Tuesday, January 30, 2007

picture show

less talk this time, more show. I've been crank'in, I think you'll like some pic's of recent work Click on 'em for a big photo:

Nice little sport tourer, I dig these bike a lot, and I really dig this paint.

And another 953 bike done! This one will be at the Minneapolis Bike and travel Expo March 3-4. Come on down and stop by my booth to say hi.

This one is pretty sweet, the lugs are carved up quite a bit from stock, the hidden binder seatlug was a pile of work but came out super-clean, and the polishe headbadge put's it over the top. 953 seems to be causing quite a clamor, I've had 4 inquiries about frames this week alone. Get'em while they're hot!

Incidentally, this one is a 60cm effective seat-tube, 58cm top-tube. I used a little thicker guage tubes on it due to the larger size and the hidden binder adds weight since i have to braze in solid stainless slugs into the top of each seatstay. But the frame still weighs in under 4 lbs, which isn't bad for a big frame. It'll be built up with a Reynolds fork and a record kit, should be a nice ride

Gotta run, have a headshok fork conversion to finish up, and a few forks to build, then it's back to making 29'ers.


Friday, January 26, 2007

been too long

Yeah it's been a while since I've updated the blog, but for good reason: I was on vacation in Mexico all last week, and I've been trying to catch up from being gone all this week.

The vacation details will probably be a full posting on it's own in the future, but for now let's suffice it to say it was good. Not what I expected for Mexico this time of year, but not bad. The sun never showed it's face and it rained nearly everyday at somepoint, but we saw some cool stuff and did a lot of chillin' out.

I've been having chronic issues with my email for the last 6 months it seems and they've really ramped up the last month. My web hosting provider (netfirms) seems to be the source of all these problems and they also seem to not have the slightest bit of concern about them. Basically it seems that the bulk of people who try to send email to me through a Comcast server can't get messages to me. That's a big problem for someone trying to run a business as Comcast is now the largest internet provider in the US. Netfirms sucks. Period.

Therefore as I type this, my web hosting service is being migrated over to Network Solutions. Hopefully if all goes well it will be a seamless transition from the web-site end of things. All of my user contact info will remain unchanged (web address, email address, etc...) so you shouldn't notice anything. However there will be a short interruption in my email service this weekend. So if you email me this weekend and it bounces, don't be shocked, try it again next week, or give me a call.

I really hope this will be the end of my email issues, I'm getting really tired of dealing with them. I've been purchasing my domain name from Network Solutions from the start, so I figured I'd try their web-hosting package. I've only heard good things about their service, keep your fingers crossed.

Now that I'm back from vacation I'm not wasting anytime. This week I've got the bulk of the next 953 frame done and started on another Headshok suspension fork conversion. Finished up the artwork and ordered the decals for the Route 29'ers, and gotten in most of my steel for the next batch of those frames.

This 953 frame will hopfully be featured in an upcoming issue of Vintage Bicycle Quarterly in their "Builder Speak" section. And as long as my booth comes through for the March 3-4 Minneapolis Bike Expo, it will be on display there along with several Route 29'ers. I'll post pictures of this one soon here too, it's a bit fancier than the last one with more lug carving and a very unique seatstay attachment.

Once I get the first few Route 29 bikes back from powdercoating (Dave I know you'll read this, but don't take it as me trying to rush you!) and the decals (which are pretty sweet!) are on I'll be setting up a web-page dedicated to those. You'll find all the pertinent info on there, sizing, pictures, components, pricing and how to buy them on-line (yes, they'll be available for purchase on-line through The Route).

Well that's about all I have time for now. Got bikes to build and a few forks to make with those new crowns!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

They're here!

Yup, first shipment of the redesigned crowns arrived yesterday. Here's a bunch of pictures:

Overall I'm much happier with these than I was with the previous prototype. The fit of the blades in the socket is much better. It's just about perfect with no sanding at all. The steerer hole has a small burr on the top-side which prevented a steerer from fitting right in, but a couple turns with my reamer in there and it's a perfect fit. I thickened up the walls of the sockets a bit as I felt they were a little on the skimpy side before, and I thickened up the cross section of the horizontal members that connect the steerer to the blades. That was good because they're still under design spec, but I accounted for that in my design, so they still meet the factor of safety.
I guess that's one of the hassles of dealing with outsourced manufacturing, I need to modify my designs to accomodate their looser tolerances (but loose tolerances are what make it affordable).
Even despite beefing up a few areas, the crown is slightly lighter than the protoype designs due to the decreased overall height and width. It weighs in about 190 g which I feel is very appropriate for a mtb crown of this style and width. It's certainly much lighter than the old Long shen mtb crowns I used to use, and about half the weight of my hand made wide fork crowns. They're going to look great on my lugged 29'ers.

Billy, you'll have your fork pretty soon!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New year news

Well, it's 2007, might as well start it off with some new furniture pictures. Yup, more furniture building in the last week of 2006.

This one is for our own personal use though. We finally pulled the pin on upgrading our 15-year-old TV as a mutual Christmas gift to each other, so we needed something set it on and hold the other components.

I had built our previous entertainment center too, it was a much larger all wood unit built from solid Aspen with a huge subwoofer built into the base of it (if anyone local is interested in it, I'll give it away just to get it our of our garage, includes a free 27" JVC TV!!!). We really wanted something much smaller and more modern, so after about 10 design iterations, this is what I came up with.
Basically steel framed construction with mostly Birch shelves (the display cabinet side is all metal). Surprisingly it took me almost twice as long to make this as it does a bed frame. There's less metal in it, but more welding and more accurate measuring (which takes time). The A/V shelves are completely cantilevered from the main frame, and there's a nice cord-management set-up behind them you can't see (to keep things tidy). The door was a bit tricky as I didn't want any exposed hinges. I had to weld in some extra recessed tabs to mount a special flush-mount hinge inside.

The finish of the steel was tricky. It looks really simple, but took quite a bit to achieve. We wanted it to look like bare darkened steel. I initially just did my usual black-oxide finish (that I use on the bed frames), but it gave it a slight gold-hue which didn't look good with the orange wall behind it. So sand all that off and try to figure out how to darken the metal but not make it look "coated". I really wanted the sanding marks to show through, but I didn't want the finish to be as bright as bare steel (which is very shiny silver, not gray).

So three coats of translucent paint later and a couple of clearcoats and I had my desired effect.
If you look really close you can see some small droplets of paint in there, but more than 6" away and it looks like bare gray steel.

The top and shelves are Birch, just finished with clear poly. I wanted maple in there, but had a difficult time finding wide enough boards. I didn't really want to hassle with edge gluing up boards for this project, so I just switched to Birch. They look incredibly similar.

Just to keep things all matchy-matchy (as Beth always says I like things), I make some maple tops for the Def-tech speakers on either side of the entertainment center. I think it all ties in nicely with the room's colors and Maple trim.

Not exactly a bike, but a pretty neat project I think. I've got one more bed to crank out soon too!

In the bike world, I finished up another frame and fork this weekend and got another route 29'er half built. I think I'm really getting those down pretty well. This one has a double bent downtube, which really helps solve some of the angle issues with the lugs and BB shell. It's a slight bend, so not obvious when you first look at the frame and I think a bottle cage on the downtube will almost make it disappear. I had to build up a custom roll-bender to make it happen though. I'm fairly pleased with how it worked, but I'll probably have to switch to non-butted downtubes to really maximize the smoothness of the bends.

My first shipment of fork crowns is also on the way, might arrive today infact. I'm pretty psyched to see those, hopefully the manufacturer nails the tolerances slightly better than on the prototypes. They assure me they have... Pictures will be posted once I get them.

In addition to the entertainment center (mentioned above) that I need to get rid of, I'll soon have an extra set of drums which I don't have room for. As part of a fantastic barter, I'll be getting a new (to me) set of Grestch drums in exchange for a frame, which means my Yamaha's need a new home. If anyone is interested in set of very nice Yamaha Stage Custom Fusion drums (10, 12, 14, 22" with a 14 x 5 steel snare) in Cranberry birch finish, let me know. I'm going to need the space. They're about $1000 worth of drums, I'd let 'em go for $600. email me for more info or pictures.