Friday, March 26, 2010

This one is for Carl S...

Ok, so I had a booth next to Carl Strong at this years NAHBS and he brought up an old discussion we had on one of the forums; the advantages of pulsed tig welding vs. straight amperage welding.  Carl promised if I secured a space next to him for Austin's get together, he'd give me a pulser to step into a new realm of welding.  Not one to back down on an opportunity, I threw down my money, squated next to Carl and Loretta for 2011, and promised to funk up the weekend with a disco ball, groovy tunes, and my new pulser :)

What I did not share is that I've had a pulser all along, I've just never pushed the magic button.  More because you run faster with what you know, but also because I'm getting older and crotchety and don't like messing with what's fast and comfortable.  So today, after lying around the house for the morning, I could not stand it any longer.  Although I watched two episodes of American Pickers on History Channel online (a new favorite show), I had to get to doing something.  So I got Christi to drive me to the shop and I tried a little work...welding on some bars and laying down the final clear on Steve's frame.  Turns out it was a bad idea, as I obviously over did it, but anyhoo, I've got a picture to share.

One weld is pulsed, the other is straight amperage with rhythmic rod feed, can you tell which is which?

Gonna work on a painting vid over the weekend so I don't get too bored as I heal up.  Also going to help Steve build up his bike tomorrow.  I'll check in with y'all soon.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

still kicking

Just a quick note to let y'all know that I came through the surgery well...really sore but in good spirits :)

Thanks to all for the prayers and good wishes.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hey fancy pants, that's some fun paint.

Spent today working on Ti Luvs and Steve T's paint.  Steve is getting a house paint job...he let go of the reigns and let me do something unique for him.  He's getting a candy brushed flame job, with deep red fading to orange and gold.  It really shines in the sun.  Should look good rolling up to the winners podium :)

I also painted up a special bar for a lovely lady who was taken by the Hibiscus bike at Nahbs and had to have a bar to match her bike; sparkly purple flowers on a white base.

And for Mike in Pa, a shot of what the Groovy Tee's look like... ringer tees in brown, green, blue, and cardinal red.  20 bucks shipped to your door.  You can send the money by Payapl or call with a credit card.

Off to the hospital first thing in the am.  Don't know how long I'll be laid up but will try to keep up with email and such over the weekend. 


Monday, March 22, 2010

Lot's to catch up on...

Ok guys and gals,

I've been back for almost a week and have not posted a thing, not that I've not been busy with both good and bad...more on that later.

I thought I'd catch you up on our annual "get away from the kids, work, and miserable Ohio weather" vacation trip.  This will be short on words and heavier on pics...

One of my favorite vacation activities is to cook, as I enjoy the artistic diversity of creating something that tastes as good as it looks.  Unlike the Fire Department, where my creativity is stifled by a bunch of whiny cheap bastards who don't like anything that is not made of beef or potatoes, now I'm cooking for myself and can make what ever I want (nothing personal guys, you know I love ya).  I took the opportunity to make some grub that makes me happy.

So for Mike and I, I whipped up some huevos rancheros with a little fresh avacado and cilantro. The girls got bananna and macadamia nut pancakes with a side of bacon.  A good way to start the day :)

Some very cool flowers...there's a neat paint scheme in these for the right customer, could it be you?

I'm a sucker for lighthouses, but more specifically, the Fresnel lenses that magnify the beam of light.  The engineering and craftsmanship that goes into the multiple layers of glass astounds me.  This one used a Clamshell lense, not what I hoped for, but beautiful just the same.

We could not resist hiking to the top of this 800' waterfall in Waimea Canyon...

and dangling my feet over the edge for an unparalleled view.  Only thing better would be climbing it if it was frozen...yeah baby!  One of the drawbacks to Nahbs being in the winter, no more time to ice climb :(

Polihale Beach is at the end of an old sugar cane road that is full of potholes, ruts, and craters that would swallow most 4wd trucks.  Fortunately, we had the next best thing...a 4 cylinder compact rental car ;)

Polihale marks the West end of the Napali Coast, a gorgeous coastline only accessible by boat, an epic swim, or a centuries old hiking trail that covers a third of it's length.  Here Christi and I are taking in the view by boat, the lazyman's option.  I would love to come back in the summer time and sea kayak the coastline, camping and hiking along the way.  Maybe someday?

Just like the winds that sweep the trees, it too blew us back home.  Once back, I had some hard news to learn.  Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I've had a storied medical past...well, it's coming back to bite me again.  Long story short, I spent two days with the Cardiologist getting some tests done and it looks like I'll be going under the knife Thursday morning for some minor heart surgery.  With that scheduled, I wasted half a day feeling sorry for myself, a whole day on email and voicemail, took a day to watch Emmy's volleyball team take 1st in their Silver flight at the Brunswick tourney, then got to work on shop orders.

I put the final coat of primer on Steve's sponsored race frame...color will begin in the morning.  Gonna do a candy red/orange/yellow brushed fire theme, should be snazzy.

I've got a bunch of bars to knock out, so I put my head down and got to work.  A long day later, most of the steelies are done.  Ti bars will get going tomorrow.  Wednesday will be a long push to get Cary's Groovy Series race drawing frame fabbed up before I'm down physically for a tiny bit.

More tomorrow night,


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vacation contest pic time!!!!

Got a quick internet connection tonight so I'm giving y'all something to do while I'm away. 

First person to correctly identify the location of this pic gets a special care package from the shop...I'll throw in a Tee, some stickers and whatever else I can find that is unique and slightly goofy.  Leave your best guess in the comments area.

Disclaimer:  Yep, it's a crappy cell phone pic, sorry.  Contest is for registered readers only, if ya wanna play, by all means hit "follow this blog".  I'll send out the stuff once I get back :)

Have fun and good luck,


Monday, March 8, 2010

No one home...

Hey y'all,

I'll be out of the shop until March 16th to spend some time with Christi as she was such a good sport during show prep.  Feel free to leave a voicemail or email and I'll attend to them when I return. 

We'll not be sitting around on our butts, however, as we've updated our master list for all builds and will try to get the info up on the web site and blog for you to see where we are in getting to your commissioned work.

I'm hoping to have some cool info to share next week, including the new frame fixture dreamt up by Grove Cycle Design with some input from myself and a few select builders to create the ultimate fabricators tool.  Tune in as well for Chad's Ti road bike and Cary's 650b race frame which he won at the 2009 Groovy Race Series drawing.

Looking forward to getting back fresh and enthusiastic,


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nahbs 2010...random thoughts and musings

Hey y'all,
a little later putting down some thoughts than I wanted to be, but had to direct my focus on getting back to life; that meant organizing the mess I left behind in the shop and getting back to shift work at the Fire Department.

Nahbs flew onto the radar with much less time than I'd anticipated this year, as customer work took me right up to the buzzer with little time to focus on getting the bikes together.  With vacation time from the FD, I was able to focus the six days before the show strictly on shop duties.  I think this year was a harder push than all the previous I've attended, as I ended up with a miniscule 11.5 hours of sleep in the week preceeding the show.  There was a point early Thursday morning where my eyes were so swollen that I could no longer focus...never experienced that before and it was quite freaky.  I slept a quick hour and then welded up the raw frame I wanted to take along for demonstration purposes at 0630, two hours before hitting the road.  Yep, too damn tight this year :)

a view of my mental state in the middle of one of the nights after painting non-stop for hours...

Overall, I was moderately happy with what I had to bring to show.  Two of the bikes offered full on custom work; fabricating the dropouts on both Christi's and Steven's bikes, a custom belt gate that did not require any frame manipulation or stress to allow access, the custom triple crown fork with bored and butted tubing and unicrown fork with ovalized sections at the crown, a custom machined direct mount front derailleur, rolled, ovalized, and hand bent tubing, and of course personalized paint for all.  Overall, more than just buying stuff from vendors and sticking it all together..really what I believe this show should be all about. 

Thanks to Brad at Urban Velo and Justin at Dirt Rag for the pics...

Fortunate for me, Kalten came along to help, as his main focus Thursday was to keep me awake on the road.  With a Monster Energy drink in hand, we left the snowing skys of Wooster and headed south toward Richmond.  The drive was eventful enough, with K laying the smack down on me a couple of times to stay awake.  It was very nice to see the climate change, however, from the snowy conditions to warmer/blue skys...why do I live in Ohio again?

Once at the show, it was full throttle setting up, chatting with friends, and preparing for three long days of standing on concrete smiling and pressing flesh.  I had a really nice location this year with some solid folks to share the space with; Tim and the Shamrock boys on one side of the aisle, Paul from White Brothers across from me, Seven cycles to my left, and Carl and Loretta of Strong frames as my back door neighbors.  Sharing exhaused glances and giving each other encouragement made the weekend pass wicked fast. 

A hip attitude helped too...

Add to that all the great people who took the time to come through the booth and it bolsters the success of my participation in the show.

Some of the definite highlights of the weekend had to be the food.  Mike, a local shop owner and show volunteer, hooked me up with a list of the must hit local shitty chain restaurants or over priced bars with bad food, just the cream of Richmonds best homegrown eateries.

Two of the standouts were Kuba Kuba (authentic Cuban quisine) and Edo Squid (awesome Italian), both located in the Fan section of town, so named for the direction/shape of the streets as they move away from the downtown area.  A righteous little area, full of period row housing and fresh young faces.  Both places were small, packed to the gills, and offered food that had my stomach turning inside out while we patiently waited our turn to be seated.
A shot of the inside of Kuba Kuba, tightly packed tables surrounded by two galley kitchens where you could watch the artists at work...YUM!  Y'all I asked along who did not go, you missed out :)
Edo Squid was located in the second floor of an old Brownstone.  Climbing the stairs I was not sure we were in the right place, as the top landing offered only some stacked crates of pop and a mop/broom hanging on the back of the door.  Once you opened it up, a whole other world waited inside, with fresh made pasta, bread, and lovely seafood.  Too good!  Handpainted decor added to the visual flavor...

The Fan also boasts quite a bit of night life culture, quite the groovy place to hang...

A bit of a tradition is to make a point of hitting a kicking breakfast spot on Monday morning.  Last year, a benchmark was set with Maxine's Chicken and Waffels in Indy, so I was out to grab at least an equal experience.  Rounding up as many fun folks as I could who were still willing to get moving early after a night of rowdy fun (The First Flight crew and PVD), we ended up piling 12 people into the rental Town and Country van for a quick trip to Diner 64.  Unbeknownst to us, Sunday morning breakfast has a whole 'nother time line in Richmond.  After hitting every bump and dip I could on the way just to hear the guys in the back, who happened to be packed in like a clown car at the circus, groan and moan with each irregularity, we arrived to find out the diner did not open for breakfast til 1100.  WTF?  Ever enthusiastic, I plowed into the neighboring ghetto to find a suitable local scene with plenty of culture.  Although the immediate neighborhood offered more hoods than eats, we eventually found our way to the Riverside diner, 40 minutes later but ironically only about 6 blocks from our starting hotel...who'd a figured :)

Exiting the car was a bit of an ordeal, with folks bailing from every door...

Sunday afternoon wrapped up with the typical awards given on the show stage. I really hesitated to put my feelings down here, as I don't want to sound like there are sour grapes, but each year I find myself a bit dissapointed with the judging process.  For what should be the ultimate opportunity to show the ability of a fabricator to bring a customer's vision to reality through truly one off work, the pieces that are selected, while equisite in their own right, seldom accomplish this.  Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful work and deserving of recognition, but as I look around the floor, I'm taken with handmade work that sets a standard beyond what is selected as award worthy; Villan's forged Damascus steel fork crowns and hand hammered lugs, Jame's swooping curved Ti that adds great complexity to the build, clean silver fillet brazing on stainless tubes by new exhibitor Joel of Clockwork, vivid creative paint actually layed down by builders like Tim at Shamrock instead of farmed out for contract paint, and so many other examples.  All folks who are making an effort to provide something unique for their customers, toil silently along daily, and deserve special recognition.   Rant over, thanks for listening.

Getting up to leave Richmond Monday morning was tough cause we were bushed (as demonstrated by Kalten), but we were blessed with a beautiful sunrise...

So, another year down.  Hope to see as many friendly faces in Austin in 2011.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just hit the streets of Woo...

hey y'all,

rolled in to Woo late last night, dropped everything at the shop then came home and collapsed.  Good to be home.

I'm gonna put away, clean up the mess I made in the shop gunning for the show deadline, and then get caught up with all your emails, voicemails, and love notes :)

Thanks to everyone for your support the last two weeks, it was much appreciated.

See y'all later tonight for a show recap...


Monday, March 1, 2010

Everyone is noticing Groovy

Christi here again.  Rody and Kalten are on the road, somewhere between Richmond and Wooster. 

More mentions of Groovy....

My bike is featured on the front page of and is pictured 4 times in their NAHBS Sunday photo gallery...

Steven's red retro klunker is pictured 4 times on Dirt Rag's Day 2 Saturday photo gallery...

and in

I am glad to see the rest of the world is taking notice of how talented my husband is.