About Me

My photo
Back in my hometown of Jonesboro., Arkansas, United States
My name is Dimitri Harris and I have been building frames for over 9 years now. I learned the basics after spending two weeks with Koichi Yamaguchi. He is one of the most interesting people I have ever met and I am thankful to have worked with him. Since then I have just been building one frame after another and learning as much as possible along the way. I build steel fillet-brazed frames that go by the name of MEECH, which is an old nickname that I have had since I was a kid. I build mostly cyclocross frames because I love their versatility however I also do road,single-speed, and mountain bikes as well. Custom frames start around $1400. All the frames are handmade by me here in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I am insured and guarantee all of my work so if you are in the market for a custom steel frame I would be glad to build it for you. I am also building frames from carbon fiber so if you would like to ride a prototype frame give me a shout. Thanks for stopping by. You can email me at meech151@hotmail.com or call (870)897-6703 or visit www.meechcustombicycles.com Thanks.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

First Frame in New Shop

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.

Hasta luego.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Working on New Shop

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.