Sunday, January 22, 2006


Well it's the end of the weekend and I managed to really fill the time up well this weekend.

Friday and Saturday I got in good ski's at Battle Creek. There really isn't much snow left in the metro area, but I've been continually amazed at how good the trails are. The grooming has just turned around 180 degrees from where it was 5 years ago. They even got out and groomed the new flatter course on the west side of Battle Creek road this week. It's not perfect, but it's probably got the best real snow classic track in the twin cities. Here's a pic, not bad eh? Sadly it appeared that more people had walked on the trail than had skied. I talked to a couple groups of people Saturday about not walking on the trails and all of them simply didn't know that they're not supposed to be walking out there, much less that it's actually illegal in Ramsey county on the posted trails. I think I'll write a note to the county park manager to find out what it would take to post signs with the trail rules at the other entrances. There are a lot of entrances to these trails and the only sign informing people not to walk on the trails is at the parking lot. I think we just need better communication. Skiers are the biggest influence, if you're out there and don't say anything to folks walking on the trails, they will simply assume it must be alright, we're all better off if more skiers would POLITELY inform them that they should not be walking on the groomed trails. end soapbox.

I got in some good shop time this weekend too. Made more progress on the next frame I'm working on, but even better I got to do more experimenting with the copper plating. I made about 10 trial runs on a fork until I finally got the point where I was getting good adhesion. Once I had that figured out, I lacquered the fork to keep it from corroding any more. The results are pretty neat, the copper is quite varied in color and pattern so it looks aged. It's not at all like bright shiny new copper. Honestly it looks like an antique, but it's brand new. Really unique for a bike frame.

The copper coating react differently to different base metals. As you can see here, it didn't immediately plate to the brass used for the dropouts. I found a technique that allowed it to partly adhere to the brass, but in the end it ended up looking better with the brass showing through I think. Again, it has that aged look.

I plated the rest of the frame, but I haven't sprayed the lacquer yet. I'll have pictures of it soon. The frame has much more surface area, so there's even more variation in the finish, which isn't at all what I expected or thought I wanted but once I saw it, I really liked it.

The one downside is that the plating is very thin, so everything shows. The frame really needs to be perfect in bare metal form. No filler or primer to cover up tiny file slips or pinholes. So I ended up spending quite a bit of time finishing up the frame a bit more than is required with paint.

In other news, we're living in our new living room!!!! We decided to move our old furniture into there for the time being and it actually fits quite well. Unfortunately that meant moving my entertainment center. Not that it's that big of a deal, but I had to disconnect all the components then re-connect them on the other end. Not to mention the entertainment center itself is fairly heavy since it has a 12" double bandpass subwoofer that I built into the base of it I'm kind of anal about my audio components, so this is a fairly time-consuming process. But it was all worth while since I also got to finally have the home-theater arrangement that I always wanted. If you'll recall, I buried all the wiring for all the speakers in the room in the walls and floor. So I was able to really clean up the cables by wiring everything right into the wall boxes, but it took several hours for me to get it all wired up the way I wanted it.

As with all my projects though, one thing leads to another, and getting the entertainment center into the livingroom meant I had to make wall brackets for mounting the speakers. I've had a plan all along to do this, but I never quite got around to making the brackets which would mount on the electric boxes in the walls and hold the small satellite speakers. So I welded up four box covers with angled mounting brackets on them and got all that hooked up Saturday. I think they came out looking really clean and nice. The front ones are neatly tucked away right next to the curtains, so you hardly even notice them.

Well, it's been a long weekend and I'm just plain worn out. So adios for now.



Anonymous said...

Pretty cool looking bike photos there!


Someone out there is one lucky son of a gun!


Hjalti said...

Wow, neat finish. What are the tabs on the back of the fork for?

Bob said...

The tabs on back are mounts for a tire-driven dynamo. This is a fully loaded touring frame, and they wanted lots of options for dynamo's, hence tabs on both legs.