Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry gift to you

Hey folks,

I hope your Christmas is filled with lots of joy and family time.

As I am stuck at the fire department this holiday weekend whilst my family celebrates in my absence (or because of?), my kids blessed me with something to waste some time on; 

Chicken on a raft

Written by Cyril Tawney while he served in the Royal Navy, it's a tribute to the horrible breakfast he often woke to..."chicken on a raft", a fried egg on a piece of fried bread.  Nothing like a sea shanty stuck in my head to get me through the hours until I can go home.

Click on the link and share some pain with me this holiday :)



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Starting the move...

After a tough block of work at the fire department the last 5 days, I started to move the big stuff yesterday.

A fork lift at each shop and a 10000# capacity trailer were the tools to get the job done...

I have to work at the fire department Christmas weekend, so for all that have asked to help, the "everything that can be lifted, carried, or loaded" moving day will be Tuesday and Wednesday next week.  Hopefully, we can get it all done so that I can be out by the end of the year.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rollercam makeover...

As the shop is in a bit of disarray at the moment getting ready for the move, I've been working on chipping away at the long list of small projects that have been occupying the shelves, many for a number of years.  Most have not been particularly blog worthy, but since we have a large number of vintage folks here, I thought I'd share this one. 

Here we have a vintage Fat Box crown fork with Reynolds blades and Campy drops that belongs to Michael.  This guy is a candidate for removal of the canti studs and replacing them with Roller cam bosses...but first we need to check that it will meet the dimensions necessary.

It's been a while since I worked with RC's, so I wanted to confirm my notes in my little cheat book of chicken scratch with someone who is a bit more familiar with the genre.  A quick conversation with Steve Potts (thanks a bunch!) confirmed the necessary dimensions and we were all set to move forward.

Michael's Fat fork, all stripped and ready for action...
 To begin removing the cantis, I place painters tape on the adjacent edges of the boss, so when I begin to cut and file I can visually see if I begin to intrude on the surface area of the blades around the boss.  This little tip keeps me from undercutting the tubing and reminds me to take it slow and easy.
 With the tape in place, I begin to remove the mass of the boss with a grinder and cut off blade.  I'll then step down to a Dremel with an abrasive disc, a Dyna file, and finish off with a hand file...
 One blade done, touch up on the next ready to go...
 With the material removed and the blades filed, there are two small dents in the tubing where the points of one canti boss ended, more than likely from the thin wall tubing succumbing to the forces of braking through the years.  I'll fill these with a bit of silver before paint.  Now it's time to locate the roller cams.  Of all the brake types, these are the most finicky to have positioned correctly.  Not only do you need to consider the axle to boss center line, lateral center line offset dimension, and stand off from blade for cable/headset clearance, the superior/inferior angle is critical for correct pad to rim alignment.  I made up a quick fixture to hold everything in place at the correct dimensions and tacked them in place...
 Next up, sort through the box of Roller cam parts to test fit a wheel...
 Using a modified linkage brake that Hubby had played with for the test fit, I want to insure that I've got the correct pad to rim angle throughout the motion of the brake and that there are no interference issues...
 In this case, everything lined up well.  The original box fork bosses were tig'd in place, so rather than brass brazing these, I followed suit to keep with the flavor of the period.
I'll get this guy into the powder booth for some sweet 80's Fat yellow and it'll be ready for Michael's next vintage build.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to pack a bike frame

I have so many bikes/frames come to the shop that are so haphazardly packed, it makes me wince in pain.  Bikes thrown in a box with no padding, securing, or care.  Wheels that are placed so that the axles are against frame tubes, handle bars and controls hanging by their cables...often there is more damage when they arrive than when shipped.  Ever try collecting on shipping insurance?  Good luck.

So, I've refined my packing through the years to protect both your monetary investment and my work.  All work leaving the shop gets triple wrapped in bubble wrap, secured to a piece of padded cardboard, then tucked into a frame box with lots of space filling packing material.  Additional components are wrapped in bubbles, surrounded in cardboard, then secured in place so they do not move during shipping, limiting the probability that they will strike cherished merchandise. 

I've had a few customers complain that it took them over an hour to unpack their frame.  You know what, that's just fine by me :)

Working on some small parts items today and prepping for paint, hoping to move this weekend to the new shop...Hooray!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Final Bob Villa shots...

The last few weeks have seen me pushing too hard, as my move deadline has come and gone, I'm still toiling to finish up and move, and finally my body has revolted and I've ended up sick in bed sharing with you now...cough.

Here are some picture highlights...

Probably the most important improvement that I've made in the whole shop.  For years I've been utilizing less than adequate options for human comfort, which I will avoid sharing with you for your own mental/emotional sake.  I am, thrilled, to have this addition :)

 and the sink to tidy up in aint bad either.
 I got all the doors hung, the 8 footer was a heavy one.  It will be nice to have a physical separation between the fabrication area, office, and paint prep room; both for quiet and for dust/dirt.
 A shot of the door heading into the office.  I also put in a big wash tub for clean up and a water heater set up high and out of the way to maximize space.
 The trim going up.  I'll be perfectly honest, I enjoy working with wood but the staining/finishing/cleanup drives me bonkers.  I pretty much hate anything to do with liquid finish and a brush, yuck!
 The split doors finished and in place for the restroom.  It's a tight fit, but I like to think of it as efficiency in design.
Finally, a bit of indulgence.  I've spent so many years working on plain jane grey concrete, I really wanted something different for the new shop.  I wanted to have a red/brown sandstone effect for the floor, so gave a shot at acid staining.  The acid stain came out great, giving a warm mottled look to the floor.  I am less happy with the industrial epoxy top sealer.  It comes as a two part mix; clear epoxy and hardner.  What I neglected to factor in was the difficulty of spreading, backrolling, and moving to the next section quickly all by myself.  Turns out, if I had read the instructions, I would have learned that once mixed, the product has a 17 minute pot wonder it was so darn hard to spread by myself after an hour.  I've got some imperfections in the top finish, but there is no going back now, so I guess I'll have to live with it.

As for real shop news, we're shipping out the final bits of December bars and forks tomorrow.  I will be SO happy to get moved in and be able to focus on fabrication again as the last 5 months have been like constant around the clock show prep.

Back to coughing up green balls of gook.