Friday, August 31, 2007


It's pretty bad when I have to go back and look at my own blog to what I wrote about last time because it's been so long since I've posted. I've been back in full-on Bob Brown mode tearing apart our house, so I haven't had any free time to think, breath, eat, or write (well at least to write).

As I mentioned last time, I'm working on a simple project o re-do my stairs in the house. Well that scope has turned out of control, I have the stairs all turned around and functional, and I frames in a new closet and a new hallway, but I seem to keep finding more things to include in this project.
Here's a shot of how things are looking today, the stairs are sloped the "right" way now. I had to build three angled steps near the bottom to make the turn into the new hallway, but I think they came out pretty good.

I also decided to just frame in an entire room surrounding the furnace and water heater. The problem with having a metal shop in your basement is you make a ton of dust, and if your furnace is basically in the middle of your shop, all that dust makes it way into the furnace and into the rest of the house. Sooooo, I figured if I can section off that part of the basement and keep it clean, hopefully we'll have cleaner air upstairs as well. It also give us a really nice big storage area that should be free of shop-dust.

Of course after moving the stairs, I needed to relocate half the plumbing in the house since it was now located right where we'd be walking through. That ended up taking the better part of a whole weekend on it's own, but now about 75 % of the house has new copper plumbing. I was amazed, I sweated about 50 individual copper fittings during that process (there were a LOT of elbows!) and when I turned it back on, not a single drip. Guess all that brazing pays off when it comes to being a plumber.

Since I was on a role with the remodel, this seems like the right time to do my shop relocation as well. I'm taking over the other half of the basement to make the shop bigger and better. This part will be a long project I'm guessing since I can't really drop all my framebuilding right now to move the shop, so I'm slowing plugging away at it. I started with the heavy stuff though, moved the alignment table and all my tubing storage. Then with the help of local framebuilder and all around good guy Dave Anderson, moved my 2000lb horizontal mill across the basement and moved my new lathe into the shop.

Did I mention I got a new lathe? I picked up a really neat Clausing 5914 lathe from a 3M surplus sale. It's big, 12" x 36" bed, 1200 lbs of good old 'merican steel! Sorry I don't have any great pics of it yet, but once I have some free time to clean it up and get it wired I'll take some.
It's mighty nice, takes 5C collets right in the headstock with no adapters, has a true variable speed drive with hydraulic clutch and brake, turns about a million threads and has a nice big 1.375" spindle bore. In short, it's a true industrial machine, and I'm excited to give it a new home.

So this weekend I'm giving the basement the full court press. Gonna try to finish up the drywall and wiring on the house parts and get a bunch of my shop cleaned up and functional, and see how much stuff I can get moved to the new shop. I'm also planning on insulating and finishing off the ceiling in the new shop space. That should keep things quiet upstairs and give me more fire protection when using the torch. I'm still debating just drywalling the ceiling or installing a drop-ceiling with fire-resistant panels.

On the bike front, I'm still managing to get some work done, moved a couple coupler jobs out of the shop this week and one repaint. And I sold off the steel/carbon frame I posted here a few weeks back. However I do feel like I'm falling behind as I have a few 'cross frames I really need to get done before 'cross season really starts up.
Reynolds has been holding me up on some of that work though as they just shipped their August 953 production run this week (three weeks late), so I've been waiting for tubes. They're defintely getting better at delivering the stuff (a few weeks late is better than 6 months late) but it will be nice if they can actually get caught up and stock some 953.

That's about all I have time for right now, try to write again soon,


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

rampin' up

Things are really starting to heat up around the shop. I feel like I've been spraying paint for a month straight right now, I just kind of let a bunch of repaints build up. Here's a pair of Molteni orange frames, one an S & S retrofit, one a Merckx restoration. The Merckx will be adorned with a record kit soon, should be a find bike for the owner!

I've been hit with the last minute rush before singlespeed world champs in Scotland as well. Got two more coupler retrofits to finish up this weekend and I think I'll have all those taken care of.

I've got three bikes to get assembled this week too, man stuff is just piling up!

The blog-sale last posting was pretty successful, but I've still got a couple things left. The steel/carbon frame and fork are still available as well as the Ritchey carbon bars. In addition I've got an IRD shimano 10 speed cassette for sale, brand new 11-23. $40.

In tangentially related news, I've started on the last really big part of our home-remodeling: turning the basement stairs around 180 degrees. I've done just about all the pre-work including a lot of demo. I think this weekend will be the big push where I'll actually pull out the whole existing staircase and build the new one. I don't think it will take long to make it functional, but the finish work will take some time. I intend to build a new hallway in the basement and frame out a new closet upstairs next to our front door, so there will be a pretty fair amount of drywall work to do (which I hate). Not looking forward to that. But I am really looking forward to having the stairs moved. It will really change the layout of my shop space and give me a lot more space. I've got grand plans for the shop this winter, but I'll write about that some other time.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

more stuff for sale

Two postings in a row, must mean I need to sell stuff!

I still have this frame available, if there aren't any bites in the next week, it's going on ebay. The group sold, so it's down to just the frame, fork, headset and seatpost. It's a 58cm effective top-tube, 60cm effective seat-tube. lugged steel front, columbus super-muscle carbon rear. Frame weighs 3.6lbs. Matching Alpha Q sub 3 fork, Record threadless headset and Wound up carbon seatpost. Chromillusions color changing paint. you really need to see this in person to appreciate it. Nearly perfect, there's one small paint chip on the left chainstay, otherwise the paint is perfect. Email me for more pictures and details. $1500/ frame, fork, headset, post.

FRM CL2 TI brakes. These baby's are about the lightest thing around, lighter than the Zero Gravity brakes which everyone mistakes them for. I've got a pair of them for sale, they have been used about 10 times, but are truly like brand new condition. These weight 96g per complete brake including the pads! (per my Ohaus balance). They work great and I cannot tell any difference in feel between these and my Record dual pivots. Great way to save some weight. I don't think anyone is importing these into the US anymore, so here's your big chance to have some super-euro brakes nobody else has! $200/ set (front and rear). Priced to move! More info here.

Flite Carbon saddle. This is the lightest flite made, carbon insert, carbon rails. Actual weight 156g. Brand spankin' new. Retail is about $160 online, this one is yours for $120 shipped.

TTT Less XL handlebar. 42cm width, 31.8 clamp, used but excellent condition. Less than a year old, 221g actual weight.

Ritchey Carbon Evolution bar, 42cm. This is a fabulous bar, 200g very stiff, very comfortable shape. It's wider on the tops, and sweeps back slightly, shallow drop, typical flat top Ritchey shape. Specs are here. Retail is about $275 on these, these have less than 5 rides on them and are indistinguishable from new $200.

Reynolds Ouzo Race Aluminum bar. 40cm, new, anatomic bend, 31.8mm clamp, 220g.

Thompson X2 road stem, 31.8 x 1 1/8" clamps, +/- 5 degree, 100mm length. excellent condition, like new. $50, or buy any bar above and get this stem for $40!

Those are the highlights for now, it's all going on ebay if I don't get bites here, so act fast!


Monday, August 06, 2007


Horrible, that's what my dedication to this blog has been lately. It's been really tough finding the time. It's been two and a half weeks since I've posted here and I think I've done 3 rides in that time. Sad.
I did what will be for me, the last Buck Hill race of the year last week. Technically there is one more this week, but I won't be able to be there. Man it's gotten rough out there. For those of you not in the Twin Cities, we're having nothing short of a drought up here. No rain for pretty much the whole summer, which has literally turned riding at Buck into a race at the beach. The trails are all sand, some places almost unridable because it's 6" deep. It's been a challenge to say the least. Sure hope we get some real rain here soon.

Even though I'm not writing much, I've been really cranking out work. Since my last posting I finished up another frame and painted four others. Paint has really been frustrating for me lately. Dupont went and changed the chemistry of the clearcoat I use again and it's really hosed me up. To make it worse on the last batch of 3 frames it appears that I got a bad can of activator for the clear so all of them had horrible clears and I had to respray them all multiple times and completely start over on one of them.
I think I've finally settled in on a new clearcoat, it's a higher-end product, so it's expensive at about $75/quart, but it really looks nice and lays flat. Combined with the new Iwata gun I've been using I can now use about 1/2 the liquid volume of clear and get a deeper coat and better shine. I'm still working out a few quirks, but I think I'm on the right track to clearcoat nirvana.

The one pictured here has painted in logos on the downtube, which I really like. They're sprayed with Chrome paint and buried under clearcoat. Looks sharp with the polished stainless lugs and couplers on this one. More pictures once it's built up.

I finished assembling this one too. Really nice little bike with the Campy Centaur group and Nitto parts. This one should be on it's way to the new owner very soon, hopefully in time to get in plenty of good riding yet this summer.

I really like the Centaur group, but I wish Campy would have kept the polished finish brake levers. For 2007 they went carbon on the lever blades. They keep trickling the carbon down further into their lines making it harder and harder to make a classic looking group with high end parts.

In other news, I've also started into the final stage of our overall home improvement scope. Faithful readers will no doubt know all about the addition to the house, well I'm on the last step, turning our basement stairs around 180 degrees. Anyone that's been in my basement knows this is no small task. It's taken me 2 weeks already to clear out enough space to stage all the construction. So I spent a lot of time this weekend moving stuff away from the stairs in preparation for demo.
When it's all said and done, the shop will be completely rearranged, we'll have new stairs and a new front entry closet upstairs, and best of all a new hallway from the garage straight up the stairs so that we won't have to walk through the shop to enter the house. That should do wonders for keeping the house clean! I'm actually really excited about getting this done. I just need to dedicate the time and do it!