SPECTRUM CROSS X3 (POST 5), NO SECRETS.
Close to done. Going is slow since there really is no pressure to get her done. Jeff has been doing other work around the cross frame project. Building a paying customer’s frame, building up complete bikes, etc.
New images and a few comments here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spectrumcycles/sets/72157627715934830/
The only part of the project we have not shown here at all yet is the integrated front brake cable hanger. The AutoCAD work is all done, but I want to make sure that the design is really correct before I post it. Once we determine that it all works as designed, we will be posting it and giving the drawings to other builders FOC.
I still have to finish up the art work for parts of the paint job. Its going to be fun.
We have made every effort over the years to have no secrets here. We are happy to help other builders and give away our knowledge, at lease within reason. We don’t really have enough time to be the “go to” place for aspiring builders. Between what we do and the combined knowledge of the other builders in the Collective (http://www.framebuilderscollective.org/), there is a huge amount of knowledge and help available to those trying to learn and improve. It is our pleasure to help where we can. In the instance mentioned above, I would prefer that we not publish what we are working on until we are sure that we’ve got it right. It has worked the same way with our Randonneur front racks. We’ve been building them for our own bikes for years, but we didn’t feel that we had them really right until about four years ago. Now we are happy to let others know some of the tricks to why they work so well. So we are willing to give out information, just not bad information. K?
Now, go ride your bike.
SPECTRUM CROSS X3 (post 4) / Lack of skills?
Happy Friday all. Short update on the Cross project. Nothing exciting to report, just more steps checked off the long list of things to do when building a custom frame. Since our last post, Jeff has gotten the frame through the jig, cleaned up the lugs, added a support to the front derailleur internal housing and has now left for the weekend.
Images of these steps can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spectrumcycles/sets/72157627715934830/
My master back in the summer of ‘76 was Bill Boston. He had an unusual technique for thinning lugs and fork crowns. He had a washing machine type motor mounted on his work bench with a chuck directly mounted on the motor’s shaft. He then would chuck up a 7” disc holder. He started me grinding on some defective lugs and fork crowns. The techniques needed to thin lugs take a long time to develop. Thirty five years later, I am pretty good at it, but I still struggle at times. While another mentor of mine, Jim Redcay, used a belt sander to accomplish similar results, I’ve stuck with the 7” disc. Believe it or not, when OSHA visited last year, they had no complaints. Sure looks dangerous to me. The reason that I’ve stuck with Bill’s old method is that it gives our lugs a unique look … and it is one that I want to keep.
When I talk about the looks of our lugs I am not referring to the shorelines of the lugs, I’m talking about the shape of the lugs’ surfaces, their contours. The techniques used for thinning and shaping lugs help determine the final look. When I started building in the mid seventies, Jim Redcay’s assistant was Michael Overcash. He did all of his lug finishing with files, and you can see that by looking at the differences of the contours between Michael’s work and ours. Michael’s lugs had a look that I could never replicate. I did not have his skill with a file. So I developed techniques that got around my shortcomings. Our lugs don’t look better or worse than Michael’s and Jim’s did, they just look different. It has become part of our look over the decades. I find it interesting that some of the things that make one craftsman’s work different from another’s are not the result of taste or conscious effort, but simply results of talents and shortcomings. Comments? Drop me a line.
Have a good weekend.
SPECTRUM CROSS X3
A week in and the going is slow. I’ve got Jeff doing a few things at once and we are doing some things that we’ve never done before as well. We are determined to make all of the derailleur and rear brake runs through the top tube for both a cleaner look and cleaner cables. Internal rear brake cables are one of our trademark features, so no big deal there. The problems come with trying to fit all of the stainless tubing for all three cables inside the top tube AND have them enter and exit in a clean manner. My guess is that we will have our final answer some time tomorrow.
Most of the build is pretty basic for us since brazing up dropouts, lug blanks, and soldering frames together is what we do all the time. The difficulties we run into are when we do try something new, or we try to add things that require very careful measurements and planning. Since the top tube on this frame will be a pretty expensive 7-4-7 tube, Jeff has mocked up an old 1-7-1 tube first to see how things will fit together. Takes a lot of extra time, but it is better than trashing an expensive “real” tube.
You can now follow our progress through our Flickr page. Just click this link for theSteel Cross Frame image set.
Tomorrow, Jeff is starting work on another steel cross frame. We are going to do a bit of playing around on this one. We are adding a few features not often seen on modern steel cross frames. In most senses, this will be a pretty traditional frame; almost level top tube, pretty traditional geometry, steel – after all, steel fork, no discs and my guess is that the paint job will be no frills as well.
So here’s the deal. This frame is being built for me. This gives us the opportunity to try a number of things which we would prefer not trying on a paying customer’s bike. Lugs? Sure, maybe a bit shorter than our average lugs, but definitely. Bizzaro tubing? Nope. Pretty light, but only oversized, not double oversized. I’m a pretty little guy. A bit under 5’7” and 150lbs. We will be using traditional round chain stays without a lot of forming because the PCD bottom bracket allows us to.
We are setting it up for the new Shimano XC-70 components. They just arrived yesterday and they really are quite nice. Clean and well thought out. Not sure on the wheels yet. I can use some of my current wheels with Challenges bolted on or beg something better from someone. The rest of the components will come from what’s lying around the shop.
Over the next few weeks, keep an eye here for developments as we work through the new frame. I’ll be posting both here and in a new set on our Flickr page. This’ll be fun.