PROCESS BLOG

  • Kiss Me

    When I asked Marc Anthony Thompson if I could use a butchered version of his song Kiss Me as the background music for this video, he said:

    Of course you can use Kiss Me.

    You can flip it over, play it backwards, unearth the Satanic gems, slow it down, speed it up, feed it currants, come in it's mouth ( is that too far? ) -

    all that to say:

    Have your way with it and I look forward to seeing it and you soon.

    Ok?


    Here it is, Marc.  Thanks.


    Listen to the beautiful original here.  (and if you don't already know chocolate genius, GO LISTEN!)

  • chainstay spacer-outer..

    Maybe it's because I mostly built lugged bikes for the first bunch of years that I was in business. That's the most flattering reason I can think of, at any rate, that I hadn't taken the time to find a solution for this little problem earlier (like chris columbus running around finding things that weren't lost).

    The problem in question was, how on earth do you make sure that the chainstays are hitting the BB shell symmetrically?  With a lugged BB shell, the chainstays go in the sockets, and if they're not symmetrical at that point, it's the fault of the casting, and you're off the hook!  But lugless..  Hell.  They could end up anywhere at all! 

    So I made a little chainstay spacer-outer.  And by "made", I mean I faced and drilled and tapped a piece of steel round and took a little time to make sure that it was mounted on the centerline of my fixture.  A ten minute side track from what I was doing, that probably saved me more than twice that much time just on THIS bike.

    Sometimes I'm astonished by just how much I don't know.

    I worked construction when I was a teenager.  One day we were talking on the crew about something we'd heard on NPR (Oh my god.  I should stop the story right there.  It's already a pretty good joke about Vermont construction crews), and a guy on the crew who we'll call Rich (because I think that was his name), said, "wow.  I DID NOT know that...    You know?  You could probably write a whole book about the shit I don't know....      *hammer hammer..    pause*  Come to think of it, I think they've already done that.  A bunch of times."

  • Capping Seat Stays

    Capping seat stays is one of my favorite processes in building a bike.  I think that the size, shape, placement, and angle of the cap do a lot to define the character of the bike.  It's one of the first things that my eye is drawn to when I look at other peoples' work. 

    It's my guess that many of you reading this have never given it too much thought.  SO.  I made a little movie about capping seat stays.  People do it in lot of different ways.  Some people skip it entirely and miter the stays directly to the seat tube. 

    This is how I do it.  The length and angle of the caps varry a lot from bike to bike, but the process is always pretty much the same. The caps in the video are pretty stubby..  I've been doing a lot of short caps recently.  Fatter tires, fatter caps..  Fatter Ezra, come to think of it!

    Enjoy.  

    (I edited this very early this morning with the sound off, then turned on the sound to see what I got!  With some minor tweaks, this was the result).

  • SADLY

    I think I will sell this bike.

    I should explain.

    In 2010, I built Hill a touring bike. She got it in a pretty raw state with her coffee on the morning of her birthday.

    She chose some colors and it went off to paint and came back looking quite beautiful, I thought.   (It's quite possible that the color choices were unwittingly effected by the bedding!  and even her hair?)

    The idea was that as soon as I had the time I'd build myself one too, and we'd go and do some touring.  In particular, we liked the idea of starting in the Seattle area with a visit to the infamous Timmy Corkery, and then heading north through Bellingham (Cory B!), to vancouver (Perfect Tommy), and on to Vancouver Island to see what the west coast Nova Scotia looked like.

    This project got a little derailed when, in the late summer of 2010, I recurred and had to be rushed to the hospital for an evisceration!  The surgery was followed by six months of chemotherapy, which I found much harder to endure than my first six month stint of the stuff.  I was completely unable to work.  I sent back a few down payments, and spent a lot of time on my back.

    At some point in March, though, my white blood cells got low enough that they weren't able to give me the normal dose of chemo without risking.. well.. death, I guess.  So, I got a few days less poison that round, and the difference it made was amazing.  I took advantage of it and rushed out to the shop and managed to mostly build myself a frame in about three days.

    The following day I was back on the poison, and the debilitating pain that it caused sunk back in until the end of treatment in May.  I didn't get around to finishing the frame and building racks until the end of the summer, but it DID eventually become a bike. Sort of my dream bike, in fact.  It has the last set of paramount lugs that I had.  No more to be had for love or money.  It has a shiny silver Campy Athena 11 speed group.  Paul Comp brakes.  Chris King, White industries, Nitto, etc etc.

    The problem is that I designed the bike for the body that I had, and not the body that I've ended up with.  The two herniated disks in my lower back (still no clue about how they happened during a period spent mostly prone) and the sciatic pain that they cause pretty much rule out long days spent in the saddle, even in the reasonably upright position that the nitto technomic stem allows.

    So I haven't really ridden the thing.  It's got a total of about 150 miles on it.

    It's sad for me.  And also sad for Hill.  It represents the sum total of work that I managed to get done during my last bout of cancer treatment.  It was meant to be the mating pair to Hill's bike, which would allow us to adventure around together.  Pretty romantic, I thought.  But Hill and I agree that it's even more sad for that bike with so much love (and money) tied up in it, to simply hang on the wall and not be ridden.  It's a great bike for SOMEONE.  Not me.  And maybe I can use the money to build myself something that I WILL ride.

    I'm about 5'8" and normally proportioned.  If you don't have back problems, and like bike touring, this might be a great bike for you. I can make it available for test rides for anyone who wants to come for a visit.

    So that you have a sense.  If you were to order a bike like this bike from me, it would have a price tag in the $5500 range.  I would be quite happy to get $4k for it.

    If you are interested, shoot me an email.

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    Come to think of it, maybe while I'm at it I'll unload this thing too!  Woops.  Update.  Sold (white bike).

  • HANDSOME!

    HANDSOME!

    I'm building a bike for Jason, in burlington.

    He wants a "hop on and go" bike.  I decided that a lugged 29'er with sort of retro 80s MTB lines and a coaster brake could be really fun.

    SO the search for a good coaster hub began..   I had heard some rumors about a Handsome coaster hub.  I contacted them, and they said that it wasn't quite ready for release, but that they'd be glad to send me a prototype for a personal bike!  Nice. Looks like I may have to build myself another bike.  Drat.

  • NOSE BIKE PLATFORM/CRATE

    NOSE BIKE PLATFORM/CRATE

    It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned the nose bike.  I arrived at this third version of the frame last November and built a few of them, but never actually put up any photos.  Yesterday afternoon when I should have been working on a customer’s bike, I had a pretty clever idea for a front platform/crate and dropped what I was doing to make it!

    The Nose bike, when equipped with a crate makes a pretty convenient grocery getter.  It’s easy just to toss in things like grocery bags and anything else that will fit, and off you go.  I find myself in the position pretty frequently, though, of having to head out to find the UPS guy who’s got a package on his truck for me that may or may not fit in my crate.  It feels pretty silly to ride a cargo bike home one handed because the parcel you’re holding in your other hand won’t fit in the crate.  So I built a platform upon which I could bungee packages, and discovered pretty quickly that it feels just as silly to ride a cargo bike around with a back pack on because the stuff you want to carry is too disorganized to go on a platform.  GAH!  What to do?

    It goes without saying, that I could remove the bolts and simply switch from the platform to the crate, but this was just enough hassle to make it not worth doing!  Naturally, I could bungee the old crate to the new platform, but this felt a little kludgy.  Then it occured to me..  What if the platform was the bottom of the crate?!

    The platform that I had made was slightly tapered.  Narrower at the front.  You know, for aerodynamics.  So I made a crate that was missing a bottom.. mostly.

    When you put the crate on, it mates with the platform..   (stop giggling, Valancy Jane).

    Slide it back, and through the magic of inclined planes, it snugs right into place.

    Then bungee it down and you’re off to the races..  Or the grocery store.

    This only takes about 15 seconds, requires no tools, and is VERY solid.  Surprisingly so!

    I found some bungees with loops at one end, so you only need to worry about chasing the other end.. which helps a lot!

    There are a few little innovations that I’ve got in mind.  But as a concept I think it’s pretty neat, and it renews my excitement about the nose bike.

    Now I need to head out to the shop and get back to work on that customer’s bike

  • CHOPSTICK CLAMPS

    I'm reposting this video from the TCTC blog, just to start getting a little content on this NEW blog.

    I made these clamps to solve the problem of holding dropout faces in place while I braze them, without having some big heatsink in the way.  They work a charm!

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