One of the aspects of frame building/fabrication that most folks do not recognize is the solitary time in the shop, void of human interaction for long hours. It is a process that demands focus and concentration, interacting with cold, simple tools devoid of emotion. The only feedback you receive is the sound of the cutters and files moving through metal, palpable vibrations fed back to your hands, and visual affirmation that you are shaping and changing an inanimate material into a tool that will allow another to achieve an emotional state far removed from where you are now.
Being a fairly animated people person, it is a process I sometimes struggle with. One shop task epitomizes the bottom of the enjoyment curve for me...fabricating Luv handle bar centers. It is a day that comes once a month. It is a day that I dread, often putting it off in place of more desirable shop duties, but alas, the unfortunate truth to being a responsible adult is that we often have to do things we don't always enjoy.
So yesterday I put my head down, built my resolve, and forged ahead. 14 lonely hours later, here is the fruits of my labor...
32 steel and ti centers line the 52" mill bed for this months orders.
The bending and swaging are fun and move quickly, but once the mitering begins, the day slows to a crawl. The compound miter between the center of the bar and the grip section is a long, nasty cut, requiring patience and multiple passes to complete. Four bars an hour is the completion rate once at the mill, slowly watching and feeding the cutter through a narrow channel in the fixturing.
Knowing that the toil allows me to imagine and then bring to fruition a construct that allows us mere humans to elevate ourselves into an experience otherwise unreachable makes it worth it. There is just something about the wind whistling past your face, the hum of tires on the trail, and reaching speeds our bodies are physically incapable of without a bicycle that transcends the pain of this solitude. I guess it's that thought keeping me company in the shop while working alone. Conversely, each time you ride one of my products, a little of me goes with you too.