Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vulture's Knob Cross series...a vintage ride too!

Just in time to help burn off those holiday cookies, the schedule for the winter cross series at Vulture's Knob has been posted. If you are interested in playing in the cold and sliding in the snow and mud with a multitude of brightly colored friends, here's your opportunity.

All races tend to be pretty low key and focus on FUN. Here's the skinny;

Gather at the garage around the warm fire for the start of the "Wish you'd stay'd in bed" cross series each Sunday at 1300 hours for the start;

January 3
January 17
January 31
February 14
February 28

The course has changed for 2010, but will still be 1 mile around with well signed corners. No special equipment is necessary, as folks show up on all manifestations of bikes. We won't discriminate if you want to huck around on your 3o's Excelsior or your $5000.00 carpet fiber super cross machine, it's all good. Come on out and play a bit :)

Kalten and I got out for a couple hours to check out the course on the vintage rides; we had fast conditions albeit cold and windy. As evidenced by the photos below, we just beat the onslaught of the latest snow storm...whew!

Before the ride...
Just after ;)
I always make an effort to jump back on the old 80's bike a couple of times a year to remind myself just how far bicycle fit, comfort, and performance have come. I still love my old ride, just really appreciate my new one as well ;)

Back with shop news tonight.



Monday, December 28, 2009

Groovy customers play Santa...

I know that I have been blessed by the people that I work with through frame building when opportunities like this come to fruition.

There is a great kid here in town who's family is not as fortunate as others in their ability to prioritize the family budget to allow for such expensive items as a mountain bike for a burgeoning young racer. Battling it out on a donated Trek 3000 bike last season (a low end recreational model that was well used when he received it), this young man really embraced the spirit of what cycling in the woods is all about; adventure, new discovery, and expressing the richness gained from the experience with a smile. Although he never complained once when inevitably another inexpensive part would break, we wanted to do something for him to allow a more reliable race season for 2010.

Although behind the scenes and not publicized, many of you folks stepped up and donated parts, money, and time to make this a reality.

So I want to thank you all for your generosity and for the gift you've given me...affirmation that even in tough times, the folks that I have the opportunity to work with here at Groovy are the ones that I'm proud to call friends.
You're good folks!

sorry for the crappy cell pic, I'll get a new camera soon, I promise :)



Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas All

May your day be filled with family, sharing, and joy...

rody and family

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday and Sunday I worked on Ti bars, trying to get them out to folks before the guy in the big red suit shows up.

Titanium takes longer to work with, as the material demands a meticulous process, insuring cleanliness and precision. As I do bars in batches, one step that I take to insure that the tubing is ready when I am is to bag all my parts after they've been cleaned and prepped with Scotchbright, limiting atmospheric contamination and dust niblets that float around.

Once out of the bag, they get another quick rub with the Scotchbright to knock off any oxidation, an acetone bath, then purged and tacked up. Here's a bar getting it's final purge before welding. How long do I purge for? I try to allow for the calculated interior space to be replaced with argon by a factor of three...about 5 minutes per bar at 6cfm does it for me. Once filled, I knock the flow back to a maintenance rate to keep up with leakage out the miters.
Each bar takes me about 35 minutes for welding, alignment and inspection once all the dead time is factored in. Mid afternoon Sunday and here's what I've gotten done today... 10 more bars to go before tomorrow morning :)

Gonna have to run to Canton in the morning to pick up some new ceramic nozzles for the blast cabinet then I'll get these glass beaded, rubbed out, and off to their new homes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tales from behind the helmet...

...the welding helmet, that is.

Worked on welding up the rest of the steel bars for this month, so it was a repetitious day crouched over the weld table. Honestly, with the hectic emotional stuff going on the last week, it was nice to be in that quiet, focused place.

One thing that amazes me when doing a lot of welding is how the filler wire just seems to disappear; when I pull out a new piece of filler, it gleams of promise and excitement with it's 36" length. Soon, before you know it, there's just a stub in between your fingers...
I really enjoy the different processes for joining metal and the variety they offer. As an example, when fillet brazing, the whole joint needs to be brought up to temperature to allow for good penetration and even tapering of the edges of the puddle into the base material. A lot of heat radiates from the work, creating a "hot potato", hoping you don't accidentally sacrifice some skin to the piece if touched. In this example, the heat of the Tig puddle is so focused and small, I can have my dainty fingers a mere centimeter away with no acute result...a good layer of thick callous helps :)

So, here's what I got done in the morning hours...the last bar is built inside the stem for Martin, who was excited to win it and disappointed that his Luv would not pass through the traditional split front. Kinda like a one piece bar stem combo, but at least this one can rotate ;)
The pups have not been getting out of the house much since the weather has turned cold, so I brought them to the shop with me today. Frankie was a good buddy, sleeping soundly beneath the weld table most the day.
Off to go do some powder, pics of Steve's rear end (the bike, not his) later this weekend.

Been electronically absent...

Not been around the computer the last week...had two deaths in our FD family in the 9 days, so much time spent assisting with arrangements, participation and the uncommon work of life.

Hold your loved ones close and cherish them as we move toward the holidays.

Be back with some shop news tonight.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Can you feel the Luv?

Ok, it's official...winter is here. How can I be so sure?

I offer to you visual proof...the wooly green socks have been shod. Alas, it has become sock and sandal weather :(
Today was one of those days that test one's determination to do this for a living...6 degrees outside means chilly willy in the shop, sunless and dark when I arrived and moonlit when I left, and long repetitive work all by yourself. Way better than working for "the man" any day though ;) ... darn tooting!

I spent the whole day prepping for the December bar run; cutting steel tubing, parting off Ti material, turning down and squaring off in the lathe, deburring all the edges, sanding each piece, and then washing it all in a mild degreaser for weld prep. I should have 45 bars done by Sunday night, when I'll be able to turn my attention back to frame progress again.

The only visitor I had today was this little guy...
A hairy titanium little pile of fluff that kinda reminded me of the cuddly yet problematic Tribbles from Star Trek...
Y'all see the resemblance?

After all the prep work for the bars was done, I turned my attention to some resto work, and stripped an old Yo for some Grello paint. So there ya go, a full days toil reduced down to a few boxes of parts and some tubes on a granite table...
don't look like much now, but hopefully it'll translate into lots of smiles in a week or so.



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cleaning up...

Sorry for the lack of posts of late...I kinda feel weird putting up posts without pics. As my camera was unwillingly redistributed to a new owner, I've obviously not been shooting a lot.

I had three final items to fix up post break in. The last was today, Jim's Fox fork repaint. It was sitting happily on the table waiting for Jim's return from his Thanksgiving snowboarding trip when it and two other finished items were showered with rock and glass. The chip and scratches from getting knocked to the floor were beyond my feeling good about just touching it up, so round two commenced. The entire fork was sanded back down to primer and resprayed. I normally take everything apart, paint, then re-assemble, but I really hated to put the seals through that again so masked it up and sprayed it intact...we'll see how it turns out.

Jim is craving to the need for more speed than his fully rigid set up allows so he can out shine his riding buddies (watch out now, Vince!). Hopefully, it'll look good going that fast.
In between clear coats, I began working on the last run of Luvs for the year, I'll post up some pics tomorrow night for y'all.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back to normal...

After a couple of days lost to fixing the shop back up and taking care of some office work, I moved back into a semblance of normalcy today.

I've been dragging on Steven's frame a bit as I've been waiting on a set of Hot Rods from Pa. Without them in hand, I made a phone call and got the skinny on all the specs today so I could continue to move forward with the rear end...really did not want to build it up and find out I have interference with the chain line for the triple after the fact.

So, armed with the appropriate numbers (thanks Big Willy), I soldiered on. I completed the finish work on the custom '30s dropouts, milling off the CNC tabs, chamfering the edges, and tapping in the derailleur hanger. They look spiffy and should flow nicely into the scalloped stays. Having already fabbed up the seat stays in a compound rolled/lateral bend configuration, I moved onto the chain stays. I wanted to keep with the old school spirit, but the frame we were using for inspiration was kinda bland in this particular area, simply running a straight constant diameter tube back from a socket in the bottom bracket. Kinda cheesy.

So, taking a cue from some other Klunker designs, I bent up some material with a nice tire clearance bend at the bottom bracket and then an upsweep bend 90 degrees around the tube to flow it up to the dropout. The .035 chainstays stretched cleanly with a little inside support and have a nice round finished shape. Should be purty.

Room for the tire here...
and a gentle rise up for greater drive train /stay clearance and a bit of pizazz.
Granted, they don't look like much now, but they should be functional and a bit sexy once melted into the rest of the frame :)

I also received an early shop Christmas present today...a new Graphtec plotter.
This guy will expand my ability to create complex computer generated paint masks and make multi layer masking more efficient as well as increasing the quality of the final product. Now if I can quickly learn the latest version of Illustrator and the new cut software plug in...should make for some nice "as I doze off to sleep" reading in bed ;)

Next day back, we'll put the rear end on Steven's bike, hang all the fiddley bits, and get her ready for paint.



PS... Last years Black Friday sale I had one bar that was shipped to England for a German customer who was visiting his parents. The bar never made it and it's replacement has been patiently sitting here on the shelf. Problem is, I can't remember who the customer was???? If this story sounds intimately familiar, please email me so I can make it right by ya. thanks!