Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day One...pretty busy and good grubin

Day one was pretty busy, perhaps exceeding many folks anticipation for Indy. Don put out an update that over 24,000 tickets had been pre-sold for the weekend, a number that already exceeds last year in Portland. Let me tell you, the cash line to get in was loooong too.

I asked Aaron Grove to snap some shots of interesting stuff for me, this is some of what he came back with...thanks Aaron!

Goyo's blinged out bike, all built up...

James's work from Blacksheep...
Craig Calfee has been toking up again ;)...
A track bike from Vanilla, chasing the Presidents award...
A Ti/Carbon track bike...
An interesting wood bar and lever from Renova...
A circus like display of color from a Japanese company that specializes in fixies...
Day one concluded with a trip to Maxine's Chicken a Waffels, a hidden gem of Southern style comfort food just outside of downtown, here's the group shot of those who made the walk (Daryll, Aaron, Sean, Wes, Duane, not pictured me and Bill). Check out the first Flight blog for the reciprocol shot from Wes :)
Yum...smothered chicken over mashed potatoes, homemade mac and cheese and collered greens.
Wes with his chicken and waffels...

Great sweet tea served up by Danielle, our server.
Got hit the show floor, more tonight,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Nahbs 09

Quick post for y'all...worked through the night Wednesday and was four hours late leaving for Indy, but I' got all the bikes built, the booth loaded, and ready to rock.

First day was good, lots of cool folks and stuff to see, but with a hotel room full of folks and South Park on the screen, I'm ready to call it a night.

I'm going to download some of the other guys photos and put up a big post tomorrow night.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Final paint/prep frame done...whoo :)

Short and sweet post...

22 hour day today, gonna sleep for a few then start assembling.

Here's Mikes rattlesnake coupler bike. Bad pics, but it is 230 in the morning ;)


Monday, February 23, 2009

Bob Ross I'm not...getting sick of painting

Ughh, seems like all I've been doing is cleaning the paint guns, again and again and again...wahh.

Here's a few pics while I'm home for a quick bite to eat; more Goyo bike porn and a coupled 29er with some wild vibrant color.

Looking pimp...
Painted to match fork...
A clean masked slider...
Liquid fire...

One more frame to push through finishing and then I can start assembling en masse.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday...communing with the air brush

The belt drive project has been a long haul and I wanted to finish it off with a paint job I've been jonesing to try...a tribute to the classic WWII bombers.

Growing up near an airport, there was this old decommissioned bomber that sat outside the hanger as a relic of time past. Weathered and forgotten, it still had a measure of pride as it sat motionless. I remember it's riveted shell sporting stains of rust and haphazardly placed id numerals offset in color by a hand painted bullseye. It was one of those childhood curiosities...boy I would have liked to jump the fence and climb into it if only for a few moments.

I wanted to recreate this childhood memory but have not found the right project, til now.

So, that's the backstory, here's the frame... and fork to match. Gonna build it up with blue anno king parts and a polished crank.

I hope this one flies!



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Time is runing out...

Yep, I've been full steam, averaging somewhere between 14 and 17 hour days right now. Probably won't go home the last two days before the show. It's easy to forget just how long everything takes when it's just one guy.

I was not going to put up much of the show bikes, but Goyo has been hankering for a taste of paint, so what the heck...

Goyo is one special guy. When his father, who was instrumental in bringing cycling into his life, passed away the family was left with a hole in their life. Goyo decided to take his passion for cycling and honor is father by starting a festival in his honor. Not only did this festival bring together his family, but the whole community pitches in and it has now become world renowned gathering of folks who love to have fun on two wheels.

In commissioning a new bike, Goyo wanted it to incorporate the colors from the festival logo, a rich blue and yellow.

In designing the bike, I took some special care to insure that the details were looked after; not only staying true to the colors but also the graphic details as well, the cog and rounded banner.

So, the bike sports some rich metallic radiance colors that will explode with vibrancy in the sun (disclaimer...cell phone pics just do not due it justice).

The main body of the bike is a midnight metallic blue...what could be hiding under all that masking?
Lets peel away some and see...oh, it's a sparkly sunshine yellow :) Should look good in the Philippine sun.
With the masking off, it's really starting to look like something.

Decals and the first of 5 coats of clear...

Goyo's ride will sport painted to match White Brothers 650b Magic fork and Luv handles...should be very cool.
Gonna go to sleep for a few hours then back at it before the sun rises.
Nighty night,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bathed in paint...

Show bike paint today...I'll throw up some pics of Jay's bike as he's on the road watching for updates from Asia, travel safely my friend.

Yesterday, we laid down three layers of primer, today I started by sanding the frame down with 600 grit paper to give a smooth finish and good mechanical adhesion. Jay's paint is going to be a deep black background with translucent metallic blue and green brush strokes. These will compliment a mix of blue/green/silver ano parts. Should be pretty hot. Here's three layers of gloss black, sprayed with a lot of reducer to keep the coat thin and smooth.
Through the magic of the blogosphere, we're to the color stage! The bike is split tops and tails, Indy green on top, grandeur blue on the bottom. No clear yet, just the color layers. Once the clear goes down, the depth will really begin to evolve.
and a shot of the Ho fork...
I put down the first layer of clear and baked it off, so the parts will be ready for sanding and decals in the morning. I had hoped to be done with this frame today, but everything always takes longer than you plan.
I was able to get 6 bars and a combo sprayed up today as well, so I guess things went pretty well.
Email from this point til the show is over will not be a priority for me with time being so tight, so don't expect a response from me for the next week. If it's really important, leave me a voice mail and I'll get back to ya.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday paint a palooza...

I had a media guy come up to me Sunday evening last year at Nahbs and matter of factly ask, "Who does your paint?"

A bit confused, I responded. "Uhh, I do."

To which he added... "Really? That's odd"

In the ensuing conversation, I found out that of all the exhibitors he had seen that weekend, less than 5 (by his account) not only built but painted their own creations.

My initial reaction...that's really sad. Let me tell ya why.

One of the aspects of building bicycles that I enjoy most is controlling the progression of a project from visualization to reality. Being able to shape the end product into a fulfillment of the customers desires with my own skills is quite satisfying. So I am constantly amazed at the number of builders who don't embrace the same opportunity, instead choosing to end their work at the fabrication stage. Now, don't misunderstand, I'm not getting down on those who do not do their own paint work, just discouraged that more are not sharing in the fulfillment that comes with doing all the work yourself.
So why aren't more guys throwing their own color? Paint is a elegant, artistic, super fun aspect of the build process that enriches the artist and further completes the vision. Conversely, it also has a very steep learning curve, is intolerable of poor technique, is tres expensive, and can be a frustrating process at times.
It also is a terrible time sink...
How often do you see someone walk up to a new bike and comment "Damn, look how tight those miters are?" or "I really like the butted tubing used on this frame". Yeah, I know, it just does not happen. Often the first thing to catch someones attention is the paint on the frame. A good painter can make a turd attractive, and conversely, a beautifully constructed frame can be lost in a poorly applied finish. This is where the time sink comes in. I often spend as much time on paint work as fabricating the part being painted took. I've botched lots of jobs, resulting in hours of time lost and money literally down the drain. But it's forced me to grow, attain new skills, and excel in uncomfortable directions...and I've still got a long way to go.

I suppose there are lot's of factors to consider, both for and against doing your own work; time, expense, skill sets, environmental concerns, interest, quantity of products produced. I don't know, just kinda rambling as I'm pretty tuckered out.

Paint...I like it. Wish more guys would give it a shot, literally :)
So anyhoo, I got started on lots of paint today. Just to show ya what goes into one finish, here are all the liquid supplies for Jay's Bigwheel.
Them thar are lots o' cans my friends. Each one has a specific purpose. You got your primer, your catalyst, your reducer, your base color, your highlight color, your translucent colors, your clear, your hardener...the list goes on. Knowing what to do with all this stuff is really what matters.
So today, I began work on 4 frames, 3 forks, and 11 bars. All of them needed a minimum of 3 primer coats, each baked and sanded between coats. That pretty much filled up the day's activities. Spray, bake, sand, repeat. Here's a bake box full of goodies...Goyo's and Jay's frames.

Goyo's frame after sanding...ready for the next trip to the booth.

In between sessions in the booth, I had lots of deliveries. Here are some of the goodies that arrived.
I also grabbed a few minutes and pulled the material for Steven's Klunker 29er. Most likely will start on this when I get back, as I want it to have my full attention and due diligence. I had hoped to have it done for the show, but it will be better for both of us if we wait.
I got some bad news today as well. I finally heard from Bill Grove after an uncommon absence. Seems he tore his rotator cuff in his shoulder, ironically, working out to strengthen the area. He's been down with a broken wing the last week and lost some more time on the cranks. As terrible as he feels, I think I feel worse. You see, I encouraged Bill to reintroduce the Hot Rods as his desire to step back into the building scene was eating him up. We both figured this could be a project that would allow him to work at a measured pace in the evenings, enjoy the time in the shop, and leave everybody with a warm fuzzy feeling. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Multiple sub-contractor errors have cost mucho time and money, living the dual life of bread winner and builder has been very stressful on Bill, and now he's physically broken to boot. I wonder if everybody would be happier if I'd never suggested the idea. On a positive note, both Hubby and I have offered to step in to help get the project wrapped up and it looks like that will be happening in the coming weeks. So, for everyone who has waited oh so patiently, I ask that you give it a bit more time, and hopefully we'll get some product out in April.
See ya tomorrow,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Maintenance Monday

Ever have one of those days where you basically spend all your time just getting ready for what comes next? Yeah, me too. Today was one of those days. All the little projects I've been putting off began to come to a head as I get ready for the last push before the show, so I banged them out to be able to move fluidly the next week.

Little project #1 - actually screw my bar queue for the paint booth to the wall. Seems like a simple enough job, but then ya gotta drag out the hammer drill, buy the longer tapcons, blah blah blah. I've made up all kinds of excuses the last year why I've not done it, but after having the rack full of product almost dislodged from it's semi-permanent stance, I figured it was time to get 'er done. Nice and tight now ;)
Little project #2 - replace the paint booth filters and clean the ceiling/walls. Yep, if it sounds glamorous, it must be! Nothing but good times here :) I have to replace my filterwall about 4 times a year. Not a hard job, just a pain as I typically wait too long to do the job and by the time I get around to it, the filters are LOADED with paint residue that is Nasty with a capital N. When the filters fill up, the air flow is reduced, so lot's of little nibs and dusties accumulate on the ceiling and walls ready to foul your perfect clear coat. So all the surfaces get brushed, wiped, vacuumed, and then misted so all is ready for a new onslaught of paint this week.

Here's some spanky new filters and shiny walls as a backdrop for Jay's frame, fresh out of the media cabinet and ready for some primer. Paint pics tomorrow night for ya.

Bigger project #3 - I ran up to United Titanium and picked up my Ti end caps for the Luv handles, one more piece of the puzzle to get and I'll be able to finish this months order. Seems that .875 x 035 Ti is very hard to get, as I've been backordered now for two months and my normal multiple sources are all claiming scarcity. I've got enough stock left for February's bars, but was hoping to make some for the show and send out March as well...we'll see.

Little project #4 - I'm doing a bit different color tone for one of the show bikes and prepped these 960's (my favorite XTR crank) for a new finish...a sexy pewter chrome.

Little project #5, 6, 7... slotted Jay's bb, reamed the seat tube, washed/degreased the frame, mounted the new bender and it's pedestal in the mechanics room, bent up a bunch of headbadges, polished dropout plates for the slider bikes, moved my demo rack to make room to move in some more machines, replaced the ballast and switch in my blast cabinet, and finalized the design I'm going to use for Steven's Klunker styled 29er.

So, not much progress today, but now I'm set to really hit it in the paint booth tomorrow right through show time.

Fiddly-bits of Knowledge -

I'm a few days behind on email, so if you have not heard back from me, don't despair. Gonna try and catch back up tomorrow night.

Answer to Emmy's artistic pic was... a LAVA LAMP that resides on my desk.

Out of curiosity, how many of you are going to make it to Indy for at least one day of the show?



Sunday, February 15, 2009

All day Sunday finish off...

Today was a good day...finished off Jay's fabrication, had Emmy in the shop for the day, and got home before 2200 hours for a change :)

So, let's rewind to the early morning...I started the day with Jay's seat stays. I wanted to do these first thing in the morning while I was fresh, so I could focus and not screw up. Well, the best laid plans... I was moving smoothly and decided to miter the stays off of an eyeball guesstamit; missed it by that much (finger and thumb really close together). I was about 2 degrees off of the bottom miter, or about 1/16th of an inch. Darn! That'll teach me to get too cocky. Even though I could easily close that gap, Jay's bike has been moving along so well it deserved a spot on pair of stays. Besides, there will be a smaller frame sometime in the future, so they won't go to waste :)

Some bendy stays...kinda reminds me of the old western cowboys legs from the cartoons.

The rear end minus the brace all welded together, with plenty of room for cross tires up to a 2.3", she looks sexy, no?
After the rear end was done, it was time to start putting on the braze-ons...a run of tabs for the rear disc brake line and the pinch bolts for the eccentric bottom bracket. Emmy helped out as photographer...
Now the frame is soaking for a bit in a hot bath of water to rid herself of all the flux. Tomorrow I'll slot the bottom, run the frame through the blaster, and get going on the paint.
One thing I really enjoy is when customers send in pics of them having fun on products I've made. The enjoyment they have out on the road or trail fuels me in the shop. You'll never be a millionaire as a builder, but the rewards are priceless. Here's a shot of Jim's Bigwheel on top of a 4000' single speed climb, oh yeah!
Finally, Em had control of the camera so she added an artistic shot...anyone guess what this is?
Til tomorrow,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jay's bike coming together...

Happy Saturday! Let's pick up where we left off last post.

After brazing up the bosses and the pinch bolt for the seat tube, it's time to slot the binder bolt. I set up in the mill and give the piece two passes with a slitting saw, giving us a nice clean cut.
Once the slot is in place, I rotated the seat tube and used an end mill to put a clean shape to the end of the slot.
The interior of the seat tube is then filed smooth, sanded, and washed/degreased. it's time to start tacking the main triangle together... I start off by tacking the seat tube to the bottom bracket, a nice short run on the front of the tube that will be hidden underneath the down tube intersection.
I work my way around the frame, tacking in the vertical positions first to maintain alignment without any lateral pull, then move to the side positions. I usually end up putting 8 small tacks around each tube, working sequentially around the frame. The tacks are made with no or very little filler, as the bead will be run over them and the lower profile maintains visual uniformity when everything is done.
Once all the tubes are tacked, I begin welding the frame in the fixture, and Wah-Lah! Everything is done; here's the bottom bracket/seat tube/down tube intersection...
and a pic of the seat tube/top tube intersection...notice how the HAZ (heat affected zone) is uniform the entire way around? By running a quick constant amperage and tapping in the filler, I'm able to avoid lingering in any one area too long, keeping the heat input to a minimum.
After welding up the front triangle, I had some fabrication to do. As Jay is going to be using a dedicated Rohloff drivetrain, I need to use a dropout on the left side of the bike that allows the OEM axel plate to be secured without any yucky leverage arms or speedbones. Unfortunately, there is a short supply of dedicated fixed dropouts for Rohloffs, so I fabbed up some for my project. As time before the show is short, I shamelessly used Paragons basic design to speed up the process. I used the Paragon shape as a pattern on some blank steel, added in the extended slot necessary for the Rohloff axel plate and some transitional curves, then headed to the mill to begin cutting out the shape. Though they don't look that difficult, it definitely took some time, they came out pretty spiffy though.
With the dropouts ready it was time for lunch...Cheesesteak deluxe from Hero House, yummy!
With the dropouts in place, I cut, shaped, and tacked in the chainstays.
mitered and mocked up in the fixture...
with the chainstays in place, I got to work on the seatstays. These will have some nice S bends to gently sweep around the tires, some Ignitor 2.1's for the road/trail use they'll see.
A quick shot of the progress thus far...back at the stays in the morning when I'm fresh. Feeling better today, but still not real sharp in the head. Jay sent a care package with some parts and a few of the items his company makes...some cool clampy things, not sure what they are for but I'm pretty sure this is not it.
Back at ya tomorrow,