Saturday, April 22, 2017
Friday, April 14, 2017
Thursday, April 13, 2017
I never would've thought it would take me this long... wait, yes I would. Anyway I finally
finished up the paint on this gravel road frame that's been sitting
around the shop for what seems like eternity. I've had 3 frames laying
around the shop with primer on them and I told myself that I wasn't gonna start
another build until they were completed. Well, two of them are finished and I've
got a small start on the last one.
This paint job went much smoother than the Van Halen Frankenstrat
paint scheme did. Trying to keep tight lines on that one complicated things but on this one I was just winging it with no actual plan. Mainly
just trying to keep it somewhat traditional yet interesting at the same time.
The star stencils that I normally use on the head tube didn't fit this tapered head
tube too well so I had to improvise a bit.
Rear brake line runs through the down tube. With the derailleur cables running in the
traditional road position the brake line wasn't a clean fit. I prefer to make things as easy
as possible to work on but this isn't too difficult of a setup. It comes out the side of the
down tube, over the bottom bracket shell, and across the chain stay. It's not totally concealed but it tucks away nicely and leaves you with a cluttered look.
The paint scheme will actually help to conceal the brake line.
I always put a carbon fiber chain stay protector on my frames now unless someone
just tells me not to. I just like the way it looks too much, not to mention the protective capabilities from all the chain-slap when you're descending a gravel hill at 30 mph. I
always say that I want you guys to beat the molasses out of my frames but that doesn't
mean I'm not gonna make it tough on you.
I can't think of much to say about this except that it's colorful, no?
These letters are actually done in a lime green color. When the sun is shining directly on
them it's a little hard to tell. It looks a little greener on a cloudy day. I love the new logo
that Vince Pearcy designed for me. It let's me go in the direction that I want to go. I'll still
use the old logo for anyone that wants it but this one just fits the MEECH concept at the present moment.
I told Jack that we were gonna go take some pictures of the bicycle. So after I got the
frame in place and started trying to get some shots, he kept walking in front of the camera
and didn't understand why I kept telling him to get out of the way. I had to take a little time
out and shoot a few rounds with him before Dizzy finally got his attention and permitted me
to finish the job. Normally he doesn't want his picture taken but I know for a fact that he likes
this frame because after it was done he said, "I like this bicycle. Can I have it?"
This is the beginning of the next frame but it's a long way from completed.
Thanks for stopping by.
MEECH Custom Bicycles
Sunday, March 12, 2017
We got a good dose of snow last night in Jonesboro and since we don't see much of the white stuff here in Arkansas, the little man Jack wanted to take it all in. Factory racer Larry Yancey gave him a couple Flexible Flyers a while back and the little man insisted I get them down out of the rafters of the garage. "Gladly", I said. "Anything to get you out of the house."
Turns out, I not only had to go out in the snow with him, I had to be his sled dog too. I hate snow! Oh well, it wasn't bad and we got a few pics to look back on. He didn't quite understand the concept of snowballin when I pelted him upside the head with a big wet snowball but he was quick to learn.
Wouldn't be a stroll without Dizzy.
If you want to watch some good racing highlights Paris-Nice was decided by 2 seconds. Quite good for early season. Steephill TV has it all and you can usually watch the last couple of kilometers of each stage. It's nice being able to watch all the key moments of an entire stage race in about 10 minutes.
It's about time to get back in the paint booth. Got a fork on the way for a gravel road bike. Hoping to get it done soon. Thanks for stopping by.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Thursday, March 9, 2017
The last time I posted I believe I said something to the effect that the next time I post it would be with some color. Well, it took a while but here it is. After seeing a few Van Halen posts on Facebook I decided to incorporate a little EVH voodoo into one of my frames. It turned out to be a little harder than I anticipated. I think painting a bicycle might be a little harder than painting a guitar but I wouldn't tell Eddie that. On second thought,
yes i would!
This was how it turned out after the first time I completed it and it just didn't seem to meld, however, as I'm looking at it here a couple days later it doesn't seem so bad. The head tube design, which I had no actual design at all wasn't even close to working. The paint job was good however it looked like it belonged on 3 different frames instead of one. After spending so much time trying to get this thing right and then to finish and realize it the paint scheme didn't really work like you thought it would was devastating at first, but what do you do? Shake it off and give it another dig. It took 4 tries to get the fork right, not to mention I got talked into some primer that didn't jibe with my painting products. That really messed things up from step one. I laid down the first color of base coat and it immediately started cracking and looking like a spider web. Took a long time to diagnose the problem but we finally figured it out and fortunately it was nothing that I was doing. That's always great to hear after you've beat yourself up for a week. The primer incident was a lot of the reason it took so long. Anyway, all water under the bridge.
Here's the "do-over" as we used to call it when we played football on the playground. I feel much better about it now. A buddy of mine even said that it looks just like me. Was that a compliment? Not sure. Anyway, I'm still not sure it's done. I think it needs some black where the top tube and down tube meet the seat tube and then also on the other side where the stays connect. Geez! When will I be able to move on?
Monday, February 27, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Here are a few shots of the first frame I've completed in a while. I started messing around with it quite a while back and finally put the finishing touches on it in the new shop. Finishing this thing up made me feel like a frame builder again. I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever get back to doing what I enjoy and I'm hoping this is the first of many more to come.
I was afraid that with so little time in the shop I might be a little rusty however fillet-brazing is a little like riding a bicycle.
Tapered head tube from Nova Cycles. 1 1/8"- 1 1/2" with 44 mm diameter ream on the lower end. This is the lightest way to do a tapered steel head tube, that I know of anyway. For a mountain bike you may want to go a little heavier, but for cross or gravel road I think this is plenty strong. Enve makes a nice fork that is gonna be perfect for this build.
Flat-mount disc-brakes. This was definitely the most difficult part of this build. I'm guessing someone has a more precise way to just go in and cut out the proper amount of chain stay material and just drop this piece in place, but being the first one, I took it slow and filed a little at a time until everything was in place. Paragon now makes a dropout with this piece already in place so that's what I'll probably use next time because it's a bit stressful always being on the edge of ruining a chain stay that's already built into the frame. Destroying the chain stay at this point would have been a major bummer and I was extremely relieved to have this piece brazed in and the wheel spinning freely within the caliper. I would love to watch someone who is more experienced with this process.
142 x 12 thru-axle of course.
Last minute decision to go internal with the brake line in the down tube. It's the only fishing I do these days.
This was a bottom bracket shell from last year. Normally everyone likes to personalize their frame and so my planned serial number methods are never in order, they serve their purpose though.
I don't keep many tools on the wall, just the beater stuff. The good stuff stays in the drawers. Not quite as convenient but I prefer to keep things as tidy as possible. I can get messy when I'm busy but a clean work environment is golden to me. The other day I had a sofa repaired by a guy who I'm pretty sure had the messiest shop I've ever seen. Not even gonna try to explain, just take my word. He fixed the sofa, and nicely I might add, so hats off to him.
Couple pictures of the finished shop minus the alignment table. I had to take the frame out to the old garage to put it on the table and I could've saved myself a trip. Come to find out it was perfectly in line, no cold-setting needed whatsoever. Makes my job easy.
Dug out some NOS Adidas after a really cold ride in my other shoes. The DMTs are extremely lightweight and airy and so with these sitting in the closet for many years I decided to break them out. They're a little heavier but they're warmer on the cold days and they've got 3 velcro straps which is my favorite. The DMTs have the BOA system on them and while it works I don't care for it, especially with shoe covers. I don't think they'll ever come up with something as simple and solid as 3 easy straps, but that's just my opinion. These are the model that Jan Ullrich used to wear and I had a pair before that got many years of good use. Then I found these on closeout and couldn't pass them up.
The new MEECH headquarters has a record player. It was a Christmas gift a couple years ago and hasn't seen much use. Probably won't see too much here either as it's too time consuming to change and flip records. But it's fun when you have the time. I have a couple of bikes laying around as well. Go figure.
Little reading material. Basically a handful of books that I didn't want to trash along with an old table given to me by my late grandmother made from an old tree of sort. The same granny that had the pistol with a bullet wedged in the barrel. She was a wild one.
Old pastel artwork of my dog Mickey. He was a character. He's the main reason I bought this house so many years ago. He was tearing my apartment to shreds. He needed some space and it all worked out for the better. Thanks Mick!
More old art.
Leather elephant. He's been with me a few years though he remains unnamed. I need to get on that.
Frames waiting their turn for more personality. Gonna be finishing up a table for the painting room today. I was gonna try to do some priming yesterday and realized I got nothing to work on. Also gonna need a new repair stand mount to hold the frames while painting. Moving the other one back and forth gets old. Streamline.
Thanks for stopping by. Next pics should have more color.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
So we got moved into the new house a couple days before Christmas and I immediately started cleaning up the old one to move the new shop in. This is an old, run-down house that wasn't built all that well, however it's served me well for over 20 years and after I put rock on it some 18 or so years ago it became a permanent structure that I didn't really want to tear down. On top of that, this summer, in the middle of building the new house, the roof started falling apart and required a new one. Less than a couple of weeks after that, the heat and air unit caught on fire and had to be replaced. So now, rather surprisingly, I have a pretty solid setup to build frames in. It's roughly 1200 sq. ft., heated and cooled with a kitchen. It has a 15' x 24' room on the end of it that is built on a slab and provides adequate space to do what I do. The bedroom on the other end, the one pictured below, had some of the floor rotting out from an old hot-water heater leak years ago, and since I hate doing partial repairs, I decided to put a solid plywood floor down. This is gonna be my painting booth.
Now on occasion I like to pretend to be something I'm not. It just keeps things interesting and also keeps me humble at the same time. I've pretended to be various things over the years, such as a business-man, real-estate investor, chef, uh hmm, a writer, etc. Usually things that don't require a license. I've never really pretended to be a doctor or dentist or anything in the medical field, mainly because no one seems to be interested in laying down on a table under my milling machine. Clearly I would use a Dremel on the less extensive jobs in order to save my clients money, but still no takers. Never really pretended to be a fire-fighter either. Always ended up on the other end of that gig. The one thing that I seem to end up pretending to be more than any other is a carpenter. How hard can it be, right? Skill saw, hammer, nails, some wood, and presto, I'm a carpenter.
So I got a little start on it one night and then had to stop until the next day. The following day I awoke to pouring rain and rather cool temperatures but I told myself that if I used to ride a bicycle 100 miles in those conditions then cutting a few sheets of plywood shouldn't be that bad. So I put on the Nalini windproof/waterproof riding jacket and a MEECH cycling cap and got down to business. Wasn't very far into my first cut when I realized that my trusty Wal-Mart skill saw of 15 years wouldn't hold a straight line and rather than waste valuable time going to get another I just opted for the only other saw I had which was a jigsaw. Jigsaws aren't exactly ideal for cutting 8 ft. sheets of plywood but I wasn't to be deterred and therefore stood in muddy puddles filled with sawdust, cutting my new floor, and occasionally wondering if working in rainy, lightning storm with an electric saw was dangerous or not. I convinced myself that I was fast enough to let go if I felt some voltage trying to shake my hand but we all know the truth. Looking back, it wasn't something a responsible father would consider, or even a teen with half a brain would do, and so I would like to thank the big Kahuna, whoever and wherever he or she is, for not lighting me up. Time is of essence these days and for some reason I felt as if this floor had to be done on this day. Sometimes I still get caught up in the moment and like my granny always used to say, "That boy flies by the seat of his britches."
This was actually a pretty basic job and that's why I didn't fear it. Tearing up the old floor was actually the majority of the work. As I always say, if you've ever built anything at all, you know it's always harder to tear it apart than it is to put it together. It's held true on everything I've ever worked on. Ok, all I had to do was cover the old floor with anything thicker than popsicle sticks and I'd be good. I opted for 3/4 plywood since the flooring i pulled up was 3/4" particle board. I hate that stuff with a passion. The photo up above of the closet was the first piece I cut. I probably should've cut it a bit smaller than the measurement but I didn't. I cut it to the exact 1/16" and probably cut it outside the line to make matters worse. I tried to put it in place and it was clearly too big, but after measuring again I knew that it was perfect, and that was when the rubber mallet came out. I started banging it into place and then got it so wedged that I couldn't get it back out. After about a 10 minute struggle, I told myself that I can either break it trying to knock it out or I can break it trying to knock it in. Well, in the end, I was victorious all the while increasing the actual square footage of the closet. Needless to say, I didn't even need to nail that piece down. I feel for the next guy that tries to tear this floor up because you'll have to take the walls out of this closet to get this board up.
This was the original floor. Not much more than a few thin boards between you and the dirt beneath. Some were fairly stable while others would bow and creek when you walked across them. I thought about leaving them like that since it looked cool, however since I only weigh 165 lbs. and they were about to cave in, I figured I better beef them up in case someone bigger ever wanted a tour of the facility. Nothing like trying to entertain guest and have them fall through the floor. You can see where the water was at one time.
After a couple of measurements I figured it would take roughly 8 pieces of plywood to cover everything but I decided to give myself a little challenge and so I bought 7. Nothing worse than overbuying. Wish someone could explain that concept to my wife.
After that first little incident with the closet everything seemed to fall into place with a fair amount of ease.
Really not much different than doing a giant jigsaw puzzle. When all was said and done the 7 pieces not only covered the entire floor but I had some scrap leftover. Those 4 pieces were all that was left and that made me extremely happy. This room has since been painted which somehow I forgot to take a picture of.
Here you go.
I got a good start putting everything in place and managed to get this little glorified drill press up on a table. I was worried about how I was gonna do it but a friend let me borrow a hoist (he called it a cherry-picker) and within 10 minutes I was on my way back to return it. The 400 lb. steel table is still sitting where it was and hopefully I will be able to get it in here shortly. Other than that I'm almost set up.
Here is the front of the new shop. That's Stinky Chester on the window sill. He has a gland problem. Something Anne drug out of the woods the other day. After spending $100 for a tree service to get him down out of a tree I guess he's family. And there's that same old S3 bicycle frame I built about 8 years ago. I'm so due up for a new ride. It's coming. Fixing to start painting on the carbon frame. Just trying to decide on a paint scheme.
Hopefully will be starting a few things to break in the new place here shortly.
Thanks for stopping by.