Saturday, November 12, 2005

There's never enough time.

Where does the time go? This weekend it went to Ohio, at least for me.

I went to visit Joe Bringheli and pick up my new frame jig. Joe's a great fellow and a good host. Joe's home and shop are located on a lovely lot full of large trees, with a ravine on one side - very scenic.

What is it about old builders and chickens? Darrell McCulloch has chooks, then Freddy Parr get some chooks, and now I find that Joe had chooks. I have nothing against raising chickens, but hope that they aren't a requirement for becoming a great builder.

Joe had a client's frame hung from the rafters that was made of Reynolds "Record". I know that from the tubing decal. Anyhow, it was a pretty frame - nicely painted and kept simple. The tubing appeared to be paper thin. The owner had run it into a car - bent the top and down tubes at the head tube, and bent the top tube at the seat cluster (may have also bent the headtube itself). Joe was obviously disappointed. He had the commission to build a replacement, but he clearly loved that frame and regretted its demise. A sure sign of someone who cares about his work.

We spent some instructional time in his shop - and I learned how to use his tube-cutting jig. It's a very clever bit of work and I can't wait to get one. We spent some time discussing different cutters and the vogue for making copes with a belt-sander. I also got to learn some of Joe's background and his start in the business. All good fun.

While in his "warehouse" Joe showed me the Deda carbon frame building bits. He raised an interesting point. Carbon can be an easier sell these days. While a Deda kit is more expensive then steel, it can be assembled and ready for the painter quickly. Then it's easily possible to charge 2X the materials cost to net a good profit. I may try one of these to see what I think - it could help me recapture my jig investment, and maybe buy me an alignment table.

On another front, a local shop (and mailorder house) had a NOS (2003) record carbon long-cage rear derailer on sale for $138, which has to be less than their cost. So, now I'm scanning ebay looking for some Chorus or Record levers to go with. These'll make a nice bike.

More later.

1 comment:

Steven Shand said...

I just got a Bringheli jig shipped to me in Scotland from Joe. I'd just like to echo how good he was to deal with. Very helpful. I became very fond of his ALL CAPS EMAILS!!!

Interested to know what his take on the belt-sander miter machines are.