Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's called "aphthous stomatitis"

Well for those of you who don't know what this is, it's canker sores. Seems harmless enough but over the last few years my bouts with them have gotten more and more frequent and severe. Right now this bout is kicking my arse (there's three of them in my mouth now).

Finally broke down and went to an oral surgeon and he gave me some stuff and said it's caused by stress.... great, I'm a stay at home dad and I need to get rid of stress?!?!

Well I've been taking some potent pain pills at night to sleep so nothing is getting done.
Although Cyclomatt did send me an awesome e-mail detailing how he did his home made jig.
Now if I can only come up with some money. Maybe we should have a Steel Stew telethon during this season of giving.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's another word for "cycleworks"?

As I've been doing research the last few days, I've seen a lot of builders with the word "Cycleworks" in their name. Well as I ponder things, I don't know if I'm thrilled with name "Cycleworks" anymore.
Maybe "The Steel Stew Bicycle Project"?
Or "The Steel Stew Bicycle Kitchen"?
Just some thing to ponder. Remember, it's all about merchandising.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just checking in real quick.

Well I ran out of gas last night making more pencil holders. Things went much smoother as I really concentrated on keeping the tungsten at the correct angle and slowing down.
I also found the last of my "new" tungsten that had a longer,sharper tip than the ones I've been grinding myself. Much better pools and heat control.
On the bike note, I ran out of derailleur cables so bought some yesterday, but then realized I need some Shimano chain pins...crap, this build this is taking forever. Kinda makes me miss working in a bike shop....
Going to travel out in the 25 degree heat today to get some muffler tubing to practice on, and maybe this weekend put in some serious thought on what to do about a jig.
It's all about the $$$....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas presents?

Well I sat down with some flat scrap and tube scraps and welded away. I forgot how thin bike tubing really is and proceeded to blow some holes. At least I was able to practice my hole patching.
After I was done, I wondered if people would like pencil holders for gifts this year....

Ehhh...maybe not.
Here's a crappy pic of the crappy welds and crappy holes I blew...
I need some camera tips here, sorry.
As you can see, this one ain't pretty. But it was my first one so the others looked better, trust me.

A couple things I have to do/remember.
1) Clean everything! Makes the welds so much nicer, safer and easier.
2) Hold the tungsten perpendicular to the joint. I can control the heat much better.
3) Slow down. I found myself flying around everywhere and I'm not satisfied with the penetration.

On a sadder note, my brand new stool took a hit!
Thank god for duct tape.
Well tonight should be a Yoga night and hopefully get around to finishing the "trainer bike".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The rumors of my demise have been greatly exagerated...

Or something like that.
I have been very neglectful of alot of things lately. Myself and Steel Stew included.
Just had to install a new attic ladder...what a pain in the ass...
Christmas parties for the kids have also been on tap, too.
Well that's about to change.

I've been very neglectful to my fitness so here's some new friends...

I have Crappy flexibility..

Who needs an extra bedroom?Don't tell Brandt at On One that I'm using a road wheel...I just need to install cables and grips and it's trainer time!

And of course we can't forget about the Stew...

Practice goodness...(thanks for the scraps Walt)

I'll try to get better bead pics next time..

So here goes...the rebirth if you will.. a phoenix rising from the ashes...

Or something like that.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sleeping with the Enemy...

Well OK, not quite there yet. Maybe someday I can hope to be.

Our esteemed friend Mark (MMcG) dropped off his new Wojcik Monkey Butt for me to do the finishing touches on the build.

The thing I like about tig'ed steel is the clean unassuming welds and lines of the bike. The MB doesn't dissapoint.

I'm not a huge fan of the "do-all/slider/ebb" bikes that are the trend in 29ers these days (especially steel, but maybe I'll rant on a later post) but the sliders on these look pretty solid and minimal.
It should be done tonight Mark. Enjoy it.

On the Stew front, I haven't really had a chance to practice much this week. Family, house work, a shit load of leaves in my yard and just plain being tired by the time kids go to bed made it kind of hard this week. Hopefully I can get in a bit this week end and play around more this upcoming week.

I got some scrap tubes from a builder so I can play around with that too.

I was also able to sell the Cross Check I had for sale. Right now the money is being used for Christmas present cash for the kids but I was promised I'll get it back for tooling as I need

The SuperCaliber frame is still for sale too, so if you know anyone who rides an XL and wants to try the joys of a 29er FS, let me know. No real price has been set yet. Here's a pic:
Now go out and ride your bike.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ground is positive!!!!

Well the other day I finally got the welder up and running, but I couldn't figure out why I was burning through tungsten and not gettng an arc. Finally realized (Thanks to Wade) that I mixed up my pos and neg and after that, works like a charm. Last few night I've just been sitting practicing running beads for about 45 minutes playing around with setting's and stuff. I need to hit up Logan Steel tomorrow to get some more scrap. Plus I need to find a muffler shop who might have some scrap tubing so I can practice curves and joints. That's what we practiced on the first couple of days at UBI.
Another plus is that my neighbor and I figured out how we can easily and relatively cheaply make some new blocks for my jig. Things are a bit crazy right now for the holidays and such, so hopefully after the first of the year, those will be done with the other mods I need to do it.
I'm going to check Logan Steel to see if they have any scrap 8020 laying around for the mods.
Also I found a couple of "test rats" who are willing to risk life and limb and ride the first few Steel Stews next spring. Hopefully I won't let them down.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Not much going on here....

I know I haven't posted in a couple days, but really, there's not much going on at the moment. I've been exhausted by the end of the day and not really energetic. Finally got around to cleaning up the garage a bit more so I just need to hook the welder up and I'm ready.
I also have two bike's I need to strip down. I'm selling my Cross Check frame/fork, White Bros. BW.8 fork and my Supecaliber frame to get some tooling money without running up the credit cards.
Let me know if you know anyone interested. The frames are a 62cm and an XL.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Workshop..on a budget.

Well here it is, the end of phase 1 of getting this whole Steel Stew thing off the ground. This is the corner of our garage where I'll be attempting to set up shop, for now anyways. The problem is that we don't have a cellar so all "basement crap" gets put in our garage. Luckily my wife has been good about the whole thing! I don't have all the tooling yet, I hope to just be able to sit and regain my "TIG touch" for the next month or so....
Luckily I have a brother who's an electrician so he came up last weekend and thru in some outlets and breakers. I gotta patch this hole though... Looks bad for business.

OK, remember I'm new to all of this fancy computer stuff so the pic is sideways (it took me forever to just figure out how to download pics...) Here's my Theremal Dynamics welder in front of the 220 outlet my brother put in. Just waiting to be used. Thanks Wade on the great deal !!!!!

Again a sideways pic of the argon tank. Another "find" from Wade.... Tonight I have to chain it down so the little hands around the house don't knock it over...Yikes!
Well as I said, just cleaning and organizing the area right now, I hope to be welding in the next couple of days. I even bought a new stool !!!! My ass has never been happier...
The next couple of months will allow me to obtain some other much needed things like a heavier vise, files, blocks and all the jig stuff. I have an old jig sittng here but it needs some modifications. More on that in another post.
Time to get back to just welding practice, practice, and more practice...
By the way, I'll get the hang of this posting stuff, be patient.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome to Steel Stew Cycleworks!

Well I finally got around to doing this all... This computer illiterate bike rider is attempting to produce a blog.
I encourage you to come here for my (semi) daily posts on my slow going trials and tribulations of entering the ranks of a bicycle frame builder. I will probably add in some info on my family, bike riding (and maybe my quest to race again) and other boring day to day drudgery too.
All my life I've enjoyed riding and wrenching bikes, sometimes with varying success. And now I'm taking the next step and welding some tubes and designing frames.
I was lucky enough to attend United Bicycle Institute in February to get my feet wet and then I met a great guy name Wade who opened his shop and welding knowledge to me to help me get started.
In the next few days I'll learn how to post pics and become more efficient in figuring out how all this works. Hopefully it will start to look a bit spiffier.
Welcome to Steel Stew Cycleworks....
Dig In!