Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ti today...

Music pumping, helmet down, welder amped up, knocking out some Ti today...

Still so smoking hot, I burned my finger positioning for the pic...ouch!



Monday, August 29, 2011

TCU and Ti...a nice combination

No matter how long I continue to do this, it always surprises me just how long everything takes.  Take for instance this paint job on Chad's Ti frame. 

The request did not sound too tough...Chad and his wife are both alums of Texas Christian University, his wife sits on the board, and both are die hard fans of TCU football.  So a finish for his frame that would pay tribute to his school seemed appropriate.  Oh, by the way, Nike designed a cool uniform for the football team that we can use for inspiration...mmmm, ok.

So some surfing the net yielded a pic of what Chad is looking for...
 Uhhh, I don't know why that one kept coming up in the Google search...the uniform we were going for is the one below...
 In researching the TCU uniform I learned a bit about the fans...these guys are tough customers.  When Nike unveiled the new threads, they incorporated not only the school colors of purple and white (purple for royalty, white for a clean game), but the physical characteristics of their mascot, the horned frog.  The pants are a two color silver with a triangular scale pattern to represent the froggy skin.  A red accent line on the helmet is to remind folks that when a horned frog attacks, he shoots blood out of his eyes.  The blogs exploded with critics... there is not enough purple on the jersey, the color of purple is not Pantone 268, are the scales suppose to be reminiscent of the University frog or the Athletic frog? etc...

I knew that if I wanted Chad to be happy, I had to nail this as best as I could. 

I finished fabrication last Monday, built up the bike to insure everything fit as it should, then broke it back down to get ready for paint.  Although no aspect of the finish was too out of this world complex, the entire piece together took ALOT of work.  I worked on it every, 7 days later, I finished.

I started off with the the scaled pattern for the Chad's frame is Ti, I had a nice opportunity to do something really cool.  I could have painted the scale pattern using two colors of silver metallic, some netting, and some highlights with the air brush and been done in a few hours.  I wanted to use the natural unpainted Ti to give a really distinct look, as different as the football uniform looks between the jersey and the pants.

I created masks that mimicked the triangular patterns from the pants and cut them out in heavy weight vinyl...

The Ti rear end of the frame was then polished with 3 different grades of sand paper and finished off with Scotchbrite.  From this point until the paint is done, I can't touch the bare Ti with my hands or the oils will transfer and create visual prints/discolorations. So with care, I then applied over 1200 tiny little triangles.

Once all the masks were placed, it's off to the bead blaster to prep the frame and create the matte finish on the rear end... 
 Once an even finish is achieved, the frame comes out of the cabinet and then gets rubbed down with Scotchbrite on the rear end to soften the finish.  The main triangle is left with a bit more tooth for the paint to adhere to...
 Then the work really began.  It takes about three times as long to remove the decals then to put them on.  The weight of vinyl necessary to hold up to the blast media and the heat created by the media friction creates a synergistic effect...creating a highly sticky yet easily torn little triangle.  So, little by little, each piece is removed.  Total time to make the masks, apply, blast, and remove without contaminating the surface...10 hours. 
 The finish is exactly what I wanted, should look killer with the front triangle painted up.
 I was even able to include a neat little tag line on the stay..."Lil froggies with big fight"

We then move into the booth and the rear end is all wrapped up to protect it as we work on the front with paint...
 I had the purple metallic paint custom mixed to match the Pantone PMS color of's a difficult color to translate across the monitor, as it looks very dark in the booth, but then comes alive out in the sun.  The front triangle received two coats of sanded primer and then three thin layers of the purple to insure an even coverage of the metallic with no sags or concentrations that would draw the eye.  The first color on in the booth...
 And how it looks out in the sun, displayed here on fork...
 Creating the masks took a day.  I had worked on some drawings previously, but ditched them because they were not detailed enough for the final vision I had for this evolving project.  Using tweezers to remove the small details of the logos...
 The Athletic Horned Froggy...  (positioned at the top and looking to the right as mandated by TCU)
 The frame all wrapped up and ready for the air brush...
 I used a pearlized white for all the airbrush work and the downtube panel...
 The vinyl put back...removing the thin outline around the white U to add the black borders...
 The black borders in place, unwrapping for the next step...
 The frame got the TCU arch with the athletic frog, a froggy on the top tube shooting a stream of red blood out of his eye, pooling under Chad's name, and a center white panel with TCU

 Skipping ahead  (cause it's late and I'm getting tired), lots more clear, cleaning the guns, wet sanding, more spraying, more wet sanding, more gun cleaning, and then final clear, here's the finished frame... (click on pics for bigger images)

Not pictured is the Ti stem with masked froggy and the Ti post with Groovy logo.  I say it a lot, but it is never capture the true bling of the finish.  I'll build the frame up tomorrow, get Mike from Sherrick Photography to come over and snap some good shots, then it's off to Texas.

Chad, thanks for your patience...I hope the finished product is all that you hoped for (visually at least).



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bikes for stimulate the economy

Hey guys and gals,

The last couple of years have been tough on the economy and I have two customers who have had to put their new Groovy's up on the chopping block.  Sad for them, possibly good for you if either trip your trigger, as they are available now with no waiting :)

First up is this Groovy Road bike...
This bike was constructed for a local client who experienced some job/economic difficulties prior to taking receipt of the bike.  We've hung onto it for a couple of months in hopes that things would turn around for him...alas, it's time to get my money back out of it.
This is a steel road bike built with a mix of Dedda and Columbus tubing, SS couplers, custom fork, all sprayed with a multi layer candy metallic finish that fades from sunset red to orange to yellow as it wraps around the tubes.  Groovy headbadges are scattered around the frame to give some visual breaks in the spectrum.  Built with SRAM Red components and King/Mavic wheels, it is a very nice road bike for club racing or exploring the pavement of foriegn countries.  It is definitely a fast/sporty feel...for those who like to ride hard and go fast.

Head tube angle - 71.5
Seat tube angle - 73
Top tube - 58cm
Seat tube (c to c) - 44cm
Chain stay length - 415mm
Wheel base - 100.5cm or 39.5"
Center of bar/stem to ground - 95cm

Price with Saddle of your choice - 5600.00
Pedals not included

Next up is one for the Dirt lovers...This custom 29er SS is one of a kind and I hate to see it sit in the shop.  The customer reluctantly asked to return it so that he could use the money to put back into his business and be able to eat and sleep in a dry bed...where are the priorities?
Regardless, this is a custom steel Big Wheel that uses Dedda and custom drawn tubing with swinger SS dropouts.  Finished in a multi layered metallic/candy airbrushed forest motif, the depth of the paint has to be seen to realy be appreciated. 

Built to be suspension corrected for an 80mm travel fork, it is mated to a Groovy Ti Unicrown disc fork, Thomson stem, and Ti 27" Luv. 

Head tube angle - 71.5

Seat tube angle - 72.5
Top tube - 24.25"
Seat tube (c to c) - 16.5"
Chain stay length - 17.25 forward center

Price for the full kit (Frame, Ti fork, King Headset, Stem, Ti Luv) - 3400.00

I can also assist with the balance of the parts for a complete build if you desire.

The bike was featured on the blog, you can see more here...

And lastly, this is a bike that was built a number of years ago for the Portland show.  It is a steel frame with EBB, internal cable routing for the rear brake and a rear derailleur, modular dropouts, and a box crown fork.  It is finished in a rasta splatter finish.  Kalten used the frame for 2 months and then it was put up on the shelf.  It had a few scratches, but they were easily touched up...a nice attribute of the splatter paint.
It is currently built as a Retro Single Speed with a steel Luv, Rasta King headset, Red Ringle Super Bubba hubs/Sun sunrise rims, White Industry Eno cranks, Thomson stem and post, Flite saddle, Timbuk 2 tires, and Onza V brakes.   The frame, brake levers, and wheels are used, the balance is new equipment.  The frame was designed specifically for the Onza brakes to be in their most powerful position, so the spacing is greater than the typical V/canti brakes.  They may be too wide for other brake systems...don't know, but thought I'd mention it.

Built around the M/L Yo Eddy geometry

 Head tube angle - 71
Seat tube angle - 72
Top tube - 23.3"
Chain stay length - 16 3/8"
Wheel base - 41.7

I'd like to sell the bike complete, if it does not, I have a customer who has first dibs on the frame and fork.

Total for the complete bike is 2100.00


If you are interested in any of the bikes, please give me a hollar.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Where do you roam?

Stuck here in the FD for the third day, and am shooting around my normal haunts to see what's happening.  I thought with such a diverse crowd that cruises the web, I'd share where I contribute, lurk, or just blitz through when I have time...

Framebuilders pages;  as this profession seems to have a lot of solitary work time, it's nice to chat and see what others are up to.  I'll try to contribute if I see a question that I can help with, read to see alternative ways of approaching issues (never too late to learn), and often shake my head in dismay at what is posted as absolutes by some who have read bad information online but do not have the experience or education to know any better.  The only two that I make time to drop in on have very distinct individual characteristics, keeping it fresh.

Framebuilders forum on V-salon ... an eclectic mix of builders, both new and old, with your standard q/a forum, a Friday Night Lights share-a-thon, and a unique area called Smoked Out to share the individual stories of each builder and create a dialog.

MTBR's Framebuilding forum ... more focused on the dirt side of things, this forum has more burgeoning fabricators with simple questions, but has a surprising amount of very creative content that encourages outside the box thinking.  I often see some cool innovations or edgy designs, a characteristic unique to folks who can build what they want, not what is dictated by customer requests.

For Fun pages... cycling that is just for the smile factor as they peak my interest.

Fat Cogs Fan page ... devotees of the micro empire fathered by Chris and the gang.  A nice place to see the evolving history of the brand, some excellent restorations by members, and maybe catch a cool deal on a piece of Sommerville history.

MTBR's Vitage, Retro, Classic page ... a fine collection of the true gems of mtb history, these well educated but sometimes snarky folks possess some of the most sought after frames and components.  With contributors ranging from Jeff and Wes at the Museum of Mountain Bike and Technology to the usual suspects like former mods Bushpig and Rumphy, there is always some cool stuff to see.

Of course, I'll also drop in on my friends and colleagues blogs to see what's been shakin...Hubcap, Cocconino, Walt, Carl, Drew, Fred (when he updates...hint hint), Mr. Potts, and the sometimes controversial but always friendly Paul Sadoff and his "can't we just get along" blog.

Places I used to like but no longer have time for, but you may... was a great little site with a diverse group of folks all contributing toward a growing educational environment.  I was an active contributor, donated money to keep it afloat, and was sad to see the day it became a fiefdom that alienated folks rather than encouraged them.  Still an excellent bunch of info to be found if you can still log in.

Retrobike ... The UK cousin to VRC, I really enjoyed the site in it's infancy.  A like minded group of folks who encouraged discussion and sharing of vintage mtb bikes, it was neat to hear perspectives from across the ocean, as members from all over Europe participated.  The success of the site has also been it's downfall, as the core group of folks who were willing to share knowledge have been overwhelmed by those without.  It's unfortunate, as I really enjoyed those folks.

So, a quick window into my web based stalking...have any place you like that I should check out?



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A day of dents, dissapointments, and do overs...

Ok, I eluded in the Smith race report that I've been awash in frantic shop time to remedy some unfortunate let's rewind a couple of days and start from the beginning.

A local racer was kinda down in the dumps because he had broken his aluminum frame, and was bikeless until the replacement could arrive.  Positioned to miss the Findley time trial and a couple weeks of good single track, I gave him my bike to use for the interim. 

While he was enjoying my ride, I built him a set of new wheels for his build...a sweeet set of Phil hubs, DT spokes and a set of Crest tubeless rims;

He stopped back in last week to pick up his warrantied frame.  I had prepped the frame for the build by facing and tapping the headset and bb, installing the headset and bb/crank, and installed the fork.  With new wheels in his hands and a frame ready to build up, I asked how he liked my SS with a bit more aggressive geometry than he is used to.  He advised that he had a great time on the bike, but had crashed once or twice.  It wasn't until I eagerly put the bike up on the rack so I could get my first ride in a month that I saw the down tube...

Three total dents, one with a sharp crease.  My pouty lip came out, knowing that the frame could not be reliable until repaired.  My riding is done for a long bit.

Back on track in the shop, I was preparing to paint Chad's Ti frame.  Now, any of you who have followed the blog for any length of time know that our two pups love to hang out with me in the shop.  They are devoted, almost to a fault, as they are always at my feet.  Working at the weld table, they are under it.  Working at the mill, they are laying aside getting chips all over them.  You get the idea.  So, as I was getting the Ti frame off the rack and taking a step guessed it, the dogs were right behind me.  Somewhere in the midst of falling backwards with frame in hand, I knew there was no stopping the eventual thud that was to come.  As my arse hit the floor, the frame hit the edge of the steel weld table.  Copious expletives followed.

This frame has had a long path of bad kharma associated with it; two attempts at custom masked annodizing with a new contractor that took months and ended with me blasting the finish off, difficulties in getting the computer/plotter to create the intricate masks for paint, anticipated deadlines come and gone due to my medical issues, etc...  After brooding for the rest of the day and lamenting that sometimes being an adult with small business responsibilities sucks, I determined that the only course of action was to get rid of the bad kharma and start over.  So a new frame with a fresh cosmic slate began.

Machined headtube, machine and welded seat tube, all tubes mitered up...
In the fixture...front tri is fused in the fixture and rear end fitted up...
With the front triangle set, running the filler pass...
To keep distortion down on the seat tube, I ran single pass welding on the rear end, keeping the heat imput down by moving fast and fluidly...
Machining up the fiddly bits like the brake bridge...
A nice tight fit...
With the frame all welded up, it's time to cut and face it's pieces parts...bottom bracket, head tube and seat tube...
Just need to add the cable guides yet...pretty light for such a large frame...

I should finish fabrication today and begin paint on Friday.  It'll get to Chad in time for the Hotter than Hell hundred, but just.  Chad gets the award for most patient individual of all time...I don't deserve to work with such good folks.