it out there. I guess when I see folks post on forums touting the superiority of their bikes, I wonder how much they really know about their origins, the people who built it, and why they choose it to be the one for them. I want folks who ride a Groovy to want to be on it because they took the time to know me, trust me to take care of them, and like the vibe coming out of the shop. Maybe a little self indulgent, but I guess there is some silent validation in there somewhere.

Leave me a comment, tell me why you chose the bike you are on... an inquiring mind wants to know.



Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday's for the goose (neck that is)

Here ya go, my entire day can be summed up with this pic...
Lot's of time spent in front of the lathe making a pile of quill adaptors in all sizes for the LD/Goose Neck stems I've had on my plate all week.
What are these fine contraptions you ask? Well, for folks who wish to use drop bars on a mountain bike, the conundrum is a way to get your bars high enough to allow for proper physical positioning in the cockpit. With a standard mountain bike stem, you would be stretched out and in a race/low position. The solution for this problem is a stem that has lots-o-rise with little forward placement. There are many ways for this system to be attached to the bike, but the historical attachment is this...using a threaded headset, a two part piece consisting of a solid stub and an expanding wedge is fabricated and the wedge end is slid into the steerer. A recessed bolt passes through the piece and is then tightened, fixing the wedge into the steerer. The LD stem is then slid over the solid stub and tightened down using a pinch bolt. Wha-La, ready to ride.
So, now that you've got the gist, here's how I make the quill adaptor...

Let's start with some 6061 AL in 1.25" diameter I measure and cut the rough length based on the needs of the individual application/bike, here, placed in the cold saw for a little shortening
Once cut to length, the material is placed in the lathe and the real work begins. This quill adaptor is for Kevin K, and will be turned down to a 1.125 stub, separating ring, and then a .875 wedge to fit inside a standard 1.00 threaded steerer.
I turn down the OD sections first, then drill through the entire piece with a 5/16 drill bit to set up for the 3/8 tap. I run the tap in the to be wedge end, then flip the piece over in the lathe and drill out a larger diameter shaft with some slop to allow the bolt to float through easily. This is important to allow for the eventual wedge have room to offset from the centerline to place pressure on the walls of the steerer. After the second drilling, I then counter sink the stub end for the head of the bolt using a 2 flute end mill. Clearing the pile of now shaved asunder aluminum, I move the piece to the sawing fixture and cut my 60 degree angle for the wedge. All the edges get filed/sanded down and here's what ya got...
Once fit all together with the stem and steerer tube, it is a nice strong unit that creates the rider position we need for those dirt drop bikes...

A few weeks ago, I made one of these for Jeroen, who's bike was headed to the European Handbuilt Show, kindly put on by Ibra and Indra for the benefit of our European counterparts (I'm taking cycling enthusiasts, whether attendees or builders). Here you can see the completion of Jeroen's vision...a Crisp Titanium bike with Groovy stem and Pott's Type 2 fork. Can you say "HOT!"
A big welcome to Tim L who joined the build list today for his race El Jefe. I've not been real good with keeping the web site updated but will try to get on that this weekend when I've got nothing else going on ;)
For all those asking "What's up with the Hot Rods?", I've got a text and a voicemail in with Bill G so when I hear more, I'll be sure to send it along.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rainy Day, Happy Fox :)

A rainy day makes for frowny faces... "raining cats and dogs" could not hold a candle to this downpour. The new awinings sure are nice for keeping the doors open and the weather out.

Happy smiles came with the Big Brown truck. The new 2010 F29 Fox forks are finally shipping and a new re-design of the internals are promised to offer one of the best active shocks available for the big wheeled crowd.
As for me...more stem work today, lots of customer conversation time, and packing/stuffing/taping up boxes. Shipping day tomorrow. Some cool stuff headed out the door, hope they make folks smile.

Hump day musings...

Wish I could entertain y'all with exciting tales from the shop today, but alas, things were fairly quiet as today was the day I burned doing all the mundane chores such as paying bills, ordering supplies, filing, and preparing quarterly sales tax info...blech!

I did get some creativity time though, as I finished up three more LD stems and got to do some wrenching. Bill from Ride On had been after me to get him a bike for display in his shop. As everything I build is custom for each customer, I really don't have a lot of product just hanging around gathering dust. Then I remembered one item from the rafters...the Rasta Yo replica. This guy was built for the handmade show a few years ago and was sold, then the customer had to back out on the deal due to some financial hardship. Up into the shelves it went where I forgot about it. Given the current need, I pulled it down and built it up to send to the LBS.

A nice mix of retro and modern parts, it has Phil wheels rolling on Timbuk2s from First Flight, Onza brakes, Thomson stem and post, Groovy Ti bar, an XT 1x9 drive train, and a NOS perforated Flite Ti saddle...yummy.

If nothing else, it should be an eye catcher for the shop.
Jeff P stopped by to get his single speed all ready for this weekends Mohican 100 off road race. I can't imagine doing 100 miles off road on a single speed, let alone racing it, but Jeff is all set to go. Good luck to ya!
In a flash of vintage reminiscence, Michael M. brought his IF #52 out to ride with me in the evening. Despite ominous weather with rolling thunder clouds and the occasional rumble, we had a nice ride tossing through the woods carving up the turns. After the sweaty glow of fun had subsided, we chilled under the pavilion and chatted as the rain drops started to fall. A nice end to a good day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Monday, honor, fabrication, and fun

Monday was Memorial Day to honor those that serve and have served in the service of our country. As a member of our fire department, I participated in the parade walking as a member of our honor guard, carrying the colors of our country.

It was a nice turnout from the community, lining the streets to view the procession. The guys from the local bike shop came out to ride as a group, dressed in red/white/blue; Bill sporting the penny farthing and Hoss on an offset wheeled bike.

A nice brunch with the family wrapped up the morning then I was off to the shop. I got started today on a few more LD stems and some Ho forks. Jeroen was disappointed that I did not show how I bent the tubing when I did the LD video, so here ya go guy...

The bodies on these stems are 1.125 4130 tubing and are loaded into my JD3 bender, which has shaped dies that completely wrap around the tubing to support the wall and prevent wrinkles or uneven stretch marks. It looks a bit complex to set up, but believe me, if I can figure it out, anyone can :)
After a few moments pulling the tubing through the dies, we've got a nicely shaped piece of steel.
I lay out each stem on the table first, so I can discern the appropriate rise and reach for each order, then make the miters to keep all my centerlines intact. Here are a few stems all mitered up and ready for tacking...

After some welding and brazing on of the pinch bolts, I called it a day and got ready to spend the evening with some friends riding a bit of single track then cooking out in the last rays of light. I paused long enough to photo some of the flora along the trail, which along with the mosquitoes, are in full bloom.

I ran the new puppy on the trail with the kids for a few short laps and he did really well. The highlight of the ride being when I was cruising down a short flat section, moving quickly with a large deer running about 20 feet in front of me and Frankie jingling along at break neck pace behind. Too cool.
As the sun set, it was nice to chill with some friends and family and enjoy a nice balanced day; a little community service, 6 hours having fun in the shop, and time with family and friends. We should all be so lucky.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Groovy Open House '09 and Race Series #2

A little round up of the last few days for you.

Mike's road frame finally got out of the starting blocks when the Cane Creek 110 headset finally landed. I had already prepped the frame, so I pressed it into place, mounted up the fork, and gave it all a final wipe with polish before handing the assembly off to Bill at Ride On, the LBS down the alley.

Mike is planning on riding this bike from Pittsburgh to Washington DC the first part of June, so it was nice to get it done in time for him to ride it for a bit before starting the adventure. Here's a shot of the custom rack all mounted up...should do just dandy for carrying his overnight kit.

The Open house was scheduled to start at 1000 hours Saturday and approached more quickly than I would have liked. Friday evening, two "emergency" repairs came into the shop to be resolved before the morning so the customers could have their bikes for the Holiday weekend. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to burn the midnight oil to get them done. I finished up around 0800 and took a look around...what a mess! I put the call in for Christi to rouse Kalten from bed and get his butt down to the shop to help me clean up the mess. I was sweeping out the final dirt (with the air hose) while the first visitors arrived...too close for comfort.
Tired, sweaty and now dust covered from my efforts, I greeted the first arrivals. Not my best look, but hey, they came to see what goes on in a frame shop and honestly, this is how I look most the time :)
Some of the Mansfield crew chatting it up before the 5 minute tour...
A line up of Groovys on display; actually just outside to make room for everyone to come in :)

Winning the longest driving award was Grant from Canada. Grant had just completed his immersion into building with a class at Brew Cycles and was able to stop by for a visit on the way back through. Here's a pic of the proud builder with his new ride and painted to match Luv...

Christi saved my bum by doing all the food shopping for me, an effort that everyone enjoyed. Wanna know the secrete to having a successful small frame business? The spouses that support, work, and console behind the scenes make it all possible...thanks baby!

Kevin, Mike and Dusty came down from Akron and the Camba club to check things out. Here are some of them chatting it up with Ben from Ride On and Jeff, my sponsored racer du jour.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time talking with everyone that made it out. Here Michael and I got to peruse the resto shelves and the special bikes that are here for work. I talked Michael into coming back to Woo on Wednesday to do a little riding with me...old slow guys unite!
All told, we had 24 folks stop by...many I met for the first time. I definitely enjoyed it and am looking forward to doing it again in 2010.
After rapidly closing the doors, it was time to get out to the course to set up for the second race in the Groovy series at Vulture's Knob. Kevin, Mike, Dusty and Jay had already worked their tails off in the morning getting ready, so all I had to do was set up my stuff and get Kalten prepped for the race.
The day was perfect; 80 degrees, sunny with a light breeze, and the course was dry and fast. As registration closed, we had 77 racers out to enjoy the event, an excellent turn out for a series that has led to the rebirth of a great course.
As always, the race had it's share of ups and downs...Kalten rode well in only his second race, taking first in the Novice 29 and under class on his single speed, definite up.
Lindsay, one of our regional hard core girls, started the race with a broken elbow that she has been nursing back to health. Some of the technical aspects of the trail were not kind to her and she had to DNF in quite a bit of pain; both emotional and physical. Big downer. She's a tough cookie though and I know she'll be back in fine form soon.
We've really been working hard to make the race series a family event and encourage folks to stay and enjoy this special area. To that end, we had quite a few families stay the night, including ours. Some how I found time between running around to get the tents set up. As an FYI, camping out here at the Knob is free to all and quite beautiful. We just ask that you drop a few bucks into the can if you are riding to help us keep up with trail maintenance costs.
As the sun began to set, we finished up the awards and got ready for the evening activities; a rousing bonfire, Super Funky tunes from DJ Madnote, and a brilliant round of large caliber fireworks for all the kids (big and small), courtesy of our on site explosive technician Tim.
Good conversation went on into the night and finally around 0100 I finally turned in...what a great day.
So, now that it's Sunday evening, I'll leave you with this. Riding today out at Moho forest, I was talking with a guy about the advantages of the Rohloff system, one such item being no rear derailleur hanging out there to be ripped off, leaving you pushing your way out the trail. As fate would have it, our conversation came to fruition when Dan L. bashed his derailleur on a rock, tearing it from the frame. As I worked to shorten his chain to give him a single gear to ride out on, Mike J. stood over us and let this jewel fly...
"A rear derailleur is just like a scrotum, only attached to your ankle where it will get bashed by everything...that just 'aint good"
What a disturbing analogy ;)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mucho Gusto Monday...Xood it up!

The sun rose with a glimmer over Albright's Welding supply as I eagerly waited in the parking lot for the shop to open. The wind was a bit brisk as it bit my face, I had to pee, and I was giddy with anticipation to get my welder up and running to catch back up on the two days I lost.

As the first dew covered cars rolled into the parking lot, I could imagine the guy's thoughts when they pulled in for the first work day of the week and saw me sitting there on the hood of my trusty red Volvo wagon, parts in my lap..."Oh crap, what's this goofball need now?"

I felt kinda like a begger on the street vying for passer by's attention..."hey guys, can you help me fix my stuff?", rattling the electrode ends in place of a few loose coins in a tin cup. Fortunately, the old school tech Steve took it all in stride. Into the back room of the shop and a few quick checks of the peripherals and the differential diagnosis was completed; bad power cable in the tig torch. A quick purchase and I was back in business...why can't these guys work over the weekend too?

A quick check for function once hooked back up and I was off working on the June bar schedule. Based on the flow seen here on Aki's Ti bar, I think the welder is working smooth again...

This bar is going on a custom frame that Stevie over at Coconino is working on. Check it out on his blog,

With renewed urgency to catch up, the day wore on. Pretty soon, my little ball of string began to wind down. A quick check of the clock told the tale of why, 0130 in the morning. Crap! I gotta get up in four hours to go to the FD. A quick run home, a few email replies, more food than I should have ate due to the late hour/ endorphin rush and I was off to beddy by . A good day overall, nice to have the shop flowing again.

Now, I promised y'all a contest for this month, so I want to introduce your prize..XOOD!

This electrolyte replacement drink mix was thought up by two cardiologists in AZ to fill a performance drink need; a no non-sense full strength replacement beverage with mild taste, no artificial coloring or flavors, and easy digestion.

These two guys believe so hardily in their product that they have funded the entire project with their own capital, sponsor grass root athletes, and have been very supportive of advancing dietary performance technology beginning at the local scene.

Ok, despite all the techno babble, let me tell you, this stuff works. The last couple of months, I've been dieting and riding hard (for me), a recipe for major bonking. Using XOOD, I've been successful in avoiding physical deterioration, avoiding cramps and dehydration. A friend, Emily Francone, is racing for them this year and I was so impressed with the product, I promised to help spread the word.

So, I want to pass on a 10 pack to one of you to try. If you are interested in gobbling up some of this yummy stuff, simply tell us all about your worst Bonk episode. I want to hear the gory details... in a fatigued state, did you run into a tree in front of your riding buddies, forget to unclip and fall over at the group rest break, or just babble incoherently as you finally arrived at the trailhead...all things I have done :) Post it up in the comments area for all to see. Oh yeah, gotta be a regular reader/follower to win...never to late to register (hint hint).

I'll let the kids decide who gets the goods, the rest of us will just enjoy learning more about you through your story.



Sunday, May 17, 2009

a mix mash weekend...

I'd be lying if I didn't say that the weekend was an emotional rollercoaster.

Friday I sat down to finish up the last of the bars on the June list so that I could focus on forks and stems this next week. Spent an hour cleaning/dusting the shop, wiping down the surfaces, and prepping for some Ti welding. Got the material triple cleaned, dropped my hood and went to strike my arc and FZZZZZZZ. WTF? Reposition and try again...FZZZZZ, nothing more than a weak wandering arc with no love. Ohh, this is not good.

Long story short, I spent the weekend totally taking apart my machine, cleaning every connection, plug, and wire, making a few desparate calls to friends for solutions and/or equipment to borrow, and finally put out a plea for help on the Miller welding forum. I've traced it down to a melted filament in the torch line...I hope. Cause? Well, the filaments that feed the tig torch are like micro-hairs surrounded by a outer sheath of water to keep them cool. During my total break down of my machine, I found that my coolant filter was encased in algae and was restricting the flow. A bit too much heat is all it takes to ruin a weekend of work. Tomorrow morning I'll confirm it with the local weld shop and spend the 350 bucks to get back in business.

So anyways, say a little prayer that I'm up and running Monday so y'all don't have to wait any longer than you already have.

Hitting the rewind buttom a bit, here was Friday morning's project; Doug's Salsa redeux.

Doug had a bit of an "accident", leaving a hole in his top tube adjacent to his head tube. I closed the hole, made a custom gusset plate and welded it in a few months back. I got to re-finishing the frame Thursday and Friday. Behold, his "new" El Mariachi 29er frame in a milky white with blood red decals.

His matching fork and stem complete the kit. Looks pretty clean, should be killer once built.
Spring has been pretty wet here of late and I've been trying to get out a few rides a week. Here's a good visual of why I like full length cable housing...

The grimy/sticky mud abounds on the trail and will eat up your cables if left bare and exposed.
Been feeling pretty good lately and tomorrow night, I'll show ya what I've been using to avoid the big ol BONK. In fact, let's do a little contest. Giving stuff away always makes me feel better.
See y'all tomorrow,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Choppers, bars, stems, racks...oh my!

Hey folks,

Sorry that I've not posted much the last two days, but I've been putting in long days actually working in the shop, and quite honestly, since I'm on vacation from the fd this week, have enjoyed going to bed and sleeping for a change :)

One nice thing about the change in the weather is that I can keep the overhead door open to the shop. Lots of interesting folks stop by when the door is open; old friends, established customers, curious onlookers, and a of course, the local kids.

Monday brought one local kid from the hood into the shop...his bike had a 2" hole in the top tube where his "gas tank" had been ripped asunder and he was looking for some help fixing the damage. Despite being slammed and behind, how can you say no to good karma? Check out the hole in the top tube, located just beneath his arm...

I cut a section of 4130, split it in half, shaped it around a mandrel, then welded it in place. We also bent his forks back into alignment so that he could put the original 20" tire back on, as they were badly raked forward. Another save ;) ... I just hope he doesn't get a ticket for riding his chopper without a helmet.
Staying true to the effort to shed some pounds, my typical shop lunch...lots of veggies and some 0 cal water. I'm down 25 pounds now and rode 20 of the 24.5 miles at Moho forest this weekend. I wanted to finish the trail and reach my goal, but when I pulled up the the next section of trail where Kalten was waiting and he asked "Dad, are you OK? You look kinda pale", I figured it was a good time to bail onto the road to finish up. That darn kid did the same trail on a single speed, taking the climbs like they were goose bumps and not the hour long efforts I experienced. Oh to be young again!

I jammed out bars, the outstanding April stuff that I'm behind on (so sorry guys) and May/June work. Looking at a total of 75 bars the last two days. Getting ready to begin welding...

Once I sit down, I want to keep in the groove so I have lots of Tungsten sharp and available, although some of them are getting pretty darn worn to a nub...

The box for steelies is filling up for powder coating...
Those who have been so patient; Neil, Jeff, Alan, Jim...Christi will be shipping your Ti bars out on Friday. Thanks for understanding guys.
I also got moving on Basti's stem. After a few design changes, we settled on a 1.125" steerer stem with 90mm reach at 90 degrees, with a single bolt wide 31.8 handlebar clamp. Here are the critical pieces all cut down, faced and deburred on the lathe.

Let's get started by fitting the stem body to the steerer section and holding it tight in the vice to tack...nice and tight fit.
Tacking it in six aspects around the piece...
Once tacked, I check the alignment once more, then sequentially weld it together...
After welding, I set the stem up in a fixture on the mill and miter the handlebar clamp section in. Here it is all deburred and ready to fit...
Let's tack on the handlebar section, then check alignment. Here I'm using a 3 foot section of tubing as a mock handlebar to insure that everything is straight and true. The level tells no lies...
Satisfied that everything is as straight as possible, the piece is welded up and then the binders are placed for brazing...
I've used 45% silver and white flux to secure the binders, fresh out of the torch...see how nice the silver flows around the binders? You want an even, smooth bead around the piece for the greatest strength and visual flow.
Basti's stem then got soaked, binders cut, and then ran through the blast cabinet. This stem will be getting a nice glossy black powder coat and a single Groovy crown decal, simple and classy.
I also worked on a stem for Eric while I was in the mindset, got it into primer before moving on to other work...
I then turned my focus towards finishing Mike's custom light touring rack. Mike wanted something a bit more classy and minimalist than the standard racks that are available, I hope I hit the mark with this one. Fingers crossed.
Tonight, I quit early at 6 o'clock to try and grab a ride, unfortunately, Ohio weather spoiled the attempt. It began raining as I was loading up the bike, then began POURING when I started to lock up. Bike back off the car...looks like I'll be building wheels tonight inside instead.
Ibra...your request is looking good. I'll know something more definitive tomorrow.
See y'all tomorrow with more fun posting,

Friday, May 8, 2009

Trailside emergencies...

Don't you hate it when you have a mechanical on the trail that threatens your whole ride? I know I do. I tend to leave myself open to these types of emergencies more often then most, as I am horrible about maintaining my own bike...never enough time.

I do get kinda a sadistic satisfaction out of helping out when others break down. Like a superhero, I'm always ready to spring into action (there's a reason my camelback feels like a brick...all those tools!) to come to the rescue.

This last time out, I must admit, I was even surprised at what I was facing. Mike's Magura brake lever had self destructed, ending up with a lost pivot barrel into the leaves somewhere in the vast Mohican wilderness. The pivot barrel is crucial, as it is the piece that stabilizes the lever, allowing it to rotate and provide leverage/travel. Without it, the lever just flops around worthlessly, attached only by the hydraulic cylinder.

Hmm...what to do?

Like McGyver (that famous TV show where the main character can build a nuclear bomb out of toothpicks, bubble gum, and a ginseng leaf), I quickly looked around for options and bammo, here ya go...

Take one knife and one stick...
Whittle down until it fits tightly...
and press it in place...
The fix has lasted for two days and numerous miles. Hope it holds up until Magura gets me the replacement parts :)
What's been your craziest trailside repair?
Have a good weekend all,

a fine Thursday for paint...Mike S's bike

Thursday awakened bright and sunny...a welcome break from the rainy spring norm in Ohio, but a tough day to stay in the shop and work ;)

Roger, the winner of the Groovy free custom frame/fork/bar from the '08 race series, stopped by to pick up his winnings and show off his two boys. They are going to build the bike together, as I've got a feeling Dad loves to share his fun with his family.

I focused on Mike's road bike today. Mike has a loyal road frame that he loves to use for sport riding and light touring, but it needed a face lift. We are going to spray it up in some deep subtle hues; a metallic British racing green to metallic black moondust fade. Here we start off with a freshly stripped and blasted frame, all blown off and wiped down, ready for primer.
I mixed up the primer nice and thin so that it lays down smooooth...
Between each application of primer, the frame gets flashed off in the bake box for about 20 minutes then sanded down with 600grit paper to give a nice mechanical tooth for the next coat and to level out any irregularities in the finish. Taking your time here is important, as any imperfections at this stage will be ugly warts in the final finish.
It was so sunny, I did my sanding outside :)

After the primer is all finished, I moved on to the color stages...three coats of British racing green gave a nice deep look
I then faded in the moondust on the lower sections of the frame, covering all of the chainstays and bottom bracket, fading up the tubes to the mid waterbottle level.
After flashing off, it was on to the clear stages...
The frame will receive three coats of clear, baked and sanded between each coat. Here's number one into the box...
When the frame comes out, it looks so nice and sexy, you almost hate to sand it down. But truth be told, despite it's good looks, the frame needs the multiple coats for durability and visual depth. Here I am taking down the first clear to an even base...
The process will repeat it's self numerous times today, another shiny layer goes on...
After a final 4 hour bake at a lower temp, the frame will be ready to have it's last special item applied, a custom Jen Greene headbadge...
Jen does superb work, taking customer supplied images and turning them into silver works of art. A young Bob Dylan will adorn this frame when finished. Add in some new Ultegra components and Phil/Mavic wheels, and Mike will have a super ride for years to come.
Emmy came down after school to help out, cleaning up the machines and helping me tidy up a bit. Here she caught me cleaning out the gun after a clear coat session. The clothes are getting a bit baggy!

Of course, you gotta have the manditory cute puppy shot...Frankie is getting bigger. Soon we'll be able to begin running him on the trail with our other dog. Should be quite a posse on the trail soon :)
Welding up the some more bars today, then next week I'm on vacation from the fire department so will be working on Basti's stem, forks for lots of folks, and perhaps another resto. I'm gonna push really hard this month to clean some patient projects off the build list before hitting frames hard again in June.