Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 10: Brazing the Chainstays

Uff... after a day like yesterday, where the end seems in sight, days like today are even harder to take...

I filed my seatlug and my rear dropouts all morning, taking it easy and enjoying the finish work. Then, after lunch, I was ready to braze in my chainstays. Then Doug reminded me that I wanted to fill the screw-holes for the dropout adjusters, since my bike is a fixed gear. He's suggested sticking a bit of brass in there, heating up the dropout, and letting it melt. I gave it a go on my own, and it looked like it melted. Then Doug wanted to have a go, and my little piece melted out the bottom, and he couldn't get any brass to flow in to the hole. A lot gobbed all over the dropout, in fact. He did eventually get a tiny bit in (enough to cover the hole), and then we got a pretty nifty brass-shedding demonstration. Basically, heat it up and flick it off. Well, not all of it made it off, so I had to wait to braze on the chainstays until I filed it off... (He did the other one too, with the same result. And he did help me with the filing!)

Then, when it came time to braze them in, the angle they wanted to sit at was way off from where I wanted them. We had to push them up with all out might to get them to line up with my design Unfortunately, all the pressure there were being held under made the joint nearly impossible to braze, since the tubes were pressing against the lugs so hard that there was nowhere for the silver to flow. Luckily Doug was somehow able to get the silver in there, but I would have been happier, I suppose, to have done it myself.

By this time it was about seven o'clock. Then I spent quite a while aligning the rear end. The last task was preparing the seatstay attachment. Like Robert and Dan I've decided to go with Masi-style ends. Do make them, you file a miter into the top of the seatstay by hand. Then you braze an inverted section of tubing into it and file away. Unfortunately again, this hand-mitering is difficult. It took Robert about four hours to do. Dan spent about an hour and half on it before he figured out a trick: hold a piece of sandpaper against the tubing into which you're trying to fit the miter, and in a few minutes, the fit is perfect. I was only about half an hour into mine when this trick was revealed. I'll get to work on this tomorrow morning!

Yes, I'm behind again! Luckily I have until 9pm Friday to finish my bike. Robert has to head home Friday morning, and is worried he won't get his finished. The braze-ons will get in, the seatstays will get finished, the brake bridges will make it. But we're all a bit concerned we won't be able to file our lugs as much as we want to. It would be nice to have a whole day for that. Things are getting a little crammed — and this when I felt last night like there was plenty of time for infinite filing...

Well, perhaps things will turn around as quickly. For now, sleep.

[More photos here.]

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