Friday, December 01, 2006

Snowy Day

It's a snowy day, so I'm stealing some time to update the blog.

My first rider (bike that I rode instead of cutting up) came back from the sand-blaster. These folks are local, but I need to find someone cheaper - they charged their minimum ($100) for what should be maybe a $25-50 job.

Overall it looks pretty good, but they blew through the edge of one seat-stay cap. Out came the torch. This is a perfect application for Freddy's Filet-Pro. Fill the spot a little high, cool and clean flux, then file it down with a half-round and it's as good as new. Some could do that with 56% silver, but Filet-Pro makes it soo much easier.

Anyhow, over to the Ace to select colors and decided on Colonial Blue (a very soft grey-blue) with white (head-tube and maybe seat-tube). I think it will be subtle but very attractive, and in keeping with the French character of this bike. I gave a test shot of primer to see how it took to the blasted frame. It looks like a course of sandpaper will be in order before priming, to knock down the worst of the texture left behind by the blaster.

There's another new bike in the queue - a track frame based on Colubus SLX tubes and an old lug set that I picked up on EBay. I'll have to post lug pictures soon - they're sort of interesting.

Henry James sent me some of their Gas Flux brass rod and a pound of flux. I'm going to do a little more brass work and see how I like it. I'm moving to the point where: 1) I believe that the heat of brass brazing doesn't hurt tubing - if the brazing is done well; 2) Some parts of the frame benefit from being done in brass. I'll keep you all posted on the progress. An interesting aspect of the Gas Flux rods is that they're 2-3 times as long as Freddy's rods. On the one hand, this could be a lot to handle (unless I cut them up). On the other, it could limit the losses related to the short end that can't be held and flowed at the same time.

I had what was to be my first rolling frame (mentioned in a prior post) that I'll call Old Number 1 or ON1 for short. It turned out that it had a marvelously aligned front triangle and a well aligned rear triangle which weren't in alignment with each other. Hmmm.

The new rear triangle is now fitted for ON1. Grinding out the BB ports was interesting. If you're not careful, the spigots can end up with very thin walls. The key is that its a 3 dimensional puzzle, and one has to keep checking to make sure that excess material is being removed from the right places. The dropouts are HJ stainless, and naturally they had to be thinned to fit into the chain and seat stays. The seat stays fit into ports the seat-cluster - which had to be ground out like the BB. However, as these are considerably smaller in diameter, it required a much smaller rotary file - making for a slower job.

Anyhow, all are fitted and cut to length. All that's left is to clean, flux, and braze - which might happen this weekend. Yea, I miss the torch time.

The storm has brought cold with it, although its actually a little above freezing. Anyway, it's delaying the spray out of Frame 1. If this cold continues, I may accelerate my plans to practice vacuum bagged carbon joints. This will be done in the house anyway - where its warm. With luck, I may even have a prototype frame with bagged joints by January. That would be fun.

Well, that's all for now. See ya soon.