Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Fire in the Shop, and In Praise of Santé

Today was supposed to be the day that we finally "made fire" in the shop. We'd had some tips and hoses backordered for several weeks, and they were all that were holding us up. They arrived this week, and we were so eager to try them out that we both took the day off work and headed to the shop.

Alas, the first thing we did was hook up our Craigslist-bought propane regulator, and when we turned the valve to switch it on—crack!—it broke. Clearly this thing was already broken. We did manage to successfully attach the oxygen concentrator (nickname: "The Ventriloquator") to our Victor J-28 torch, and it seems to provide more than enough pressure.

So we did some other things in the shop today. For example (and sorry for the ugly pictures: it's still dark in our shop, and I therefore need to use the—ugh—flash):

We drew center lines on my top tube, using our $975 retail value, $50 Kijiji Starrett height gauge.

And using our $30 made in China surface gauge, we set up the adjustable v-blocks on our Fattic design fixture. It's as flat as the drafting table it's sitting on, which is not saying much. Everything will be adjusted and aligned on the surface plate, of course.

Then we switched from my 5" Made in England Record vise to Olivier's 6" Made in England Record vise. There is clearly more than one inch of difference between the two. We got some soft jaws (a little too soft, if you ask me) and my vise didn't open wide enough to hold both a bottom bracket and the soft jaws. So we attached Olivier's larger vise, which he recently bought from the same guy that sold us the height gauge. This vise is, so put it mildly, massive.

It's a sort of "You call that a vise? This is a vise!" situation. It's so huge that it places work a little bit too high for our liking. It's also so huge that it can more or less support its own weight. But we clamped it anyway.

When I got home I did one of my favourite things: repacked a bottom bracket. Sometimes maintenance is pleasant, and this was an instance of that.

Partly because it's the loveliest cup-and-cone bottom bracket ever: the Shimano Santé BB-5000. No surprise, since Santé is one of the coolest (also kitschiest) groups ever. Those humourless "ShimaNO" types clearly have never ridden Santé, or repacked the BB and been met by its lovely and entirely unnecessary logo.

I also put some Challenge Parigi-Roubaix clinchers on my almost-entirely-Santé 1991 Marinoni Special. I'm going to take it for a ride tomorrow. It's a fabulously nice bike—one of two in my possession that I am going to keep in the coming I-Can-Build-Them-Myself-Now purge.

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